So my guilty pleasure film is Pretty Woman, don’t ask why because I can’t explain. But I loved the challenge of using it in a blog post.

“I’m gonna treat you so nice, you’re never gonna let me go.”

If you have a great relationship with your website guys then this scene from Pretty Woman means nothing, but if you don’t then how do you overcome the mistrust that comes with it?

Thinking about leaving your current website developer? I can imagine you are not looking forward to ‘that’ conversation. I’m guessing that either you are not happy with your provider or they have disappeared, which is more common than you would expect. There are a few things you need to think about before pulling the plug.

“I want the fairy tale.”

Most web developers will want you to stay, and sadly in my experience they will not make it an easy process for you to leave. They can rely on your ability to have not asked the right questions at the start of your relationship. Who owns the Intellectual property of your website? If this was not defined at the start, it probably means the developer does. That’s right, it is your site and brand image but you don’t own it. This is the biggest and most ruthless bargaining tool they have to either get you to stay or fall out quite dramatically, with them leaving you in the lurch with no site at all.

“You developers work on commission, right?”

Always purchase your own domain names as this will make sure your developer doesn’t have full control of your website. It means by law the web developer can’t hold charge of your domain to ransom. A stern letter from you to explain your rights usually suffices for them to release it back under your control.

If the developer registered your domain name under their own name then the process is far more complicated with the inevitable legal battle to get control. I see web developers do this time and time again, hoping that you just simply see the legal option as too much of a hassle.

“Impossible relationships. My special gift is impossible relationships.”

Once bitten, twice shy, this is the main stumbling block reputable developers face. The mistrust created by companies who build websites is really giving the industry a bad name. The short term gain from locking an SME into a contract that charges them for every small website update. Against looking at a more long term relationship with their customer seems to be more important.

“You and I are such similar creatures, Vivian. We both screw people for money.”

I have seen developers charge a full hour for 5 additional words of text added to a page. A £65 fee for re-issuing a forgotten password to name a few. The simple answer to all this, is to nail down what you expect your web developer to provide before you sign on the dotted line.

“I say who, I say when and how much”

With a new website developer, set out the terms of your relationship from the start. It’s your intellectual property, your domain name and you won’t take advantage of me. And to top it off, if you (the developer) don’t do a good job, you have to grow up, own up and let me go.

“Big mistake. Big. Huge. I have to go website shopping now.”