Website Ownership

Here's a common situation many business owners—and you might be included—find themselves in: You sign on with a cheap website designer or seemingly reputable marketing agency to improve your web presence. The plan comes with a "free website" on a fancy "proprietary platform," or the price is built into monthly marketing payments. On the surface, it sounds like a smart, cost-effective way to grow your online presence, right?

Wrong. While it might seem like a good way to start, you're in for a rude awakening when you try to exit out of that agreement in favor of a more robust or results-oriented approach.

And here's the thing—you may not even realize you've been trapped until you try to leave. What we usually see happen is when you want access to your website files, you're hit with a huge fee or a point-blank refusal. If you stop paying monthly fees, you risk having your website pulled with no way to recover it. Oh, and all that data and analytics you've been so carefully curating? That will disappear, too.

The worst part? There's nothing you can do about it because you technically signed away your website ownership rights in the contract's fine-print.