While vendors and clients begin relationships hoping for the best, and anticipating a long-term, mutually beneficial partnership, they don’t always work out that way. In fact, in today’s fast-paced, constantly changing environment, we see companies come and go from year to year. With each change in vendor comes a change in plans, and sometimes that can mean starting at the very beginning with a change in website hosting and management.
This can be a challenging and scary time for a plastic surgeon or any medical practitioner. He may know he’s not happy with his current vendor, but he is afraid that the vendor will mess things up or ruin the site if he attempts to go elsewhere. Unfortunately, in the past there have been a few companies who have actually done this! The overwhelming majority don’t, but a few bad seeds can make it tough for everyone.
So sometimes you have to be careful when it comes to migrating your website to another vendor. Rest assured that we go out of our way to maintain positive and healthy relationships with our contemporaries in the industry. We even recommend a few of them when we’re unable to work with someone in a particular market. We have cooperative relationships with other companies and do our best to ensure that transitions from one vendor to another are efficient, painless, and easy for the practice.
Handling with (Extra) Care
Sometimes, however, you may not be convinced and you may want to take extra steps to handle things carefully and cautiously, and ensure that your site is in the right hands, perhaps before even letting your vendor know. In that case a website migration can happen with no contribution from your current team. In other words, your existing vendor need not participate or even know. We can handle the harvesting of the entire website without gaining access to it, and recreate the site in its entirety on our hosting infrastructure.
Make Sure You Own Your Domain and Website
There are a few things you should be aware of, though. First, make sure you are the registered owner of the website. You can check that by going to WHOIS.org and typing in your domain name. It will show who the actual owner of the website is. Second, you should be a registered contact for your website. That means you use your email address as a registered contact associated with your domain. Third, you want to make sure that contractually you own the content on your website. We spell this out for our clients in big bold letters: our clients own everything we do on their behalf! Unfortunately, other companies don’t operate this way. And way too often physicians find out years later that all that hard work and effort was for naught. The vendor owns the website and they want tens of thousands of dollars to buy it back.
Migration of Email Can be Tricky
When it comes time for migration be aware of a few other important things. Email hosting is key. There are various records associated with a domain. The A Record is used for pointing the registrar to the website itself. The MX Record is used for pointing the registrar to the email, which may be associated with the domain or may be a hosted Exchange server, internal server, or something similar. One of the problems we’ve seen in the past is that physicians and their staff don’t necessarily understand the relationship of email to domains. They just rely on logging in and checking their email each day and don’t get into the mechanics of the backend. Many practices work with technical people, but many more do not.
Often times, the web designer or SEO company takes on the job of supporting email. A problem we’ve seen with past migrations is that a practice may be using webmail associated with the domain and storing a history of emails online in the cloud, oftentimes with Godaddy, and many times without a backup. When the migration takes place that entire history of emails can be lost. So it’s important that you outline the hosting and email circumstances of your existing domain and make plans to address not only email hosting going forward but also what to do about archived and historical emails that may only exist online.
We have gone to great lengths to outline a series of operational standards that ensure your website and email migration goes smooth and efficiently and that no data is lost in the process. You can go through this process both with and without the involvement and awareness of your existing vendor. If you are interested in working with Surgeon’s Advisor, please contact us here or call us at 305.763.8011.