We’ve all been there. Sometimes it can take a lot of frustration and a little magic to track down technical account information. As you’re preparing for a website project, proactively organizing your accounts and technical details can make the process a heck of a lot smoother.
For example, what other tools or services do you need to connect to your new site? What accounts and registrations are necessary to set things up? Even if you haven’t gotten the okay to move forward on a new website project (yet!), it never hurts to get organized. A lot goes into preparing for a website, and technical accounts shouldn’t be the thing that brings it all to a halt.
Technical Accounts for Websites
Before your staging website can be set up and your new website launched, you’ll need to share details on the following accounts with your website company. While these accounts are based on what we typically need to launch one of our nonprofit websites, they can be applied to any website project where you’re working with a vendor to get a new site into the world.
Website Domain Name
You’ll need to decide on a name for your new site. Essentially, a domain is a URL for your homepage, www.nonprofit.org or the like. It can be the same as your current site, but it doesn’t need to be.
If you don’t already own the rights to the name you’d like, you’ll need to register it. We like to use Namecheap for that process.
Along with your domain name, the developer will need the login credentials for wherever your domain is stored to make sure visitors are sent to your new website once it launches.
Hosting Company Details
Web hosting companies store your website, including its files and the database, on servers that allow people to view it on the internet. What company hosts your website? For example, many of our client websites are hosted by WP Engine.
Will your current web hosting company or website service be hosting your new website or will you need to shut things down with them after your new site launches? There’s no need to host a website (or pay to host a website) twice!
Primary Email Address
To set up things like email confirmations when someone donates or submits the contact form or to note your contact information in the footer, it’s helpful to have one primary email address to include in a variety of places around your website. Oftentimes, organizations opt for a generic email address like firstname.lastname@example.org for these purposes. Just make sure you have a way to actually check this email regularly!
Website Analytics Account
One of the benefits of spending time preparing for a website project is the ability to get strategic about how you’ll measure success on your new site. All of our websites come with Google Analytics set up, but there are a variety of other analytics tools you might use. You might even take one more strategic step and consider things like conversion tracking on your website.
Did you use some sort of website analytics tool previously? If you’d like to continue using this tool, you may be able to connect the new site as well to ensure continuous data. This way, you’ll be able to use real numbers to show how website visits and actions have improved with the new site.
Primary IP Address
If you send your primary IP address (or addresses), your web developer can exclude your own visits to your site from analytics data. This way, you can have confidence that all of the data you see comes from real visitors to your website and not other staff members checking in on website content.
While this would typically be your office IP address, if you have staff members who will be active on your website from home, you might consider gathering their IP addresses as well. To track them all down, you can use a tool like IP Address Lookup.
Website Integrations to Consider
Integrations connect the tools that you use elsewhere to your website so the data can flow freely between the two. But not all tools play nicely with each other. To prevent those troubling surprises, it’s a good idea to create a list of the integrations (and corresponding account information) you’ll need before deciding on a website company. That way, you can make sure that everything works together as you’d like.
As a bonus, you’ll now have everything ready when they ask for the details to actually set up your integrations.
- Email service: Want to collect email addresses on your website? You’ll need to send along login information for the service you use, like MailChimp or Constant Contact.
- Payment Processor: To collect donations or other payments on your website, it’s best practice to integrate with a payment processor so you’re not responsible for everything that comes along with handling credit card information. We recommend Stripe for nonprofits.
- Donor Management System: Make sure details for online donations flow directly into your donor management system, like Bloomerang or Salesforce.
Other Marketing Tools
Do you use other marketing tools that you’ll need to integrate? As you’re preparing for a website project, think through the data that pulls from your site into other tools (or vice versa) to build out your list. You wouldn’t want to miss things like Facebook Pixel, Google Tag Manager or OptinMonster.
Account Access When Preparing for a Website Project
It’s fairly common for our team to run into issues with two-step verification when clients grant us access to their various technical accounts. Two-step verification is great for security but can get pretty tricky when someone other than the owner of the account needs access.
To avoid issues, we’d recommend either creating a user account for the website service or agency that you can then delete after the website has launched. Another option would be to plan a time that you’re both available so that you’re able to send along the code in a timely manner (and before it expires).
Sharing Access to Accounts
Sharing sensitive information like account passwords should not be taken lightly. Please, think twice before sending them along in an email.
Luckily, there are tools out there that can add an extra level of security to any sensitive information you need to share. We like using Pivnote, a free tool that allows you to send notes that self-destruct after they’re read. That way, you can be sure your nonprofit’s information is not accessible to any unsavory characters through less secure communications, like email.
Tracking down your technical account information is a great way to prepare, get organized and stay proactive before a website project. We know preparing for a website project can be tough, but there are lots of resources out there to make it feel less overwhelming. For example…
Check out our resources on other pieces of the preparation process, like building out your website structure or writing website content. And if you haven’t yet begun the design process, you’ll want to bookmark our guide on building your dream website, which notes everything from design inspiration and best practices to essential website features.
Have you worked through preparing for a new website project? Did you get caught up in the technical account information? Any information you needed to hand over that’s not on our list? Let’s talk details in the comments section.