Even if you like your current marketing/website company, it’s wise to ask them what happens if you discontinue the relationship. Ask your current provider 1) if you can take your site with you, AND 2) if you can continue to make content edits in the same easy way, via a visual editor. Both questions are important!
If both answers are Yes, then you own your website.
Never Hire Anyone You Can’t Fire
If either answer is No, you will be left without a working site and you will lose the value you paid for. The company may say that they would give you a static HTML export of your website, but don’t let that fool you. A site exported in this manner will not be editable via a visual editor. You will have to know a programming language to be able to edit such site, which defeats the purpose of having an editable site you paid for.
In other words, when you leave your website company – or if the company goes out of business – your site will go down, and you will have to pay another full price to build a new website. In some cases it may be just what you want; in many other cases this is not an efficient use of your money. What’s the point of having to rebuild your site over and over? Wouldn’t it be wiser to keep your website, improve it and build it up?
If your website is on a proprietary platform, you are ‘married’ to your website company for the longevity of your website. If fire the website company you will lose the website. In my opinion, you need to have the freedom and flexibility to pick and choose your vendors at any point in time, without losing your assets. My advice to you: never hire anyone you can’t fire.
This question about ownership and portability is important to ask, because you want to know the consequences of leaving your current company, in case that ever happens. As a business owner, you want to have the freedom and flexibility to make business decisions that are best for you, without taking penalties for switching providers. Your website is one of the most important business assets, so you should own it, and you should be able to freely choose a better website company and leave your old vendor – without being punished with extra expenses, lost time, and inconvenience.