Buyer Beware

Have you been burned by a website developer before? Sometimes website clients get hurt either intentionally or unintentionally by their website developers or designers. Whether you use me or somebody else either way please read this. Because I have some advice for you.
1. Use a reversible payment method.

You can get a credit card just for website and computer expenses. Go to your bank and talk to a banking specialist about this.

A credit card may cost more than a debit card but that added expense is a form of insurance in the form of the ability to do a chargeback! Also having one may limit the amount of money that can be tapped by having only a certain amount of money in the account attached to the credit card.

So then use a payment method that helps you to retrieve your payment if something goes wrong.

Or as an alternative you can choose Paypal. I have had to call Paypal on the phone to try and get my money back before, and have succeeded. This might help you but Paypal decides who is in the right and who is in the wrong. It may take some time to get the money back using them but it's better than nothing at all. Any evidence you can provide them will help.

Avoid Zelle unless you really know and trust somebody. Zelle payments are free but once you send money through Zelle it cannot be recovered. This is an absolute.

Even sending a check is not the worst idea. Who remembers about those?
2. Purchase your own Domain Name such as with GoDaddy and Hosting Account such as with Cloudways instead of having your developer do it for you.

So first go to a company like GoDaddy and get a domain name from them. That way if your developer vanishes and they have the password you can call GoDaddy and then using the payment card or payment method you have on file with them, have them change the password and give you the new password over the phone.

If your old developer will not release your domain name to you, then you can try to file a complaint by Submitting a Complaint to ICANN.

If nothing else you might need to get a new domain name and abandon the old one.

Second get your own hosting account.

Website Hosting

That way it becomes more difficult or impossible for your designer to lock you out of your own website. So then you want to be able to log into the hosting account yourself if need be even though they are doing most or all of the work for you. Actually, there is a way to lock your developer out of your hosting and reverse the tables on them.

So then even better is the way Cloudways does it. You get your own account and then create a subaccount under you for your developer to use, so that if he or she is not performing as they should be, you can lock them out and make them stop work.

In addition Cloudways Hosting bills at the end of the month but only charges for the time you use. So if you decide that it's not a good choice for you after 10 days for example, you cancel and only pay for 10 days of hosting. That might only be $4.
3. Try Website Staging.

If my clients request it of me, I can build out their website at an internet address which is not known to the public. Then the client can watch as their website is being put together so they can see how it is going and if the work is proceeding in the way they expect. Also they can make sure that something is happening and that the developer or designer has not stopped work.
4. Make a down payment instead of paying everything up front.

I can take a down payment for website work. So for instance I might take half up front and then half when complete. Or we can work in steps. So I can take a first payment and then we can proceed from there. We need to discuss what the best option is for you before we get started then.