Codependency: a tendency to behave in overly passive or excessively caretaking ways that negatively impact one’s relationships and quality of life. Often involves putting ones needs after others in other ways and being preoccupied with the needs of others to an excessive degree. Codependency may also be characterized by denial, low self-esteem, excessive compliance, and/or control patterns.  Codependency does not refer to all caring behavior or feelings, but only those that are excessive to an unhealthy degree.  (Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Web Marketing Codependency: a tendency to be overly passive or excessively caretaking that negatively impact’s one’s ability to improve business relationships and quality of professional life. Web marketing codependency does not mean being caring or having feelings is unhealthy, it simply means that excessive degrees of need must be addressed and solved.

Example:  a business owner does not have control of their website logins, hosting information, blog access, website analytics or ability to have someone other than their current webmaster help them make web marketing updates. They are codependent on their webmaster, IT person, web company, consultant, etc.

Other Example:  a webmaster who is too needed by a client or marketing team that negatively impacts their ability to do larger scale work or be able to take a vacation. Their client, manager or boss is codependent on them to get web work done and their excessive caretaking ways is not helping them have breaks from work or makes them stuck with needy calls…

Web marketing codependency is very, very unhealthy but is easily treatable.

Some signs of web codependence:
You can’t get website updates made quickly and are too reliant on one person or company for mediocre results.

You have to pay someone a high fee to program on a web platform that only “special” people know how to use.

You are paying for “SEO” but have no idea what the hell your “SEO Company” is doing or how well things are performing.

You get too many “I need help” calls from a client, your manager, boss, etc.

You don’t know where your website is hosted, who owns it, how to log into your site, etc.

Treat Your Web Marketing Records Like Your Health Records

If you move, your medical and dental records can be sent to new treatment people easily because there is a system of logging.  Look at your web health the same way for optimal results. The easiest way to cure web marketing codependency is to immediately get your hands on your web records.

1. All the domains you own, who they are owned by, how long you own them, logins to your domain company

2. Your hosting records.  Logins, how to submit help tickets, etc.

3. FTP (File Transfer Protocol) access for your websites.

4. Logins and access to your web analytics (if your webmaster owns this, get access but try to own all of this on your own)

5. Email system logins

6. Access to your logo files, templates, designs

Whether you are a businessperson or web person, you want your web medical records in case you need an emergency website update done or you need someone to do web work if you need to move onto other projects. Our free Web Marketing Records Worksheet is a great resource to keep all your marketing information together!

Other critical codependency questions to ask before building a website include:

1. Who owns my web marketing design and content? – Anything other than “you” is a non-acceptable answer. Own your web marketing success and make sure all design and content that was custom created for you is yours once you pay for it.

2. Watch out for all those so-called “manage your own website and save money” content management systems (CMS).  If the content management system is proprietary (meaning you can only make updates to the site if you are on their CMS, exiting a relationship like will require a rebuild of your site and additional re-programming costs depending on the advanced features of your site.

“Off the shelf” or any type of open source content management systems are best because they can transfer to 90% of standard web hosting companies.

Needing help is not being codependent, but being passive, ignorant or “too needed” needs to stop!

I would rather eat dirt than make most of my own website updates (and I know how and can but I choose not to) but as an empowered businessperson, I do have access to all my web records and if I ever needed other web help or had to do things myself, I could. I do not suggest CEOs, CMOs, leaders or even marketers do their own web work but you sure as heck have to have the keys to your web kingdom.

Do you have the keys to your web kingdom?

If not, don’t freak out, just make a proactive commitment to making a list of your web marketing medical records.

Marketing Therapy Session Complete.  See you next time. 🙂


Lorrie Thomas Ross, The Marketing Therapist

3 Comments

  • Most web designers have a simple answer to the codependent client dilemma: pre-screening. I don’t take on the sorts of clients who expect me to “be” every word and representation of their own online presence. I give the clients the tools, the records you describe above, and the support – but what they do with their web marketing strategy is down to them.

    Sadly experience has proven that codependent clients blame the web designer when the web side of their business strategy fails. Nothing is ever the business owner’s fault. I really have better things to do with my time, so I don’t let codependents get a foot in the door.

  • Heather,
    Amen to your “Wild Web Woman” proactive approach. SMART web designers have a process of pre-screening. Pre-screening saves a web professional and a prospective client a lot of head ache to make sure they are the right match, if they aren’t, don’t start a relationship!

    I have a rule with new client prospects. If I send them with specific instructions (like “to take the next step, hit reply to all on this email and we will be in touch with our marketing consult questionnaire) and that person is incapable of reading and following directions, I am immediately flagged that this professional is not ready for professional service. It takes two to tango and respect is reciprocal. Rules and systems make for success.

    Business owners have to respect and understand that their web designer is NOT their web marketing department and they have to commit to being proactive in the business relationship. It is not a web designer’s job to make a client money in their sleep. They need a marketing plan, a clear revenue model, a web marketing strategy OR a budget to hire a marketing professional to bridge the gap between client and designer to carve out that road map.

    I would LOVE to put some of the clients who blame innocent web designers for failed business strategy on my marketing therapy couch and dish some tough love on them!

    GOOD FOR YOU for not letting the codependents in the door!

    Rock on wild web sister! Thanks for the great insight!
    -The Marketing Therapist

  • Most web designers have a simple answer to the codependent client dilemma: pre-screening. I don’t take on the sorts of clients who expect me to “be” every word and representation of their own online presence. I give the clients the tools, the records you describe above, and the support – but what they do with their web marketing strategy is down to them.

    Sadly experience has proven that codependent clients blame the web designer when the web side of their business strategy fails. Nothing is ever the business owner’s fault. I really have better things to do with my time, so I don’t let codependents get a foot in the door.

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