Getting control of your domain name is essential for small business websites
A checklist for all small business owners to help gain control of your website essentials
By Cary Weston
You'd never leave your business checkbook in the hands of someone no longer working for you or trust your mortgage payment to be made by someone that doesn't live in your house.
Yet I'm constantly surprised at the number of business owners who have no information about their domain name, where it was registered, or who's domain name is under the control of an employee who no longer works there or an outside firm that can no longer be reached.
It's true - you'll never truly 'own' your domain name. Much like your phone number, you maintain the right to use it as long as the bills are paid. It's also true that your website domain name is a crucial component to your business success and marketing asset for sure.
Many organizations - small, large, for-profit, and non-profit, rely on one person or a small team to take care of the 'computer stuff'. And yes, many companies have folks or relationships that manage their advertising, marketing, and public relations, but when it comes to their website, they still consider it a 'computer thing'.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Your website may be the most powerful communication and marketing tool you use. And if you do not have your domain information in a safe place that will transcend employees and outside relationships, it's time to do just that.
Create a file for your domain name or names if you have more than one. The file should contain the following information:
1. The online location where you purchased the domain name. If you are without this information,
http://www.internic.net/whois.html can help you track down the online business your domain was registered, what the current contact and management information looks like, when your domain name was registered, and when it is set to expire:
2. The user name and password to allow you to access, manage, and renew/delete the domain.
3. The hosting company and information for your domain.
4. The FTP info - or the address, usernname, and password - that will allow you access to the files on the web host for updating.
5. If the website has a content management system, the website address to login to your content management system and the username and password for access.
6. Finally you'll want to have the name and contact information for any company you've used to design, purchase or host your website.
The other really important point is to make sure you or your business is the legal owner of the domain itself. While this may not seem important on a day to day basis, should you have to change any element of your domain in the future, not being the legal owner of the domain could make change difficult.
Remember, you never "own" the domain - you lease. As long as the bill is paid, you are able to use it. Having all the information at your fingertips will make life easier when action is needed.
- Cary Weston is a partner of Sutherland Weston Marketing Communications in Bangor, MaineConnect online:
Company's Web: www.sutherlandweston.com
Company's Twitter: www.twitter.com/SWMC_inc
Cary's Linked In: www.linkedin.com/in/carywestonYou can find him on Google+
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