Who Owns Your Website?

by Joe B on October 12, 2009

At the last SEO seminar that we taught for the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center, we were asked the following question:

I had someone design my website for me and now I can’t get it back, what do I do?

Another question along the same line is:

I lost my website, what do I do?

Your business website is a valuable tool and you shouldn’t leave it to chance that you might lose it or lose control of it. Here are some tips for keeping control of your website:

  1. Own your own domain. It is okay if you have your designer arrange the purchase of the domain, but, make sure that it is in your name and that you have all the account information. If your designer will not agree to do this, don’t use them!
  2. Get a copy of your files from your designer. Your website is a set of files. If you are using a do-it-yourself template system, you may not be able to get these files. If you are using a website design company, you should be able to get these files on a disk. If your web designer doesn’t want to give you this, you may need to work with another designer.
  3. Avoid using do-it-yourself template systems. These are great places to start if you need a website in a couple of hours, but not for long term in most cases. Remember, also, that if you use images from a template system, they aren’t yours and you can’t take them with you. If you want to move your web site somewhere else, or if you don’t pay your bill, or if your company goes out of business, you don’t have a web site. You don’t have the files on your computer because you just filled out an online form. The only thing you have is your domain name – if you paid for it personally – not the template company.
  4. Keep track of all your website information. We already discussed the domain name, but you also need to know account information about the web host as well. Keep the domain information, host information and a copy of your website files in a safe place.

Don’t lose control of your website! It is too valuable an asset!


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