Are you wanting to take control of your online presence? Well, this means improving your website design Hamilton NZ, SEO, content marketing, and much more but it’s always best to start off with the basics. In this case, your domain name. Your domain name is a part of you – it’s on your sign, it’s your website address, it’s on your company apparel, it’s on all of your advertising, on your company vehicles and much more. It’s where you can be found at online by customers. People know that domain name because it’s associate with your business. So, do you own it?
If your website designer purchased it for you, then you don’t. If your designer purchased it for you at a domain registrar under their name, then you don’t own it. You may not be the legal owner. Whoever is the legal owner of your domain name has total control over it, including – what website it points to, what domain name registrar maintains it, changing information about your domain name account, controlling who administers it, and being able to sell it. So, how do you make sure you own your domain name?
First you need to ask yourself the questions above to help answer the question, “Who owns my domain name?” If you didn’t purchase it yourself at a domain registrar (like GoDaddy) then you need to think back to when it was originally purchased. It is likely that it was purchased by your website designer. For most people, they just had their designer purchase it and never talked about the ownership aspect of it.
Sometimes my clients don’t remember who purchased it – at times it has been their designer and at other times it was actually them. I had a client once, a business owner, who purchased the domain name 5 years prior to us working together and couldn’t remember how it was purchased. As it turns out, his office manager purchased them years before on a multi-year lease (meaning he didn’t have to renew them for 5 years) [usually you lease them year-to-year]. We found out where his office manager purchased the domain names, reset the password on his account, and were able to get in and access them. In this case, he owned his domains but didn’t know it. So, what if this isn’t the case for you?
If you are sure that someone else owns your domain name then you need to have a conversation with them. Speak to them about whether or not they intend on you being the owner of it. If they do, then talk to them about transferring the domain name into an account you hold with a domain name registrar (like GoDaddy). This would require you to setup an account with a registrar (which is free). A domain name registrar (like GoDaddy) will likely charge you around $8.00 to transfer the domain name into your account from your website designers account. It doesn’t cost the person who bought the domain to transfer it to you (like if your website designer originally purchased it for you). It’s likely that the person who bought it for you will try to charge you money to transfer a domain to your account, but it doesn’t cost them anything to do. So, they are essentially trying to make money off of you in this situation if they try to charge you. Once the transfer is complete you now own the domain name legally and it is held in your account – this is what you want.
If you don’t want to have your own account at a domain registrar (like GoDaddy) then you need to create a contractual agreement between your company and your website designer company. This agreement should state that the website designer purchased and is currently holding, www.yourdomain.com, but ownership lies with your company. It should also make note of what will happen with the domain name once the relationship between your company and the website designer is over. The domain name should transfer to an account that you hold at a domain registrar at that point so that you secure ownership. It’s very important that if you don’t currently have the domain name in your ownership that you at least have a contract in writing from the company/person who purchased it for you saying that you are the owner of the domain name.
Also, your website designer can still put your website up on the web whether your domain name is on your own account or their account. A lot of designers don’t realize that they can put a website up on your domain name without having it in their account. This is handy for you because if you ever stop working with a designer, you still own your domain name and don’t have to do any work to make sure you own it. When you get in a position where you are going to stop working with someone, this issue will be much harder to deal with. So, deal with it while the relationship is new and/or good and then it won’t be a problem later. Owning your domain name is very important, so always make sure you have ownership of yours.