How Important is it to Control Your Domain Name?

I wish people would ask me this question more often. There are lots of important things to consider when it comes to your web site, reliable hosting, a reliable developer, but the most important thing is your domain name.

Far too often clients come to me lacking control of their domain name. Either they let their original designer buy the domain name for them along with their hosting, or the took advantage of the “Free” domain name included with many hosting plans. Either way, they don’t have any idea where their domain information is or how to access it.

It is easy to see how it can happen, you just don’t want to worry about it. Let your designer take care of it, all part of the service right? When we begin the process of having our website developed, we get into it with the thought that our relationship with our new designer is going to last a lifetime. Sad but true, that just may not be the case. Our industry is filled with less then desirable companies, and those that fly in the night. Or maybe the fit just doesn’t quite fit. It happens, and as website owners we are left holding the bag so to speak.

When and if the time comes that you need a new designer he or she is going to ask you for a few things before they get started. The first is going to be about hosting, Do you have hosting? Where is it? And are you willing to change hosting if the old hosting company does not meet the requirements of your new site?

The next thing they will ask for is your domain name registration information. Ideally you have bought your own name at an independent domain name register such as godaddy, and you would just give over the requested information. But lately it seems more and more of my new clients do not have this information. At some point in the process they allowed their former designer to “Take Care” of it for them, or maybe they developed their site themselves and got their domain name for free with their hosting, either way they are unsure of their domain name information. And in an extreme case, their domain name was not even bought under their name, instead it was bought under the designer’s name. So now they don’t even actually own their own domain name.

So let’s get to the bottom line here…why is it important to control your domain name? Well would you let your interior designer register your Business Name? No? I thought not…why would you let your web designer register your Domain Name?

You register your own Domain Name for all the same reasons you register your own Business Name. Your domain name is one of the most important pieces of your branding, as important as your logo, and your business name. It is something that will remain part of your business identity as long as that business is operating. Web designers may come and go, but your name will remain the same.

Sorting out the Situation

If you already have a website and a current website designer and you know you did not register your own name you need to find out where it is registered and who is the administrative contact associated with your domain name. Just email your designer and get him or her to send you this information to keep in your records. Sometimes designers will register names through their hosting companies, if this is the case, you will probably want to move the domain name to a secure account you have control over such as godaddy. Depending on the register the hosting company uses, this can be as simple as going to godaddy and setting up an account and asking the designer to transfer the domain name to your account. You may have to step through an extra hoop or two to transfer the domain to your control, but they are relatively easy hoops. I highly recommend you do this while you are on good terms with your designer to make the transition less stressful. Most reputable designers will have no problem working with you to make this happen. If your designer is reluctant to help you out here, you might want to rethink your designer.

If you are not on good terms with your current designer, then things might get a bit touchy. But don’t let that deter you! If you run into problems, feel free to give us a shout, we will see what we can do to get things worked out.

New Business New Domain Name

Registering your domain name is very simple. Go to a domain name register such as godaddy.com and follow the steps. A domain name will cost about 10-15 dollars per year, so make sure you check the the shopping cart at the end to be sure you did not order any extras you don’t need.

Now you have control of your domain name…

As always, if you have questions feel free to ask…

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