In Marketing Strategy, Web Design

Re-doing your website?

Master your own domain.

There are probably a hundred ways for a business owner to get themselves in a bind with service providers, perhaps even more. One seemingly small item that very few folks think about is control of their domain and everything associated to it.  Let’s take a look at the birth stages of a domain name…

1.  Register your domain

First things first, is your domain available? You must do an online search and then purchase the domain from a registrar such as GoDaddy or Network Solutions.

2. Setup a web hosting account

You will need someone to host your site – a web host.  Depending on your needs, there are LOTS of options for this service.  Buyers tip: don’t let GoDaddy sell you everything under the sun, you don’t need it.

3.  Point your DNS to your website

Once your website is ready to launch, you will need to connect it to your web host’s server to make the site public and live. This requires knowledge of DNS (Domain Name Server) records and it is probably the most confusing step for those lacking technical knowledge. Don’t panic. Get help. You can access these records via your registrar.

4.  Set up your email

You’ll need someone to manage and host your email.  Again, lots of options here and perhaps some tricky setup.  Don’t be afraid to ask… for help 🙂

5.  Set up your Google account

Your Google account houses services like analytics and webmaster tools. If these are new to you, go read the article on SEO and Branding to find out what you are missing.  Every business should connect to these free tools.

These five small decisions in the lifecycle of your domain’s setup are rarely made by business owners. No surprise right? Who wants to deal with this stuff? They are decisions, however, that if left unmanaged, can cost someone their brand and serious dollars. Every single one of these items above should be managed by and/or setup by YOU – the business owner. This may be the first time I say this during this post but it won’t be the only –  Do not ever let a service provider own any of these steps for you! While those individuals may be instrumental in helping you through this setup process (and they should be, you will need help), you should retain ownership of each step.

A quick example

We recently forged an online marketing relationship with a local business. We were taking the reins from someone else. In this case, a service provider (SP) that was not leaving the relationship on a professional note. The first order was to track down all client logins for any online tools we were going to need. As we attacked items on the list, we checked their domain name via the WHOIS directory – what if we needed to change their website or create new email accounts in the future? As it turned out the old SP had set up this domain on behalf of the client and registered it not only in their own name but also via their own GoDaddy account. Fine if this is a friendly situation, but this deal was anything but friendly. It took us close to two months simply to get the domain transferred to the rightful business owner’s registrar. Until then, the domain was held hostage and everyone involved was under a lot of stress. What if that provider had just said no? A legal battle might have ensued. Don’t think people are capable of playing these games?  Think again. Never let anyone other than yourself or your business purchase your domain name for you.

So directly to the point – please master your own domain.

Every part of the setup process. If you allow a service provider, even one that you trust explicitly, to set these things up under their own accounts – you lose in the long run. Don’t put yourself in this situation, do these things upfront and you won’t ever experience the stress I described in the above example. We understand these are not all easy tasks for the average Joe to accomplish, so it is advisable to get help doing them.

Here at Allegory, we build beautiful websites, brand stories & marketing campaigns, but we leave the business of hosting websites and email accounts to the experts. We help clients accomplish the 5 tasks above, making sure everything is set up under a client’s name and they understand how to contact their registrars or hosting companies should their website ever go down or their email get wonky.

Get smart from the get go, protect yourself and avoid future pitfalls. Just do it. Ask your nerdy friends for help. Or ask us, we promise to hold your hand along the way.

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