Let’s talk about Your Domain Name. In this series, we’ll be talking about domain name maintenance. Yep. Yet another thing for you to maintain in your business. But this topic is far more important than you may think.
The thing is, many business owners take their domain name lightly. Once it is purchased, they don’t think about it anymore. Until something happens to it. Well, what could possibly happen? I bought it, so it belongs to me, right? There is no babysitting involved, right?
Wrong. There are so many things that can go wrong with your domain name. For instance, are you absolutely sure that your domain name is really yours? I’ve found over the years that many of the business names that business owners think they own, are, indeed, not their own.
Let me explain. You need a website. You don’t have the time (or even the knowledge) to create it yourself. So you hire someone to create it. Maybe it’s your nephew who is just starting out in the web design business, or perhaps a friend of a friend who agree to do it for you at no cost. You’re thinking this is great! right?
But something happens when you give away the keys to the castle. And if you are not paying attention, that name that your business is built on, suddenly becomes the property of the website creator. How do you know this? Maybe something happened and you needed to access the place where your website is registered, or your website suddenly goes down because no one paid the annual fee. You contact the domain registrar and they tell you that the domain name is not in your name, so they cannot give you access.
How did that happen? Well, seems your nifty web designer used their own name and email when setting up your account. So now, the online name of your business belongs to that person, not you. So what now? You will need to contact that person and get them to change the registration information to your name and email. In most cases, the domain registrar cannot do it for you. This is a pretty easy task unless you and that web designer (or maybe the ex-staff member) who created it has had a falling out. Then you may need some legal help to get control of your business’s domain name. Otherwise, you will need to purchase another NEW name because there can only be one and someone else owns it.
If you are not sure who purchased your domain name, now is a good time to check the ownership. One quick sign that you may not own your website name is if you have never received any email from the domain registrar. When you set up your business name online (or it is set up for you), you should receive a welcome email from the domain registrar. If you’ve never received this (make sure you check junk/spam folder), there is a good chance that someone else did meaning that the domain was registered with their name and email, not yours.
The moral here is to treat your domain name like the business asset it is. Your domain name has value. If you decide to sell your business, that name and all of the social and other digital assets add value to your business.
In the next part of this series, we’ll talk about what to watch out for when it comes to your domain name.