Wild Wild West

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Iconstantly warn my web clients: “It’s the Wild, Wild West out there.”

For as much technology as we have, the ground rules of Internet search engine success aren’t clear. And nearly every day I hear about a potential problem that could have been solved by Setting Things Up Right in the First Place.

In other words, you need to control your own domain name. And other stuff.

I’ll keep this simple. And I’m speaking primarily to small and medium-sized businesses — the ones that outsource their IT or don’t have any IT that they know of.

1. You need to register your own domain name (e.g., basecamppro.com) with a Domain Name Registrar. If someone has taken care of that for you, be sure to have the domain name transferred to an account under your name ASAP. Why? Because your domain name is your property for as long as you lease it. If your webmaster or web host has control over that name, guess what happens when they forget to send you a bill for your domain name renewal? That’s right, you’ll lose the URL. And the same goes for if they die, win the lottery, or go bonkers. Disputing ownership after the fact is very difficult and, by the time you have (successful or not), someone else may have leased your name. Call me at 410.404.5559 if you don’t have a clue about what I’m saying.

2. Make sure you have access (if you want it) to your server, the computer up in the sky that houses your web site. Some people don’t want or need this kind of control, but if they want the information, I make sure they have it. The stakes are high — you can lose your web site, its backup, and any related databases. Large companies have IT People to make all this work. But small companies — they’re often at the mercy of people like me. And if people like me don’t explain property rights and facilitate them, it can get ugly. I could tell you stories that would curl your hair. Or at least make you very uncomfortable.

3. Make sure you are the administrator of your own Google Analytics account. I can’t tell you how many clients I have who have let someone else set up their Google Analytics and given them “access.” If you’re not the administrator of your own account, you can’t add users and change a lot of special information having to do with your account. And this goes for every account you have: Facebook, Twitter, you name it.

So, my clients are forever tied to the person who set up their account. That feels suffocating to me. Sure, you CAN set up a new Google Account by getting a new piece of code and adding it to your web site (getting rid of the old code). But when you set up that new account, all of your web history to date goes away. If you can live with that, go for it.

So basically, who’s at the helm here? Who’s protecting you? YOU are. One day I’ll write a book about your rights. But until then, I’ll try to reach you however I can. Or you can call me, Susan, at 410.404.5559.

Control your own domain name

by susan time to read: 2 min
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