Starting a new website for your new business or an existing business is an exciting and rewarding journey. The benefits of a website far exceed expectations and provide an online presence that can grow with the company. I’ve personally witnessed many business owners and individuals lose their websites due to various reasons. In this article, I will address best practices and common pitfalls of domain name ownership.
It’s important to truly understand these basic principals and how any one of these situations could be a domino effect that leads to loss of ownership of the domain name.
Registering Domain Names with Domain Email Addresses
This one is less obvious and most people don’t recognize the risk here but it’s fairly straightforward.
User buys a domain name (yourdomain.com) from domain registrar “A” (Namescape), and creates an email address with that domain (firstname.lastname@example.org). Then uses that e-mail address to buy domain names at registrar “B” (GoDaddy).
They later either neglect to renew their domain name (yourdomain.com) or allow it to expire which ultimately results in them losing access to their email where their other domain names are registered.
PROTIP: Use FREE E-mail Providers like Gmail
Google’s Gmail provides life-time access to free email. This or any other free reputable e-mail provider will work. If it’s free, you can’t accidentally neglect to pay your bill.
The Web Design Agency
Most business owners that I’ve dealt with in the past have not been extremely tech savvy. They seem to understand things well once explained, however, it just doesn’t come intuitively. This often leads them to place an enormous amount of trust in the company they hire to manage and create their website.
Depending on how honest the company is will determine the outcome. If the agency owns the domain name then the client may be at their mercy. If the agency doesn’t want to release the domain name you may have to fight them in court to get the domain name. Theoretically, they could refuse to release the domain name in an effort to force you to stay with them. “Oh, you were leasing that domain from us.”
There’s always the possibility that the person at the company who has access to the master account with all the domain names leaves the company. A lot of times this is tied to an email address that is deleted when the employee leaves. After the employee has left, no one sees the notifications resulting in the domain name expiring.
It’s always best practice to own your domain name.
Sometimes the bus hits your web designer and they are no longer anywhere to be found. They are gone and so is your domain name. Don’t let a freelancer own your domain name ever.
PROTIP: Delegating Access with GoDaddy
GoDaddy has a feature where you can delegate access out to individuals. Typically, I tell all of my clients to delegate access out to me so that I don’t have to depend on their login/password to make changes to their domain name. This gives me the ability to make changes and help keep up with their account.
Expiring Domain Names
Business owners are some of the most busiest people on Earth. They often wear different hats and take on far too many responsibilities. It’s not very common for a website to go offline because the domain name has expired. During this frantic time I’ve seen business owners come close to losing their domain name because they weren’t able to find immediate access to their accounts.
When a domain name expires there is usually a redemption period of two weeks to 30 days. During this crucial period it is important to renew the domain name immediately. I’ve personally renewed domain names days before final expiration.
PROTIP: Calendars, Email, Delegate Access
This issue can be addressed in several ways.
Calendar – Setting a calendar reminder of when the domain name expires can help remind you to renew it.
E-mail – Checking your email regularly and making sure the domain name is registered under an email address that you check regularly is critical to you getting those renewal notifications. It would also be wise to have backup email addresses setup.
Delegate Access – With GoDaddy, individuals can not only delegate access to manage products but they can allow others to purchase products for their account. I would be careful with who you grant this access. I typically do this for my closest clients. If I know their domain name is expiring I can log in and pay their renewal fee and bill them later.
Call Them – GoDaddy has excellent technical support and with a quick phone call most issues can be resolved.