I have been building websites for businesses since the late 1990s. Things were very different back then, especially with SEO. Website owners tended to think that people would come to their website just because it existed. It was easier to get away with that misconception then. However, SEO and driving traffic to a website are more involved now.
Over the years, I’ve seen website owners make common mistakes, including the above point. The interesting thing about most of the mistakes I’ve seen is they could have been avoided. Therefore, I have attempted to inform business owners, entrepreneurs, and churches about the benefits and responsibilities of owning a website.
I am not suggesting that business owners need to do what I will present in this article. However, they should be aware of those things to help protect their brand.
This article is another attempt to inform business owners about their websites’ mistakes. Some of the mistakes that were made were devastating to their brand. Therefore, I hope you will be well informed about the effective use of a business website. I will share what website owners should know about owning and managing a company website.
Hosting Account Credentials
Do you or a designated person in your organization know the credentials for your website hosting account? Think of a website hosting account as rented space on a web server for your website. It is where your website files reside and are accessed over the web. The account will have a username and password along with the URL.
Typically, the webmaster or web developer has the hosting account credentials because they usually set it up. In most cases, that is fine. However, I’ve helped businesses who could not access their website because a disgruntled webmaster refused to provide the credentials. The webmaster holds the website hostage when they are being replaced.
Let me give you an example. Suppose you are not satisfied with your current webmaster and hire someone else to manage the website and hosting account. The new webmaster will need the hosting account credentials to sign in to manage it. That would not be a problem if you had the credentials to give to your new webmaster, who could then change them for security purposes.
Website owners should have access to their website’s hosting account credentials. You should know, or a designated person in your organization should know the hosting account credentials.
Update Their Own Website
I have had clients who wanted to update their website’s content. However, they were not familiar with basic HTML or, in some cases, the content management system (CMS) used. People tend to think that they can merely copy and paste content from MS Word, for example. However, sometimes things don’t align as desired, causing the content to appear out of place.
The point here is that unless you or someone in your organization is familiar with at least HTML and CSS or the site’s CMS, you should not attempt to update your site’s content, add new pages, etc. You could severely damage the display of content.
I am not suggesting that you cannot learn the basics or have someone in your organization trained in website development. However, a person unfamiliar with web technologies should not manage a website.
Domain Registrar Credentials
Do you have access to your business’ domain name registrar’s account? I have found that many business owners do not have a copy of the credentials of the domain name registrar (e.g., GoDaddy). They often delegate domain name management to a webmaster or an IT company, which is okay. However, you or a designated person in your organization should have a copy of the domain name registrar’s account credentials.
Logging in to your domain registration account allows you to modify the registration parameters, most importantly, the contact information. We will discuss the contact information in the next section. Typically, the webmaster or IT company may manage the domain name registration. Sometimes, they renew it for you and then bill you for it, relieving you of the responsibility of renewing your domain names.
Domain name Contact Information
An important part of domain name registrations is the contacts. There are four contacts listed in a domain name registration. They are the administrator, owner, technical, and billing contacts. Some small business owners were not listed as any of the contacts. Instead, the company that manages the domain name or the webmaster is listed as all contacts.
The owner contact should be someone from the company, not a separate IT company or webmaster. After all, the business owns the domain, not the IT company or webmaster.
An IT company that manages the registration can be listed as the technical contact and perhaps the administrator. The IT company or webmaster may be listed as the billing contact in some cases. See my article “Do You Own Your Domain Name” for more information.
Websites for Marketing
Some business owners mistakenly think that people will visit their websites simply because they exist. They, therefore, do not include their websites in their marketing strategy, which is unfortunate. Websites can play a significant role in a marketing strategy. How many times have you seen advertisements that include a website address?
Websites should be used for marketing, not merely for a web presence. Some components of a website marketing strategy are funnels, email marketing, blogs, social media posts, traditional advertisement, and more. Don’t assume that people will magically visit your website. Use marketing strategies to drive them to your site.
I have presented some common mistakes that website owners make. Of significance is that many website owners do not include their websites in their marketing strategy. Some also do not truly own their domain names have access to their registration or hosting account.
Contact RPCR to help you avoid these common mistakes at 215-362-0967 or use the contact form.
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