5 Critical Mistakes Businesses Make on Their Website
About the Blog Series:
The blog post series, 5 Critical Mistakes Businesses Make On Their Website, mini-series where the Driven Digital staff leverages empirical data to explain the major pitfalls of website success for businesses.
#1 : Domain Name Ownership
Problem: Businesses Don't Really Own Their Domain Name (Web Address)Here lies a big problem, most companies don’t really own their domain name-their website address (e.g. MetalBuildings.com or TruckBodies.us). To own a domain name, a company needs to be listed as the “Registrant” of the domain name. However, most companies rely on the technical expertise of an outside website company, techie nephew, or a particular employee to purchase the company’s domain name. However, the trouble in that is when this techie person registers your domain name, they list themselves as the “Registrant” of the domain name and not the company itself. Thus, a slew major problems can ensue-including non-desired goose chases for information on why your website is no longer pulling up when you type in your website address into an Internet browser.
Why It Matters: Website Crashes, Emails Go Down, Sales Are Lost
Again, to have full control over your company’s domain name, the company needs to be listed as the “Registrant” of the domain name. Not an outside website host or designer, or a specific company employee. These people are transient, but the company is permanent.
Here are 4 major reasons why it matters to be listed as the “Registrant” of your company’s domain name.
# 1: Till Death Do Us Part (.com)
If the “Registrant” of your company’s domain name gets hit by a bus or becomes non-responsive to communication, your company will have to go through a legal battle to gain ownership of the domain name. Still, after this drawn out legal battle, you still might not get your domain name transferred to you without having to buy it from the public domain name market-think GoDaddy.com or NameCheap.com. But, fair caution to all of you out there in this situation, ANYONE, including domain name poachers-people who buy domain names only to resell them at a much higher price-will have the chance to buy your domain name if it goes back into the public domain name market.
Did I mention that during all of this mess your website could become unaccessible from your company’s main domain name. Thus, forcing the company to purchase and setup a new main domain name and website-OUCH. Think of the confusion you will be sending to your current customers and targeted customers. Wait there’s more, business cards, brochures, billboards, oh my. They will all have to be redesigned if they have your old domain name on it.
Also, the biggest hit to your company will be the confusion you’ll be sending to Google-the guys who rank your website and determine who shows up on the coveted first page of Google Search Results. Your company could become non-existent within Google Search Results for industry keywords and phrases that the company and its website once appeared within and leveraged to generate the bulk of your website’s traffic.
# 2: Company Emails
Company email addresses-TruckerTom@TruckBodies.com-are at the heart of all company communications, internally and externally with customers. To have company email addresses setup with your company domain name-@TruckBodies.com-you need to have ownership of your domain name to make this happen. If you don’t have ownership and access to your domain name, you’ll be unable to update the domain name’s email records (MX Records).
Thus, if your domain name’s “Registrant” becomes unresponsive and you lose access to that domain name, your company email addresses could stop working. Your company could be sent into a frenzy trying to setup new email addresses, exporting and importing company email contacts over to the new email address agent, and the worst part, letting all of your clients know that you’ve changed emails. Sounds like a big mess, because it is.
Depending on your email hosting agent, you could lose all of your past emails. Plus, if you linked your calendar with your email agent, you’d lose that too.
# 3: You Want to Launch a New Website, But You Can’t
One of the worst things that can happen to a manufacturer’s website efforts, is that they spends months developing a new website with a better user experience and then they can’t launch it. Right when the website is ready to be launched and live for the entire world to see, including your fierce competitors, your website developer asks for access to your domain name. Um, blank stare ensues, and the wild goose chase to find this information beings. The culmination of the wild goose chase leads you to find out that you don’t have access and/or ownership to that domain name because a former employee or outside website company purchased it for you.
Now, that awesome new website you’ve been developing will have to set on the shelf until you get access to your company’s main domain name. What if you launched the website on a new domain name? Well, you’d confuse the heck out of both Google and your customers, because there would be two different websites active for your company. The new website on the new domain name and then the old website on the domain name you no longer have access to. Completely ruining your company’s current Google Search Results’ rankings-your company might of been on the first page for the keyword “truck body” but you won’t be anymore after this misstep.
Yeah, this is a big, big, problem. Don’t forget as well-business cards, brochures, billboards. This is going to affect your bottom line-lost sales, lost leads, and most of all, a major failed step into the modern age of marketing-a loss of marketplace ego and stature.
# 4: Domain Name Expires
A domain name must be renewed annually, or for those proactive and non-headache seekers, every 10-years. But, most domain name owners renew their domain names each year. Thus, if you don’t have access and/or ownership to your domain name, it could expire without you knowing and your current company website would go down, only to return when the domain name returns to an active state.
Here lies the bigger problem, if your domain name’s “Registrant” becomes completely unresponsive, and your domain expires, you’ll have to wait until the domain name hits the open market again within 60-90 days after the domain name expires. Your company website could be down for nearly 3 months, unless you go through the headache of setting up a new website on a new domain name-a costly misstep.
So, all 4 major reasons why domain name “Registrant” or ownership matters, come with major monetary and customer reputation implications. See below to learn how to check your domain name’s “Registrant” information.
How to Check Your Domain Name Registrant Information:
Wipe that sweat off of your forehead, we need you poised for the next step, checking the “Registrant” information for your company’s domain name. Follow the steps below to check your company’s public domain name ownership records or better known as, the “WhoIs” files.
Type in your company’s full domain name (e.g. TulsaMetal.com) below and hit search.
Scroll down to the “Registrant” information and take note of who is listed as the “Registrant.”
If Your Company Is Listed as the “Registrant”:
Conduct internal research to make sure you have the username and password information to where your domain name is hosted at, and the date that your domain name is set to expire. Once you get this information, renew the domain name for as many years as it will allow you-10 years is the maximum. In this case, roughly $100 dollars spent today saves thousands tomorrow.
If Your Company Is Not Listed as the “Registrant”:
You need to contact the individual or company that is listed as the “Registrant” and have them update the “Registrant” information with your company’s information and to give you username and password access to change your domain name’s information-this is important for email addresses and launching a new website. Preferably your company would setup a domain name hosting account with our friends at NameCheap.com and have the current “Registrant” and “Host” transfer the domain name into your account. Thus, giving you full rights and control to the domain name.
If Your Company's domain is privacy protected:
Not knowing is the worse case scenario. You need to contact the individual within your company that is most likely to know about your domain. If they have it, get the username and password to access your domain. Log in to your domain registrar and check the registrant's name and most importantly, the listed email address.
If no one in your company has access to the domain you will need to contact the registrar and plead your case. This process is normally very frustrating, so be prepared to test your patience.
If You Get Stuck: Contact Driven Digital for recommended next steps.
Next Up in the 5-Part Series:
The importance of updating your website's content and understanding how it effects your customer experience and Google Search Results.
About Driven Digital:
Driven Digital is a Pryor, Oklahoma based marketing agency focused on providing digital products and expertise to manufacturers, industrial service providers, and growing companies out there who want to dedicate themselves to embracing the Internet. Driven Digital is staffed with real people, at a real office in downtown Pryor, Oklahoma. View our office on Google Maps.