A lot of business owners didn’t get into business because of their technical skills and knowledge. They have their own strengths and they hire out the technical components of their business to someone else, who is happy to do it. One key part of that is their domain management. Domain management is controlling your domain, that it’s registered and paid for. Your domain is what makes up your site’s URL. You will have it registered with a registrar like Namecheap who keeps your URL online. This is different from hosting, which is also important.
With your domain, you point your URL to your host, which is where your website is stored. Think of your domain as your address and your hosting as the house that’s at that address, except that it’s a lot easier to move your website than your house. Moving your website takes fewer cranes. This makes a lot of sense, let someone with more knowledge take care of it for you. Don’t do it and here’s why.
For many businesses, domain management is important to the company and its identity. Without their domain, many online businesses wouldn’t exist. Imagine if Amazon’s domain suddenly expired, someone grabbed it, and they had to reregister for something like www.Amazon.org. The new owner of Amazon.com would inherit all of their traffic until they could get it back again.
Think it would never happen? Guess again. Here are a few times that it actually did happen.
- Dallas Cowboys – In 2010, the Dallas Cowboys forgot to renew their domain. When fans went to dallascowboys.com they found a for sale sign and a picture of some kids playing soccer. This was about as embarassing as their defeat to the Green Bay packers the week after they forgot to renew their domain and an enterprising domain investor bought it for $9.99.
- Microsoft – Yep, you read that right. Think it won’t happen to you? Microsoft forgot to renew passport.com in 1999. This caused hotmail and other sites to be unreachable. As if that wasn’t bad enough, they forgot to renew hotmail.co.uk in 2003. So much for lessons learned.
- Yatra.com – Depending on where you live, you might not have heard of Yatra but they were one of the most popular online travel sites in India. Of course, when they forgot to renew their domain in 2013, this meant that customers couldn’t reach the site. Tough to be an online business if your customers can’t get to your website.
These are just a few examples to show that even big companies have problems. If you forgot to renew your domain, your online business won’t be online. Someone else could grab your domain and use that to get your traffic. They could also not even bother and just charge you and arm and a leg to buy your domain back. No one cares as much about your business like you do. Don’t let someone else manager your domain.
[insert quote]No one cares about your business like you do.
Protecting Your Business – Keep Control of Your Domain Management
There is no problem with hiring expertise to help you in your business. However, make sure you protect yourself when you do. Here are a few easy tips when hiring someone to help you manage your website, search engine optimization or domain name.
- Always Maintain Control Domain Management – You should always have control of the account where your domain is registered. We like Namecheap for their prices and their service, but regardless of who you use, have the account in your name.
- Maintain Control of Your Accounts – You should always have the accounts for your domain, hosting, and website in your name (or your company’s name). You should control the passwords.
- Don’t Give Out Your Main Account Information (If You Can Help It) – Sometimes, developers will need full access to your domain registrar, your website, or your hosting. If possible, give them their own account. Your developer should almost never need billing access and usually you can turn that off. If you can’t give them their own account, then change the password once they are done. We recommend using a system like LastPass to keep track of all your passwords and assign random passwords.
- Turn Off Unused Accounts – Once a developer is done with a project, turn off their account. You don’t want more accounts than you have to with that kind of access.
- Set Your Billing to Auto-Renew – These days, there really is no excuse for your domain or hosting to expire. Most companies allow you to auto-renew. Turn it on and leave it on until you decide to change your hosting or domain registration. It isn’t worth the risk.
These simple practices will help keep you, your site, and your company safe. It’s great if you can find someone you can trust, but even then, keep control of all your accounts and protect yourself.
Don’t Give Up Your Domain Management
There are a lot of trustworthy people out there and you will work with some. You’ll also work with some less than trustworthy people. You can’t always tell them apart and you never know when a relationship will turn south.
Even if you keep an amazing developer or consultant around, they get busy and they make mistakes too. Don’t let their mistakes become your problem. Keep control of the important things that could kill your business.