September 7th, 2016

Do you own your website?

do you own your website

How much control over your website do you have, and do you know what’s going on?

Do you own your website? It seems like a simple enough question, but it’s amazing how many people we talk to who aren’t sure of the answer. What does it mean to own your website? Owning the domain name? Hosting it yourself? Building your own content management system?

There are aspects of your website that you should own, and others that you should understand. What should you own when you buy a website from someone, and what should you understand?

What are the key parts of a website?

Your website is built of several components, but the main ones which should remain in your control are:

Your CMS login. This is what you use to access the backend of your site where you can make content updates. From your CMS, you can change images, reorder your menu structure, write blog posts, and even add or re-arrange content blocks.

Hosting. Your web pages are essentially files stored on a computer somewhere. For many reasons, it’s not a great idea to host your own website. However, you should absolutely know who is hosting your website, and why they are a good option for you.

Domain Registration. Much like you don’t own your telephone number, you similarly don’t own your URL. You license it from a domain registrar, and you retain rights to it for as long as you continue to pay an annual fee. Knowing where your domain is registered and access to that account is key to retaining control of your URL, and therefore of your website.

DNS Hosting. Simply put, the Domain Name System is that thing which translates your URL (which human beings have a great time remembering, because: words) into the IP address (that long series of numbers which human beings have a hard time remembering). If you decide to change your hosting (move where all your the files for your webpages are stored), you need access to your DNS so that you can change where your URL points to.

Analytics. This is the raw data that allows you to see how your website is performing. You should have access to this and be able to understand what it’s telling you, at least in general.

We believe control over your website should belong to you.

You want to be wary of those who offer “convenience” when they’re really putting a wall between you and your website. For instance, they won’t tell you where they’ve hosted your website. Or they won’t give you log-in credentials to the CMS so that you can update it yourself. Or maybe it’s as simple as not explaining to you how your plugins work. None of this is acceptable. You should have access to every piece of your website, and your web designer should be able to explain how each part works.

At build/create, we are licensed for hire. We do not sell licensed deliverables. We focus on service first because we believe this is the best deal for you.

What this means is that we deliver fully content-manageable websites, which we build using WordPress. And because transparency is a fundamental aspect of healthy business relationships, we take time to explain your website to you. We take time to ensure that you know how to use use it so that you are in control of your content. When we make a decision involving a 3rd party, such as hosting, we want to walk you through that decision so that you understand why we’ve made it. And if we’ve installed any plugins on your site, we want to be sure you know what they are and understand how they work.

In short, we want you to know what we’re doing, because we believe in building long-term relationships with our clients. We don’t want you to feel dependent on us. We want you to work with us because you want to, not because you’re stuck.

Because that’s what ownership is about.

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