Part of researching the right Website Design Company for your project is knowing what
questions to ask. This article is addressing one simple but very
important question to ask; who will own my domain name? Registering a
domain name is one of the very first steps in the web design process and
it is one of the most common services that is taken for granted. Any
reputable web design firm will help you through all aspects of the
website design process and explain to you the importance of each step.
Here’s one point that many website design companies neglect to mention –
whoever registers your domain name owns your domain name.
What does this mean for business owners? This means website owners
beware! Register your own domain names!
I have been in the website design business for many years and have seen
some pretty shady practices from several Web designers that include holding domain names
hostage. I encourage all of my clients and all small business owners to
register their domain names in their own names. It is of the utmost
importance that the website owner has control over his or her domain
name. By controlling your own domain name you can control who hosts your
website and ultimately who has the right to maintain your website. Any
legitimate website design firm would want their clients to be able to
have control over their business information.
Many unsuspecting business owners simply assume that they have control
over their website and are free to change hosting or web designers as
they please. They certainly should be able to, however, I was inspired
to write this short article or warning to business owners after
receiving a surprising amount of phone calls recently from people who
were being held hostage by their web designers. They were all similar
situations where a web designer helped a client set up a site from
scratch and everything seemed fine until the website owner wished to
transfer hosting or change web designers only to find out that they
could not. Finding out that your domain name is being held hostage for
more money or out of spite can be devastating.
Here is a summary of one of the domain name horror stories that I
recently encountered that illustrates the importance of owning your own
domain name very clearly. A real-estate agent, we’ll call her Maggie,
was working with a web designer for several years. This web designer
then got her real estate license and became a competing real estate
agent. Once the “web designer” became a real estate agent she no longer
wanted to update and maintain Maggies’ website. Maggie also noticed that
her website started falling from Google search results. Maggie came to
my website design company to see if we could help her make some updates
and regain her Google Search engine positioning.
Maggie was unhappy with her current web designer and wanted to move her
hosting to a new hosting company when we initiated the work. Maggie,
like many business owners, thought she could do whatever she wanted with
her website. Unfortunately, there are people out there who scam,
extort, and retaliate. Maggie was the victim of the latter. We were
unable to make any headway with the former designer and had to advise
the client to contact a lawyer. Unfortunately, this is often the only
alternative and can be a tedious and costly process. Many people holding
a domain name hostage will release it immediately when confronted with a
letter from a lawyer, but there are always those willing to ride out
the process to the bitter end.
My recommendation is to avoid any domain name complications that could
derail your website from the beginning and register your domain name
through a reputable registrar like GoDaddy. I personally recommend using
GoDaddy as a registrar due to their exemplary customer service and
streamlined processing. It only takes 5 minutes to set up. Having to
fight for a domain name you spent years establishing a business with
will certainly cost you much more.
About the Author Chris London is the Art Director for Pixel Productions
Inc., a graphic
design agency and web design company ranked top in their field for
creative brand packaging and website design. He believes that one of the
greatest assets a company can have today is a well planned brand