Do you own your name?

Do you own your name?

I am concerned by what we have recently found while consulting with a number of small businesses and churches. Over the last 7 working days, I have encountered this several times, so it bears sharing with you: if you have a web presence, someone in your organization needs to know how to access it and your organization should own the domain name.

1) If I search your domain name in WhoIs, who will be the registrar? What I mean is, if I go to a WhoIs site and look up who OWNS or has registered that domain (your domain is your .com/.net or .org address) will it say your name or will it say your web developer’s name? It should say your name on the underlying record. If you have opted for private registration, check with the host and ensure your name and address are on the main record. To do this:

* go to a WhoIs lookup like and type in your domain name (without the www). Click Lookup.
* Scroll down until you see the WhoIs Record. Is your name or address there? If it is a private registration, and you authorized a private registration, it won’t be there. Otherwise, you should see YOUR information. Not your web designer’s. Ask your web partner to transfer the domain into your name. You can still give them access as a vendor and they can still do their job, but now you are in control of your domain name.

2) Do you have the logins to reach your site? We are working with three clients right now to update their web presence, better integrate social media tools and improve their search engine optimization. To do that, we needed to have access to their web files. The client did NOT have any information about where their web site was housed or how to reach it. They had to contact their web developer. That person refused to give the information until we got involved.

It’s your church, your business, your brand. Make sure you have all logins and information in case you decide to make a change or have an internal resource take over the work. Again, even if you remain with your current provider, someone in your organization should have this login information on file. Would you not have login information on your payroll or to QuickBooks?

3) Do you have a backup of your site (and I mean all of its files)? You don’t have to know anything about it, you just have to know you have it so if anything happens, you can work with someone to restore the information.

Look, it’s ok to rely on trusted partners to help you on web design, social media integration and more. Just use the same common business sense that you’ve used before. You wouldn’t want to be kept in the dark about your finances, your medical condition or your personnel. Technology is no different.