In our web consulting practice, we often meet business owners and entrepreneurs when they are struggling with their website. Here are five questions about your website that every business owner should be able to answer in order to avoid major struggles in the future:
- Domain Name - Whose name is on it, where is it registered, do you own more than one and who gets the notices to renew it? I could fill these blog pages with stories of owners/executives that left this to an employee and ended up losing their website. This is important – the name appears on the domain registry is the legal owner of the domain name. If that name is not yours or your company’s name, you have potential trouble coming. Not confident about this answer? Go write now and do a WHOIS Lookup. Type in your domain name and it will show the official registrant of the domain name. The contacts listed here are the ONLY people who can make decisions about this domain, including renewals.
- Website Hosting – Do you know who is hosting your website? This can be the same vendor who registered your domain name, but not always. In order to have access to the files that make up your website, you need to know where it lives. If you left this job to an employee, make sure more than one employee knows this information or at least has the contact information to call in an emergency or can change passwords if the employee in charge of the website leaves your company.
- Website Changes – If I needed to make a change in a hurry, how does this happen? Waiting for one person to change the website, especially if its pricing, can cost your company money. Again, if you put one employee in charge of this, make sure you have the contact or login information needed in an emergency.
- Search Engine Optimization - I think every website owner should have a basic understanding of how search engines work. Check out Google’s resources for website owners. If you understand how search engines interact with your website, you will have a better idea of when and how to invest in online marketing.
- Social Media – Before you invest a lot of time blogging, tweeting, or friending, do a little research on the audience for each social media site and decide if they match the target audience for your business. Need help defining your audience? Check out the Social Media Intent Index. I often see business owners jumping into online marketing projects because someone said they “should” or focusing on a specific tool instead of a marketing strategy. Make sure you understand the people/time/dollars commitment before beginning.
If you are currently dealing with any of these struggles, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can address in more detail with a follow-up post.