Quick….who is your domain registrar? Where is your site hosted? Over the last couple of months I have been astonished at how many small businesses don’t know the answers to those 2 simple questions. Unfortunately, due to the outage of popular domain registrar and web host GoDaddy, a whole lot of them realized today that they need get a handle on their digital assets.
Two Major Components of Your Site
There are 2 components to your website that you need to control in order to fully control your asset. You need to think of your small business website as your online storefront. Would you give the keys to just anyone who painted the walls or fixed the plumbing? No..then why do so many small business owners hand over the keys to web designers or developers?
The set of keys to your website consists of 2 components. The first is your domain name and the second is your hosting package.
If you do not own or have access to your domain name, you do not control your website!
Here in Charlotte, NC there are quite a few local hosting companies. I guess they started back when hosting was expensive or hard to get. With so many low cost hosting options on the market now, I don’t understand how local companies still compete. The truth is that they probably don’t but they still have clients from years ago when they first built their websites. And this is where the problem lies…if the company you hired back in 2005 to build your website also hosts the site AND has access to your domain name – you can be held hostage or worse!
One local company here in Charlotte had problems with their server last month. I don’t think they were hacked but from the small business owner’s perspective the situation was the same as GoDaddy’s customers today. Their site was down, their email was down and they couldn’t reach their customers online.
Easy Solution – New Hosting
A few of these companies reached out to us for help. Now, we don’t do any type of hosting. But we do recommened and use Bluehost (aff link) all the time. Some of the companies with sites down that contacted us had control over their domain names. They were the lucky ones! Unfortunately, others did not.
For the ones who had control, the solution was easy. Without getting bogged down in technical details, we essentially got them hosting on Bluehost and then pointed their domain directly at their new host which bypassed the downed local host without even needing to speak to him.
One company was so lucky (um…I mean, smart) that they had a recent back up of their WordPress website and access to their domain. We had them back up and running first because they had all the pieces that made moving their site as easy as possible.
Hard Truth – No Domain = Starting Over
Businesses without control of their domains were left starting from scratch. They had to register new domains and build new websites on those domains. Their search engine authority and rankings are gone. Their customers and prospects could not find them. Their print materials like business cards and stationary have to be changed. All because they could not access their domain registrar.
If you need to give a web designer or developer access to your site, they should only need access to your host. Never give someone access to your domain if you don’t have to. This logically leads to the conclusion that it is a good idea to separate your domain registrar from your hosting. That way you can grant access to your website without completely handing over all control to your domain.
Think Local…Go Global
Remember the “Think Global, Act Local” phrase that tried to motivate you to change your behavior in ways that benefit the environment? Well, when it comes to web hosting you need to think about your business and act global.
There is no reason to get hosting from a local hosting provider anymore. For as little as $4.95 a month, Bluehost will host your site. Their support is awesome, the control panel is easy to use and their technical capabilities are more than enough for 99% of local small business websites. If you are reading this article, your business will do fine on Bluehost….ours does!
And no matter who you get your hosting from, it is a good idea to register your domain somewhere else. One of our favorite places is namecheap.com. As the name implies, they are usually a couple of bucks cheaper than the big guys with no difference in the product.
Own Your Digital Assets
It is a brave, new business world out there these days. Local small business owners don’t always know the right way to navigate through this technological landscape. But step one is to control your domain and be very stingy with access to it. Hosting is easy to transfer but if you like your domain name, you need to protect it!
GoDaddy makes the big bucks by being a domain registrar and providing website hosting packages, along with a slew of other services. But to be fair, the hacker could have hit another big name host or registrar. But he decided to go after GoDaddy. In this environment it is best to protect yourself and your business by registering your domain in one place and host your website in another.
These are the first steps in establishing and Optimizing Your Online Presence….sign up for more blog updates (top right corner) to keep up on the rest of the steps!
As always…thanks for reading and Good Luck!