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Who Owns Your Website?

May 6th, 2008 · No Comments

So you want a website. It’s about time. To claim your bit of real estate on the Internet, you must purchase a domain name, create a site, upload it, and have the site hosted. (If your site is not hosted, it will not be online.) Though hosting is a service, there are a few tangibles here: your domain name and your site’s content. It is not common practice for website designers and design firms to tell you who owns your domain name and content. You’ll have to ask.

Your development company may offer to purchase your domain name for you. As long as the domain is registered to you, and not to your development company, you will own your domain. However, some development companies register their clients’ domains as their own. This means that once your site is up and running, if you decide to move to another company for hosting and a redesign, you might have to purchase your domain name at a hefty price – or lose it. Giving up a good domain (one that has your name, practice name, or city in it, for instance), or a domain that has been up and running for years, can negatively impact your site’s popularity on the search engines. When you put your site on a new domain, it’s like starting all over. You lose the benefit of longevity (the longer a site is up, the better it looks to search engine spiders) and links (directories, individuals, and organizations may link to your domain from their sites).

You can see who your domain name is registered to by going to then typing in your domain name after the .com/. If you are your domain’s registered owner, be sure to get your username and password in case you need it later. Without this information, you cannot have work done to your website.

If you hire out your site’s design, you may not own the content that’s created for you – even content you create and supply. The company that puts together your site and publishes it online might claim the copyright. This may seem insignificant to you now, but if you decide to host your site elsewhere later on, you will either have to purchase the content that you have been leasing for your website or create it all over again, using different phrasing and photos.

You can avoid the copyright issue by knowing the facts before you enter a relationship with a design firm. Ask who will own your content – pictures and words – and your domain name. You’re investing in a product, not just a service, and you deserve to know exactly what you’re buying.

Tags: Dental Websites · Websites & Internet