Web Properties: How to build your own site, and keep it

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Meet Jerry

Your name is Jerry, and you want to build your own site.

You own a bakery in a small town. The community loves your fine cakes, donuts and other sweets that you create.

You get pressured to get a website for your business. Times have certainly changed.

Not wanting to get too much into it, you had your nephew build your own site. It was family, so it was free!

Three years go by…

While talking to a customer they tell you that they had tried visiting your website but there was nothing there, just a “this site is no longer available” message. You look it up and find that this is the case.

Tragically, a year earlier your nephew lost his life in a car accident, so you can’t turn to him for help.

What can you do?

Don’t be Jerry

This is surprisingly common. Sometimes it’s a family member that built it, other times it’s a developer that was paid to build it. But whether through accident or in the fine print of a contract this happens:

A business owner “gets” a website, but they don’t actually own it.

This isn’t in the realm of domain theft, but is basically puts you in the same position.

So, how do you know whether or not you actually “own” your web properties?

What Jerry could have known

If Jerry was properly guided so that he owned his web property, he would have known about owning the hosting account.

On this hosting account would be his domain and web server. He would be paying for this directly through the hosting platform and since he has access, he would have direct ownership of his properties.

Having direct ownership of your hosting is absolutely crucial to your independence with your web properties, otherwise you’re at the mercy of a flaky family member or a Web Developer/Marketer ( Not that this is always a bad thing, but depending on your contract it can limit your options if you want to shop ).

Be Aware of What you’re Getting

When you get a website, either from family or from a developer, be sure to ask these simple questions:

  • Who owns the website, me or you? ( This is the pretty bits that get developed, including the design )
    • If the developer owns it, ask at what point they pass the rights over to you
    • If the answer is never, unless they have a REALLY good record for creating results it might be best to look elsewhere
  • Will I be able to manage my own hosting? ( You need this if you want to shop developers in the future )
    • If the answer is no, ask if you can set up a hosting account for your site and share it to them ( we recommend GoDaddy )
    • If the answer is still no, then it’s unlikely you’ll own what is developed
  • Do I own the domain?( This is the cornerstone of all your web properties )
    • If the answer is no, leave

In Conclusion

While you’re shopping for where to build your own site as long as you ask these simple questions and get straight answers, you should be able to avoid any unfortunate surprises further down the line.

Here at Play Frey Technologies, our focus is on making sure you are properly educated on what it means to own the web properties and, even more importantly, that you will be able to take over complete ownership of the site yourself someday.

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