What is your website? The existentialist would say it is an extension of you and your eyecare practice. I wasn’t seeking to be quite so deep in this conversation, rather, take you through a much simpler set of questions and answers. Have a pen and piece of paper handy? You might need it…
What is the address to your website?
http://www.________________________._____ That was easy right? Of course, it was.
Question number two. Who owns your website? A little harder to answer isn’t it? I’m sure your gut reaction is that you do. Are you sure? Is your name registered as the owner of the URL? Who is the technical contact? Have you looked recently?
This is issue comes up more times than I like. We began talking with a potential client about their website and rebuilding it to help their practice- only to find out they don’t own the URL (web name) and complicating matters even further, don’t even control their hosting. To put it simply, they open the doors to their practice every day in a space they don’t own or rent, with keys that can disappear into the ether with the wave of a magicians hand…and they aren’t the magician.
Too many practices allow someone else to purchase (and therefore own) a URL they will hang the future of their practice on. Making matters worse, they allow their web designer to host their website for a nominal fee or worse, host their site on some free service like their local internet provider. Let’s take these one at a time.
URL (uniform resource locator)
Obviously, there has to be some controls on the internet. Only one company or entity can own www.coolopticalshop.com. That is your URL…well, whatever address you have selected. That is the address you rely on for customer/patients and potential customers/patients to look you up and turn to for all their optical needs. When over 70% of consumers research a product or store before ever walking in their door, isn’t this something you should own? Owning a name varies from register to register, but the average price is about $12 a year.
Make sure YOU own your URL…as much as anyone can own a URL that is. Your name, phone and long term email address should be associated with this name. You may have worked with your web guy or girl for a decade, but how about that “hit by a bus” rule. What happens if they win the galactic Powerball and get swooped up to Alpha Centauri tomorrow? Does your website pretty much go with them?
I always ask my clients to make me a technical contact. That way, two people get any notices about interruptions or expirations. CYA in a great digital way.
We’ve certainly covered this before. With quality professional hosting well under $10 a month there is absolutely no reason not to have your website hosting somewhere professionally. I honestly don’t want to hear that your internet provider gives you hosting for free. I have an app on my iPad that gives me an eye exam for FREE. Why should I go visit an Optometrist? Take 1/10th of a second to think of an answer and now apply that to your web hosting. No excuses!
Lastly, who has ownership of your hosting? I have hosting plans that allow me to host unlimited numbers of websites. I will not do so. Every practice should pay for and own their own hosting. As I stated earlier, this is once again, the “hit by a bus rule”. What happens to your website if your web designer isn’t around tomorrow? POOF! See that puff of smoke?
Once again, whomever you hire to work with you on your website can have the keys to all this to work on your behalf. But they are your keys to give and to take back. You certainly don’t hand someone $40,000 to purchase a company car and then put the title in their name and beg them for the keys when you want to drive it do you? If so, I can get you a great deal on a car….
When you hire us (and we hope you will look at us the next time your website needs work) we work for you… not the other way around. This is your website and your business. Your web designers, your computer person, your bookkeeper, your opticians, are all hired to help you and your practice, not take over your practice, or put your practice at jeopardy.
Remember that piece of paper I asked you to have handy? Go to any one of a number of places such as the ones listed here and type in your website address.
See if your name is listed as the owner. Now look at who hosts your website. If you’ve never paid a bill to them, you don’t own your hosting. The piece of paper? Use it to commend or fire whomever you work with on your web presence.
Daniel Feldman, is a co-founder to the Visionaries Group visionariesgroup.com (on Facebook) and CEO of dba Communications dbadesigns.com, (on Facebook) a web design and social media firm specializing in helping eye care practices achieve success.