Take control of your website investment

computer frustrationHow much do you know about your website and your presence on the internet? If my experience of clients recently is anything to go by there is a lot the average person doesn’t know and, although I do websites and updates for people, there’s much I don’t know either. It has been obvious to me recently that business people’s ignorance about their online investments can prove costly.

The following are just some examples of how people I’ve come in contact with have been caught and also some suggestions for how you can help protect and take control of your online asset.

Don’t ignore website registration renewals:

A friend woke up one day to a call from Google informing her their website was soliciting money and was covered in an Asian language. I initially thought the site had been hacked but, alas, it had just not been renewed on time (just one day late).

In that short time another person had registered it and had a site operating from it.

The only solution was to remove all references online linking the local business to that website address … and, of course, registration of another site. They will now need to have their site rebuilt from scratch.

The original had been built by them.

The lesson – make sure you know when your domain name and your web hosting is up for renewal and RENEW IT IMMEDIATELY.

Who controls your domain name and website?

A client just faced a predicament that they wanted to transfer their website to another operator as they were unhappy with their current provider.

Delays resulted when it was discovered that the registration details for the website had not been kept up to date. The web provider had changed hands and had failed to update the registration details to reflect a new registrant and tech support contact.

Many people don’t know who owns and therefore controls their domain, yet they can often have thousands of dollars invested in their website and, for some businesses, the website is the only way they do business.

If you have a business take a moment to carry out a check of your domain registration.

Follow this link https://www.whois.com.au/domains/.

Enter your domain name.

If it says “this domain name is not available” select “VIEW DETAILS”.

You will then be asked to type letters and numbers from a Captcha box. If you do this correctly you will get to the details of your domain name.

For you, it should at least show you or one of your entities as the REGISTRANT.

Ideally the contact name and details for the Registrant should be yours (or you should know the person listed and that they are an authorised registrant). Ensure your Tech Contact Name and Email are also accurate.

These details can take time to get changed if they’re not correct so act now if you see some anomalies.

You can also find out which company your domain name is registered with by visiting https://www.webregistrar.com.au/.

Keep a relationship with website provider/host

It’s too easy to have a website set up and then leave it untouched for months or even years. Problems arise if the web provider (1) sells the business to someone else and you do not know who to contact if there is a problem; (2) goes bust and you lose all your online investment.

I was recently called upon to help rescue a local business when their website developer had become uncontactable or unable to assist them.

Their site had been either hacked or their website developer had failed to keep accounts up to date, including forwarding accounts to the business whose website was being hosted.

Imagine their horror when they clicked on their domain only to see words like “Account suspended. Contact your administrator for accounting and security issue.

Not only did this cast aspersions on the business, but they no longer had an online shop window.

The lesson here is to ensure you program regular contact with your website host/developer, even if it’s simply an email to touch base or a phone call. At least you will know you can contact someone in case of a problem.
We will cover more issues in the next edition.

*This article was written and supplied by Carolyn Jeffrey, the principal of CJ’s Business Solutions.