Do I own my website?

Some might think this is a silly question, but for many so called website owners they do not actually own their own website. I had a client who paid a company approximately $3,500 to build  a business website for his company. The site came with all kinds of bells and whistles, which in the end he never used anyway, but  that is not the issue. Some of the features offered were very useful if they had been utilized properly.

The issue was that he never actually owned “his” website. There was the upfront cost in building the site, a monthly fee in the neighborhood of $300.00 and he had to upload all his own content and make all the changes to the site himself as well.

When it came time to make changes to the overall appearance of the site the company charged an additional amount each time something was required and these were listed as custom design changes not included under the monthly maintenance fee.

Later, he decided he wanted to have our company maintain the site and perform the updates to his site and when he wanted to change over to our servers he was informed that in fact he did not own the site and would not be able to transfer the site over. We had to start from scratch and rebuild a completely new site. He owned the content and was instructed to remove or download any images, copy or any other content before terminating services or else he would be unable to retrieve the content and would lose everything.

There are many online companies offering websites, hosting and domain names at incredibly inexpensive prices. The catch; you must host your site with their company and in many cases use one of their templates. When it comes time to make certain changes, which at times are still difficult for the average user, there are many limitations and design changes are extremely difficult, if not impossible.

It isn’t to say that these prefab sites have no place on the internet or aren’t useful, they are. The question really is on what your specific needs are. If you are creating a family site, a photo gallery or something for an organization that will have few or no changes and don’t have a need for ownership of the site, these types of sites are a very affordable option. Another viable solution which might serve well is a blog through Blogger or WordPress. Both are very powerful online tools to market your business.

Before you start out with your online endeavors, check with a professional and ask questions about the ownership of your site, maintenance, updates and capabilities. In the long run it may be worth it to wait until you have the capital to create a suitable business site that fits the needs of your company rather than doing things twice and possibly hurting your online presence more than helping.

Good luck with your future online marketing endeavors and if you have questions feel free to contact us, we’ll be glad to answer any questions about your future website.

Shawn Smith
The ADSmith Inc. 

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