The last step in launching a new website is updating the DNS pointers on the client’s domain name. Sometimes with churches and small businesses this leads to the realization that nobody knows who controls the domain name, or even who owns it.
This is important, your domain name (yourname.com) is a corporate asset. You need to manage it as such. I have seen churches and businesses forced to register new domain names and change their marketing materials because they find their current name is really owned by a former employee/volunteer/vendor who is no longer available.
Three things to review on your domain name:
1) Do you have access to the domain name?
Domains are registered and administrated by Domain Registrars. Some of the big players in this market are Network Solutions and GoDaddy. You should have an account number or username, and a password for your domain registrar. This allows you or your tech people to change where your domain points. You need to keep this information in a safe place where you can find it. If you don’t know where your domain is registered, find out.
2. Do you “own” the domain?
Even if you have the login and password, it doesn’t mean you actually “own” the domain. When a domain is registered, the person completing the registration enters the owner of the domain. If your domain was registered by an employee, a volunteer, or a vendor there is a possibility that they are technically the owner of the domain, even if you are paying the bill. You need to review your domain record and verify it is registered to your organization.
3) Are the domain contacts correct?
There are several contacts associated with a domain name: Registrant, Technical, Administrative, Billing. In many cases these are all the same contact. It’s important that at least Registrant and Administrative have a valid, current email address. These email addresses will get notices if the domain is transferred or comes up for renewal. If the billing notices go to an old obsolete email or former employee, your domain can expire (and someone else can buy it) and you won’t even be notified.
Take a moment to verify your domain information. Your domain name is a corporate asset, it should be protected and managed as such. Contact Main Street or your current web developer if you need help.