Why SMBs Should Control Their Website and Domain

Let's face it, being a business owner of a small or medium-sized business (SMB) can be challenging. There's so much to do and so little time to do it, and often, you may lack experience in many of the tasks required.

Like many business owners, you might hire experts to help with some of these tasks. However, this can come with its own set of risks, particularly if those you hire take advantage of your lack of knowledge on the subject.

Your website is likely one of these tasks. It's time-consuming and technically challenging, requiring knowledge of aspects you might not even be aware of, let alone have the experience to handle yourself. So, you hire a consultant.

Once you have your site, it becomes the centerpiece of all your marketing efforts and possibly a crucial aspect of your daily operations, such as the portal for directly selling your products and services. You invest countless hours and significant money into making your site what you need it to be. The URL is featured on all your marketing and advertising materials. Sales through your site might become a significant portion of your revenue.

What happens if the consulting company goes out of business? Or if you decide they are charging too much for their services? What happens to your site and your domain? Without careful planning from the very start, you might find yourself having to start over with a new domain and rebuild your website on another platform.

Steps to Maintain Control

So, how do you maintain control over these significant business assets?

1. Register Your Domain Personally

Use a domain registrar, such as GoDaddy, to find and register a domain you like yourself. Never share your password with anyone. Ensure you set up the DNS records on your own. If you're unsure how to do this or are uncomfortable doing it alone, request that they guide you through the process over Zoom or another conferencing software. If your registrar supports it, you can set up a user to manage the task for you, but ensure they do not have the ability to transfer your domain. NOTE: This is called Delegate Access in GoDaddy.

2. Choose Reliable Hosting Providers

Your consultant should be able to recommend their preferred hosting provider, but it should be one that operates independently of them. Ensure that the provider allows for the site to be created in your own account or transferred to you after it has been completed. Additionally, the hosting provider should support the ability to add and remove users, including the consultants who created the site for you, once they have completed their services.

3. Use a Content Management System (CMS)

When choosing a hosting provider, ensure they offer the capabilities you need. I recommend selecting one that supports a Content Management System (CMS). A CMS allows you to easily create, manage, and modify your website content without needing extensive technical knowledge. This makes it simpler for you to keep your site up to date and maintain control over its content.

4. Document Everything

Documenting the setup of your website and domain is crucial for ensuring you can maintain the site after the consultant is no longer available. This documentation should include detailed records of all configurations, login credentials, DNS settings, and any customizations made during the setup process. By having a comprehensive guide, you empower yourself or your team to make necessary updates, troubleshoot issues, and manage the site independently. Proper documentation ensures continuity and prevents disruptions, allowing your business to remain agile and self-sufficient in its online operations.

Working with Consultants: Best Practices

While it’s advisable to retain control, working with consultants can still be beneficial for specialized tasks. Here’s how to manage this relationship effectively:

Clear Agreements

A consulting agreement for a website and domain should clearly outline that the business owner retains ownership and control of all assets. It should specify that the domain will be registered by the business owner in their own account and that full access to the website's content management system will be provided to the owner. The agreement should also state that the website will be built on the owner's hosting account or transferred to the owner upon completion.

Limited Access

When working with consultants on your website, it's crucial to limit their access to ensure the security and integrity of your online assets. Consultants should not be allowed to add, modify, or delete users, nor should they have permissions to delete the site or its backups. Access should be restricted to only what is necessary for their specific tasks. Once the consultant's work is completed, their access should be promptly removed to prevent unauthorized changes.

Regular Audits

Regular audits of your site and domain accounts are essential for maintaining security and ensuring that your digital assets remain under your control. Conducting these audits involves reviewing user access permissions, verifying that all settings and configurations align with your current needs, and checking for any unauthorized changes or potential security vulnerabilities. Regular audits help you identify and address issues proactively, ensuring that only authorized individuals have access to critical functions.


Maintaining control over your website and domain is essential for the security, stability, and success of your business’s online presence. By taking proactive steps to register your domain, choose reliable hosting, and manage access carefully, you safeguard your brand and ensure that your digital assets are always under your control. While consultants can provide valuable expertise, retaining ownership and administrative rights is crucial for long-term success.

By being vigilant and informed, you can protect your business from potential risks and ensure that your online presence remains a robust and reliable asset for your business growth.

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