As a business, your digital property and online assets exist as part of your identity. That’s why it should be a priority to maintain control over every single one. These assets can range from social media usernames and passwords to more vital things such as domain name ownership and hosting.
We’ve seen several scenarios where a former employee held all of the access to a company’s social media accounts. These accounts had several thousands of followers. Without access to the profile, they were never able to reconnect with that audience. Instead, they had to start over from scratch. Ouch.
Another example – a company that didn’t have access to their website, domain name, or hosting. They had critical edits they needed on their website but their web developer had been non-responsive for months. They called us asking for help, but we couldn’t do anything.
I can give more examples, but I think the point has been made: Don’t give away the keys to your online kingdom. Be sure that you are keeping track of all your digital property and online assets. This also applies to all of your non-website online assets. Below are items we recommend keeping track of.
Popular sites like GoDaddy, HostGator, Network Solutions, and Bluehost allow you to buy a domain name and also host your site on their servers. Others like Namecheap and BuyDomains only dabble in domain names. Sometimes your own web developer will register and host your website. Regardless of who you use, be sure you know exactly who your vendors are and what they do. If possible, request administrative access to your website and everything that comes with it – even if you don’t manage it.
Your domain is one of the main components that your business is built on. It’s the identifier for your brand, the home of your website, email, and much more. Some companies have more than one domain, so make sure you have all of yours accounted for and managed by you.
A web hosting account stores all of your website files. Typically, domain names and hosting are from the same vendor. However, sometimes they aren’t so be sure you know where your files are hosted especially if you are transferring your site to another provider. If you can get access, that’s even better.
Need a refresher on how these pieces come together? Click over to our article How Does DNS Work?
Popular website builders like WordPress utilize a separate database where the site’s information is stored. It’s important to have your website developer set up an automized backup of your database. If possible, ask for access. This way you will always have a copy of our website available to you.
Themes/Plugins and Third-Party Apps
Website builders typically use themes and plugins from various vendors. Each of these are installed separately and some are linked to different accounts. If you have access to them, it makes it easier to transfer the site if you need to.
If your business email ends with your domain (“@example.com”), be sure that you never lose that domain. Equally important, you should be receiving updates on when it is up for renewal. Once that domain goes down, so does your email.
Most websites have a linked Google Analytics profile that tracks and reports on website traffic. It’s important to have access so you can review the history of how your website performed before and after major changes.
Google My Business
A Google My Business profile allows users to find your location, business hours, read reviews and see your latest news. This is what shows up when users search for your business on Google. If you have an existing profile, it’s important to have access otherwise you won’t be able to update your profile.
Business profiles on social media sites should be set up where more than one person within your company has access. If you are the owner, make sure you have access to each profile whether it’s active or not. If possible, set up your Facebook Business Suite under a company email address. Once set up, you can manage access levels for staff or vendors. Doing things this way can also help remove the possibility of an employee creating a business asset on their personal account.
Every company has specific resources they pull from. Therefore, be sure that more than one person has access to the usernames and passwords for each of your additional online resources such as:
- Email Newsletter/Blogs
- Mailing Lists/Subscriptions
- Reputation Management Sites – Yelp, HealthGrades, Avvo, Better Business Bureau, etc.
- Industry Related Third-Party Sites – online training programs, stock image/video websites, etc.
- Payment Processor Accounts – such as PayPal and Stripe
- Branding Storage – Company logos, photos, marketing materials, other assets
- Software Licenses
Keeping track of your digital property and online assets should be a priority. I guarantee it will make your life so much easier when you’d like to change vendors or when an employee leaves your company. In addition, if you’re planning on selling or buying a business, these digital assets are also considered a part of a company’s value.
Need advice on how to keep track of your digital property? Want to know more about setting up access to your online assets? Give us a call at (915) 351-8440 or send us a message. We’ll be more than happy to help!
Naomi Dhillon is a Marketing Technologist at Stanton Street, a web design and development company in El Paso, TX.
Naomi attended New Mexico State University graduating with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in English. She also has an A.S. in graphic design.