A company website is built with several different layers of production and providers. You may contract a developer, hire a content agency, and host the website with a cloud server provider. So who, exactly, owns your website?
This is an important question to ask, and the answer might not be what you expect. Every company should own the essential elements of their website design and online content, but not all of them do. Some businesses experience a nasty shock when they try to change website providers and it is revealed that their provider contractually owns the content created for the company’s website.
Don’t let this happen to you. Know who owns each part of your website and how to maintain ownership of the most important elements: The design and structure that make your website you.
Leasing and Licensing for Your Website
In the digital world, there are a few things that all or most companies lease to host a website. Your domain name, your cloud server, and your codebase are all part of the web infrastructure. However, these are all infrastructure assets of your website that are freely available for any company to subscribe to, so they are also always available.
Domain Name Registration
Your domain name is something that you license and pay for annually. You are in possession of it and you can even sell it for a profit, but you pay a yearly fee for the domain and if you stopped, it would eventually return to the public pool. Consider your domain name like a shopfront in a mall or airport. It’s yours for as long as you pay for it, but you never own the title.
Hosting Server: Owned or Leased
You can choose to host your website on company-owned local servers, but good business practices today suggest a scalable cloud-based solution with all the supported bells and whistles of a cloud provider like Azure or AWS. If you subscribe to cloud server hosting and services, then you are leasing your server space and don’t actually own the server your website is hosted on. However, the perks are worth it and there are multiple providers, so you’re never without access to cloud hosting.
Codebase or Website Platform: Licensed
Lastly, unless you commissioned a proprietary website from the ground up, you probably don’t own the structural code of your website. Template web platforms like WordPress or website builders like SquareSpace own the original code and you build your website within it. The same is true for plugins and addon features.
Owning Your Brand’s Website Essentials
What you should own is all the things that make your website different from other websites. All websites need a domain, a host, and a codebase. But the templates your pages are built with, the assets that define your brand experience, and the content that fills your pages – that should all belong fully to the company that the content features.
However, you might be surprised to learn that it’s become common for content and web design companies to write themselves as the content owners in client contracts – a detail that is often missed until clients try to change providers. Here’s what you should own:
- Your Web Design and Structure
- Your Branded Design Assets
- Your Written Content
- License to Images Used in Your Website
This should all be contained in a single file structure that can be applied to your website hosting server. On any cloud server with your chosen website codebase installed and configured, you should be able to load your company-owned website export file and soon have an identical website up and running.
Take Ownership of Your Website Content with Local Leap Marketing
Here at Local Leap Marketing, we make sure that all the content we create for clients belongs 100% to the client. Content about and for your company should belong to your company, and we don’t have any nefarious purposes for your logos, product descriptions, or blog articles. Our motivation is to give you a great website and build your visibility with your local audience – and maybe receive a few well-earned referrals and five-star reviews along the way.
If you love the website content that we create for you, we want you to keep it with our delighted compliments. And if your company’s website content is currently being held hostage by your last service, we’ll help you rebuild a better, stronger website based on the original design; which you will own 100%.