Fifty-four percent of small businesses have a website, but less than half of the population could explain how the internet actually works.
This margin of understanding is a primary reason why so many businesses run into problems with accessing their websites and social media accounts. A lot of businesses don't have an existing management system in place for their digital property.
It might not seem like a big deal when a business is small or just beginning. But as businesses grow, employees are hired and leave, it's easy for owners to get lost. Misdirected ownership can lead to major issues when it comes to digital marketing, branding, webmaster functions and so much more.
Here's our guide to getting control of your assets, and the reasons why you need to.
What Is Digital Property?
So what is a "digital property"? Digital properties are the blanketed term for all of your company's digital real estate. From your social media accounts to websites, emails, media, documents, directories and more. Any type of profile or account that your company has online is considered a digital property.
Without a system to manage every piece of digital real estate, it's easy for it all to get lost in the mix. Ownership of these properties often ends-up in the hands of the agencies, vendors, and employees who manage them. The problem with this is that all of these types of owners eventually change.
Without a system or awareness of digital property ownership, businesses can lose access to important digital accounts. Some we've noticed is the loss of domain registers, website hosting providers, Google analytics and tools, social media accounts and so much more.
Regaining access to digital properties is difficult and time-consuming. It's unfortunately only even noticed by most companies until they implement some kind of new campaign or strategy. Trying to regain ownership can create serious bottlenecks and can even become a legal issue in serious cases.
Domain Name Register
Most of us are savvy enough to understand what a domain name is, simply put, it's your website name. It's given an IP address, which is like your website's social security number, it's essential for the website to be functional and findable. Domain names have to be purchased through a registrar company.
There are many websites that offer domain registering services, one of the most well-known is GoDaddy. Some companies like WordPress provide domain name registration, website hosting, and content management all in one platform.
The domain name might seem like a complicated thing to have to think about. But today, most mainstream services provide a user-friendly dashboard. The domain name is the core of your website.
Domain registers need to be renewed every one to a few years, depending on the package you choose when you purchase them. If you ever want to make an update to your website or conduct an SEO audit, you'll need to be able to access it.
Website Hosting Provider
For a website to function, it needs to be able to store data. To store data, a website needs to have servers that store data and send it back and forth. One of the key functions of a domain name is to work as the conductor that points to which servers a site's data is stored to.
A web hosting provider stores data and makes it possible to create the website that customers engage with. As companies grow, create new digital services or save more sensitive data, they may need to consider the servers they are using, and if they need to upgrade. Without ownership of a domain register or website hosting provider, a company not only has no control over where their data is stored, but they can't change it
Always register a domain to an email account and credential information that will stand the changes of employees, vendors, and agencies you work with. Keep login information accessible in a protected, master spreadsheet that can be accessed by whoever is responsible now, or five years from now.
Google Analytics, Ads and More
Control of Google Analytics is essential to any company who wants to improve their search rankings, track website performance or create ads. It's the cornerstone of all Google's products and services for websites. Many companies can overlook ensuring that their site is registered with Google.
If you don't flag your site for Google to crawl, it's not going to be searchable. Having a Google Analytics account is free. Google also offers a free Google Search Console, which is a user-friendly platform that allows you to check the status and rankings of your website. These should all be managed by a singular business account that can survive the growth and changes of your business.
Tracking website traffic is vital for businesses who want to get a grasp on all of their digital marketing efforts. It's essential if you want to really understand your customers, audience, and ultimately have a better understanding of what's working, and what's not.
If you want to create Google Ads, manage your Google Tag Manager or access Google My Business, you'll need to have control of your Google accounts. Google allows you to have master login credentials, but also add and delete administrators.
Social Media Accounts
It's very common for social media account ownerships to get mixed-up and completely lost over time, without a management system. Social media accounts can be forgotten, logins get lost and people can be hard to get in touch with. Getting access to a social media account you've lost access to is incredibly difficult and time-consuming.
For Facebook, create a company Facebook profile that's only used to manage your company's Facebook page. This will ensure that no one person has sole ownership over the page, and that if you ever want to create multiple pages, you can manage them in one place. You'll need to make the Facebook profile the "owner" of the page. The owner has the ability to add and delete other administrators and control their permissions.
LinkedIn works similarly to Facebook, in that it needs to manage through a personal profile. The best way to do this is to create management only LinkedIn personal profile that you create the page from. This will ensure that strangers don't have to log in to someone's personal profile. It will also make sure that as employees change or personal social media logins are forgotten, your business page won't be affected.
Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube should all be managed through a singular company email and password. It's recommended to use the same logins used for Facebook and LinkedIn and to keep all of this information stored in a protected spreadsheet.
Businesses can be listed on Google Maps, to Yelp, Yellow Pages and other local and trade directories across the internet. If you've had your fair share of SEO and digital marketing help, it's possible that your business is listed in places you have no idea about.
The problem with this is that you have no idea what people who find your business through these directories are seeing. If these listings are many years old, the branding, messaging, services, and even basic contact information can be wrong. This won't only prevent potential leads from funneling through, but it will make your company look bad.
It's possible to regain ownership, but it can be a tricky process. A professional marketing agency can run a check to see where your company is listed and begin the process. There are tools online that allow you to do this yourself, but the process can be time-consuming and confusing to tackle for those without experience.
Online directories are also an opportunity to establish quality backlinks, on top of being a tool for lead generation and branding.
Get Control of Your Digital Real Estate
The sooner you get control of your digital property, the better. Start by taking stock of all of your digital properties. Create a spreadsheet that can be shared and is not able to be accessed by anyone who finds it. Go through each property and adjust logins and ownership roles that match your management team now, and will make it easy to manage in the future.
If you need help, seek out experts! We provide strategic digital marketing services like inbound marketing, marketing, and sales automation and lead generation for businesses throughout America and Canada. Contact us to elevate your company through the power of digital marketing!