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Your web and email domain is the part of your website and email address that appears after www. and @ respectively. For example, our own domain is jalapeno.is. Your domain is an important business asset that needs to be managed and controlled correctly. ‘Why?’ we hear you ask. Well, let’s take a look at a situation we dealt with recently for one of our clients.

At first glance, the job seemed simple enough: a migration from their existing email system to a cloud-based Office 365 platform. We tackle this sort of job all the time, so we weren’t expecting it to be complicated. How wrong we were! It turned out that the client’s team members were all doing different things with their email accounts. A couple of staff had even already set themselves up on Office 365 already – but using separate accounts.

When we started unravelling the situation, it just got worse. There was no single point of control for the company’s web and email domains (they had several), which had been registered at different times by different people. Some of the user names and passwords had been forgotten, although thankfully we could retrieve them.

By the time we’d unpicked the various threads and brought everyone together under a single web and email domain, with a single point of control and a single Office 365 account, the job had taken twice as long and cost twice as much as expected. Not good news for us or the client!

So, the moral of the story is: put one person in charge of registering and maintaining your domain(s). Have a single account and keep the user name and password locked away in a secure location, like the office safe. And don’t forget to diarise your domain renewals or set them to renew automatically. Or you could find the plug gets pulled on your website and email accounts without notice.

Having said that, if you own and control your domain in-house, you’ll receive automatic reminder emails from Nominet or whichever service you used to register the domain. This brings us to our second crucial point: if you don’t own your domain, you need to do something about it NOW.

Yes, it may be convenient to let your web developer or IT consultancy deal with it for you. But what if you have a dispute with them or they go out of business? Or they simply forget, or don’t bother, to renew your domain on time? As we mentioned above, your domain is a business asset – and some domains can be extremely valuable. So why give control of something so important to a third party?

We recently worked with a client who did just that and now have no control over their domain. They’re essentially being held to ransom by their web developer, who’s threatened to shut down their website and email accounts if they try to move the domain to another provider or take control of it themselves.

This is a very unenviable position to be in. There are steps you can take, such as raising an ownership dispute with Nominet (or whoever). But there’s almost always a cost involved with this process and furthermore, there’s no guarantee of success. Of course, you could always abandon the domain and start again with a new one. For example, if your old domain was www.joebloggs.co.uk, you could see if www.joe-bloggs.co.uk was available.

Unfortunately, this approach has its own pitfalls. For starters, you’d lose your old website and would have to pay for another one to be designed and developed. All the time and effort you’d spent on SEO to get your old site up the Google rankings would also be lost. And your email accounts would no longer work, so you’d have to get in touch with all your contacts and tell them your new address.

Equally worrying is the fact that you’d no longer have any control over the content or usage of your old website, giving carte blanche for others to use it for their own interests. And if your old site was still live, your new site would have to compete against it – which would be difficult as you’d be starting from scratch again with SEO…

And if all that isn’t enough, think of all the places your web address is displayed. From stationery and vehicle livery to promotional materials and business directories, it would be a long, hard and expensive slog to bring everything up to date with your new URL.

Worried you’re not in control of your domain? Jalapeno can help.

If you’re concerned about the management or ownership of your web and email domains, Jalapeno Business Services can help. Give us a call today on 01636 681 110, email us on enquiries@jalapeno.is or complete our quick online form to request a call-back.