Owner, as stated by Miriam Webster: : a person who owns something : one who has the legal or rightful title to something : one to whom property belongs.

The concept of ownership is straightforward, yet when it comes to digital content some companies providing these services muddy the water because they can benefit from controlling your assets.

If you go to a car dealership and pay cash for a new car, you own the car. If you sign an agreement to pay a certain amount each month for a specified length of time, you don’t own it.

The same is true for your website.

In this digital age your website is your #1 business asset. So much of your marketing stems from that, so make sure you’re paying attention and have the ownership rights you should.

Here’s a situation many business owners find themselves in: you sign up with a marketing company and they offer a ‘free’ website or one that’s built into your monthly payments and these payments are ongoing for the duration of your relationship with this company. Or they build your website on their ‘special’ platform–read: a platform they built and control and your website can only live on this platform. Think of it like you’re renting a car that can only be parked in a certain type of garage and the company that is leasing the car owns the garages. That really limits where you can go with your car doesn’t it?

At first, this route sounds like an easy way to get your practice website but you’re in for an unpleasant surprise if you try to exit the agreement for any reason. If you want to park the car somewhere else, the valet won’t give you the keys or will charge you a large sum to move it.

Business owners who take this route are essentially renting their website and all digital assets. Websites are such an important part of your business, you should own it outright! Don’t get stuck in the website lease trap! Make sure you know what to ask and look for in a marketing company.

What to look for

If your contract doesn’t state you own the website, you probably don’t. It should be very clear in the verbiage on the company website and in the contract. Owning a website isn’t quite the same as owning a car because it’s not a physical product and a website is dependent on the hosting provider’s server (the thing that keeps the website on the internet–a place to store files and ‘park’ your website). Sometimes there can be server problems that could cause the site to temporarily go down but it’s usually fixed pretty quickly. You also pay a yearly fee to have exclusive rights to your domain name (www.dentistname.com) if you don’t pay the registrar (where you bought the domain name) will release it for resale. But, this is important–your marketing company should help you set all of this up and make sure you create your own account with your name, your credit card information etc so that it’s YOU who has ultimate control of this. And you CAN own the components of your website that make it a website like your design elements, the content, the photos–everything you see on the website when you’re looking at it and the ‘guts’ of the site like the code. All of the information on the website is your intellectual property so you should own it.

When you build a website with Jameson Marketing, we write content specifically for you, we use stock images that you will have license to use, or we use the professional photos you provide, a design you select and we customize or build from scratch, and all of these pieces work together together to build your website. Once the project is complete, we park the website on our server and it’s live online. Should you ever decide to move parking spaces, we’ll give you the key with your site fully intact.

It’s up to you as a business owner to understand what you’re getting into. A few minutes to read over a contract now could save a huge headache later.

Tips to follow before signing you next website contract:

  1. Ask up-front if you will own your website. If the person says ‘after a period of time’ or something other than ‘yes’ that is a red flag. Ask if you own all assets including images, content, code.
  2. Ask if website hosting is included or an additional optional add-on. You will need to host, or ‘park’, your website somewhere regardless, and if the company offers that it should be an additional add-on. If hosting is already included and you’re not made aware, chances are you’re renting the spot and your website properties.
  3. Get clear on the total investment of the website. You should have the option to pay in full up front or in 2-3 payments. If you are making ongoing, never-ending payments, you don’t own the site.

If you are in the market for a new website, let us help you! Here are our standard website features and you can browse website packages here.

  • Full Site Ownership
  • Responsive Website
  • Front End Visual Editor
  • WordPress Website
  • Social Media Integration
  • Contact Us Form
  • Interactive Google Map
  • Dentrix Patient Portal Integration
  • Ability To Add Unlimited Pages
  • Blog Set-Up
  • Video Integration
  • PDF Form Integration
  • Testimonials Integration
  • Video Tutorials
  • Click To Call On Mobile
  • Click to Navigate On Mobile

I want to talk about my website options.