Do I Own My Practice Website?
Do I own my practice’s website?
A question few would think to ask until it’s too late. But not asking could leave you without a paddle in the swift and unforgiving waters of branding your practice’s name online. Unfortunately, an unavoidable truth in the website buying process is that what you don’t know can hurt you. So we sat down and ironed out some questions to ask yourself and your vendor before purchasing or building a practice website. Knowing these key factors about the ownership of your site at the front end could save you from being caught off-guard when the need for damage control arises.
Why do I even need to own my website?
Your website is the cornerstone of your online marketing strategy. And our culture’s shift into the digital age has made this foundation an even more crucial aspect of the dental and medical fields. As a practice, you have the ability to provide patients with a unique perspective on dental or medical care through an experienced and credible voice all your own.
Patients are looking to your website not only to find more information about the procedures that are available, but also to check out what makes you and your practice special. If you do not own every aspect of your website, then it’s lacking your personal fingerprint and it could be ripped from your hands later on. Rosemont Media CEO Keith Humes helps us shed some light on this subject:
“If you’re leasing your website and don’t own your own content, you could be put in a situation where you lose all of your hard work. Owning your website also means owning your placement on search engines as well as in the minds of your patients. Once a contract is terminated, you could potentially have to start from ground zero all over again,” says Humes.
If I’m paying for it, why isn’t it mine?
When you buy a contract, it’s important to remember that the elements cannot be transferred. Some companies may charge you to lease their generic content and designs that come from a template. So while they appear on your website, you might not actually own the rights to the content and design within. Also, when a company creates custom content, you need to be sure you have ownership of the generated content. While it will cost more, the benefits are immeasurable and can safeguard your practice’s online presence.
The Question Checklist
Negotiating a website can be a daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be as intimidating if you know the right questions that can help you make sure you’re getting the right fit for you. Here’s a few to get you started:
- Do I own my domain name?
- What happens if I want to change vendors? Does my domain name stay the same or do I have to start all over?
- What about my Google Analytics account? Is it in my name or my vendor’s name?
- Do I have access to all of my previous SEO work if I want to transfer?
- Who owns the content on my site? Is it a template or is it unique?
- Do I own the custom content they’re creating for me?
- Am I the owner of my design and graphics?
- Are the stock photography images mine or do they belong to someone else?
- Are there any unknown or hidden fees? What about if I want to transfer my website in the future? Will I get charged then?
Own it or lose it
Make sure you own the content to your website. For a bit more start up cost, you’re saving yourself thousands of dollars and countless hours of hard work.
“Buying a website should be an exciting thing, but it’s also a major asset to your practice. Making sure you are protecting your investment and asking the right questions on the front end, rather than being surprised later, can give you peace of mind and a lot less hassle,” says Humes.