You just designed a website for your company, paid for the work, are ready to launch it, but you started hearing that you may not actually own your investment. How is this possible?
Putting together your HTML takes a lot of moving parts and complete ownership isn’t automatic in this process. So what are your website ownership rights?
The “Not Yours” & “Yours” of Website Ownership
While there are parts of the website you’ve just had created that you can call your own, there are others that you cannot. It may be hard to understand, but let’s take a look at the pieces that belong to others and those that should be yours.
Not Yours: Content Management System (CMS)
WordPress, for example, is a CMS system. This means that it is the software that was created to help manage the content for your site. Whatever company wrote that program owns the system.
If you actually wrote the code, then you will own it. However, it is most likely that the agency you hired used one of the common open-source programs on the market to ensure your site content is being effectively managed up to industry standards.
Not Yours: The Web Design
This may surprise you, especially since our next point mentions visual design elements as being a part of what you should own. However, whoever actually designs the content for your site is the one who has the copyright on it. It’s the law.
This means, if your web designer is the one who has legal rights to whatever they’ve designed, and you have their permission to use it or to license its use.
Yours: Visual Design & Text Content
Any assets you provided to the design team, editorial content, photography, artwork, etc., belong to you. This goes back to the permissions and licensing point. Just remember: if your web designer created it, it’s legally theirs; if it’s content you brought to the table, you control it.
Not Yours: Domain Name
You may have registered your domain name, but this has given you permission to use it, not own it. If you notice, there are plenty of times you put a name into your browser only to discover it is now available.
As long as you continue to re-register your URL, it will be yours so it’s important to keep on top of your expiration deadlines. Your domain name is an integral part of your marketing and branding. You want to be sure that when customers type it into their browser that it brings them to you, not someone else.
Yours: Finished Work
Talk to your web design team to ensure that your final agreement with the agency clearly outlines what your permissions are as you move forward.
Not Yours: Browser & Database
Internet browsers are software programs such as Chrome, Firefox or Safari, and databases may be Microsoft Access, Oracle, etc. It makes sense that these two support systems are tools (or gateways for your site) rather than ownable commodities.
At Thrive Internet Marketing Agency, we can help you create and get the most out of your online presence while helping you manage your rights as a website owner. Contact us to learn how we can design you a professional website that will fill all of your business’ needs.