Do you own your website?

Guest Post by Natalie Rose, NOVA Web Group

You might assume that since you paid to create your website, you own it. Chances are, you are wrong!

I’ve had several issues lately where clients don’t have complete access to their own site.

I am in the process of completely redoing a site for a client because the former web developer would not provide any access to the existing site. Don’t make this expensive mistake.

Do you have the website “keys”?

To truly control your website, you need the following:

  • Domain registrar name and login credentials
  • Web host login credentials
  • Website content management system (CMS) administrator credentials
  • A contract free from any language limiting your access or your ownership

The Complicated Rules of Ownership


One of the most common questions I get is “who owns my website domain?” Well, technically it’s not you. You won’t ever “own” your domain name. You pay a domain registrar a fee to obtain exclusive rights to it.

However, you can (and should) secure rights to it apart from your web design company. Be sure to register your domain(s) using your own account and name. Don’t let your web developer do this for you or they can wind up with the rights to the domain.


The HTML, CSS, and JavaScript used on your site is also a tricky issue. Many websites use similar scripts and open source code, so you don’t own those. However, you should retain control over your website’s specific CSS, HTML, and JavaScript files.

Likewise, many foundational elements of a website’s source code are open building blocks for most websites, making it almost impossible to guarantee 100% ownership. At the minimum, however, your developer should give you exclusive rights to your custom programming and any files associated with your code.

WordPress and other CMSs

You don’t own the CMS that your site uses. You can choose your CMS and ask your developer for a website that can be easily transferred from one CMS to another.

Web Developer Contract Checklist

  • Make sure you will own your website and the developer is not retaining any ownership rights.
  • Create your own hosting account and give your developer access, not the other way around. If hosting is included, it could mean that you’re leasing a spot on their proprietary platform and can’t take your site when you leave.
  • The contract should not have any ongoing leasing fees.

About the Author

Natalie Rose is the owner of NOVA Web Group. She is the technical lead the Kurtz Digital Strategy website development and maintenance team, allowing KDS to provide complete website solutions for small businesses.

6 Ways Small Business Owners Win with Email Marketing

Many are under the false impression that email is no longer an effective online marketing strategy. Wrong!

Email is one of the first–and still the best–digital marketing strategies for reaching and engaging with your audience. It continues to have an outstanding ROI – email generates $42 for every $1 spent, which is an astounding 4,200% ROI, according to the latest data from Hubspot.

If you don’t have an email marketing strategy, make this the year you develop one. If you have a email marketing effort underway, invest energy into refreshing the look and the content. Your time will be well spent.

Here are the top 6 things email marketing can do for you:

  1. Get your brand into the right inboxes. Set up a template that has a look and feel that puts your brand right where people spend much of their time online.
  2. Make you mobile. Email is one of the most commonly accessed services on mobile devices.
  3. Share your content. Email outreach is a great opportunity to share (and re-share) your best content shared online, giving your audience another chance to see it.
  4. Make you real. Email feels more personal and people respond to that. You can personalize the content and, for larger audiences, segment to target specific interests.
  5. Connect with your other marketing. Emails can connect users to your website, social channels, and any other place where you want to engage. It’s your launchpad to wherever you want to take people.
  6. Test ideas. Email is great place to test images, subject lines, content and more. Make changes and see what the data tells you. In fact, getting measurement data for email is built into most email marketing tools.

Free Images to Make Your Online Content Awesome

Content paired with images gets more attention online. Since most small business marketers do not have the resources or budget to create our own images, stock photo and image sites are valuable assets.

“Free” is never as easy at it seems. It can be confusing to know how you’re allowed to use the photos and what, if any, attribution is required. If you are like me and use images from several different sites, it can be a challenge to keep track of the rules and expectations of each.

The following sites offer free images for your use. All the sites offer photos under the public domain or the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. No attribution is required.

Images in the public domain are works with expired copyrights or the creators have relinquished all rights. These are free for personal and commercial use. A CC0 license means the owner has relinquished all rights to the work.

Free Image Sites