It’s the start of a typical Tuesday as you sit at your desk casually sipping your double mocha Frappuccino and begin your morning routine. No new emails? Something’s up because you get at least 46 newsletters by now. You check Facebook next without a problem, so the network isn’t down. You visit your website but see a strange error page. Panic ensues. What’s happening? Who can fix it?
You have no idea your domain name just expired. You might think this scenario sounds a little far-fetched, but we know this happens every day. Why? Because many businesses don’t have a clue when their domain is up for renewal, or where it’s registered, or who has the username and password. Sound familiar? We hope not, but you are reading this for a reason.
So, how can this disaster be averted? By merely keeping documentation of your essential online vendors and the corresponding usernames, passwords, and email addresses associated with the accounts. We’re going to make things easy for you by providing a short punch list of the top digital credentials to maintain.
Your company website is one of the most important pieces of property to protect. From domain name, DNS to hosting and your CMS platform, these different login credentials need to be managed for a website to remain live, updated, and secure. In some cases, these digital credentials could be attached to one login with a provider like Godaddy.com, who does all of the back-end management for a company site.
Domain Registrar – Your company’s domain is your unique identifier that can be typed into a browser to display a website. It must be purchased by a domain registrar such as Godaddy.com or Domain.com.
Domain is not a onetime purchase, and domain registration must be renewed on an ongoing basis. Losing your domain login credentials could cause your domain registration to lapse and allowing others to purchase your business’s domain. Domain registrars vary on what renewal terms they offer, but the minimum for everyone is one-year increments, and the maximum term can’t exceed ten years.
DNS – When we look up or search for a website, we just type in the designated URL. (ex. www.proximitymarketing.com)
DNS (Domain Name System) allows the easy–to–remember URL to be used for a website instead of its more complex IP address which will identify the site.
When a domain is purchased, you must set up its DNS records. This allows for email hosting and other services to be used with the domain. Your DNS records are stored by a DNS hosting provider, most commonly provided by the domain name registrar used to make the purchase such as GoDaddy, SiteGround or Network Solutions.
Hosting – When your business has its domain name ready, now you need space on the web for the site. Web hosting service companies provide space on a server so a website can be viewed on the internet. Godaddy.com, Siteground.com are a few examples of hosting companies (fun fact: they are also domain registrars and DNS providers)
Larger organizations may host their own site, but smaller businesses tend to work with hosting organizations due to reliability, security, and overall lower cost than the equipment and maintenance needed for in-house web hosting.
Web hosting services are often purchased on a month to month basis like a subscription. As time goes on, businesses can grow, having access to web hosting credentials is vital because needs change. A business needs to be able to access and make changes, such as level of bandwidth, storage, or in some instances, settings for email.
CMS Platform – Many businesses use a Content Management System (CMS platform) to support the creation and modification of their website. WordPress, the most popular of CMS platforms, accounts for 25% of the world’s websites.
Digital credentials for a CMS or other web development platform are imperative because regular management and updates are necessary. If your website is going to be used as an extension of a sales force, as a marketing tool or for lead generation, it should be actively updated. Sites are not meant to be just digital business cards, and they shouldn’t be set up and forgotten.
A well-designed digital marketing strategy will almost always include a social media presence. Outside of your website, social media accounts like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are excellent ways to grow your brand, distribute content, and have interactions with prospects and customers.
One unique challenge when it comes to social media accounts, in comparison to those accounts tied to running a website, is business accounts on social media are first established with someone’s personal social account. This can lead to a level of difficulty when maintaining digital credentials, especially when these business pages can be created by employees who leave your company. Ownership issues can come into play, and social media platforms aren’t always the best at conflict resolution, responsiveness, and customer service issues.
Facebook – A Facebook company page can be an excellent asset for any business. Its combination of content distribution, customer interaction/reviews, and paid advertisement can help enterprises to flourish.
Setting up a business page must be done through a person’s personal account, adding a level of complexity. Often a marketing employee might create your business page, but you should consider setting up a personal business account or using the business owners’ credentials. After the page is set up from a business owner’s account, administrative access can be granted to other individuals.
LinkedIn – LinkedIn, a social network for professionals, has advantages for a business. It can be great for recruiting new employees, targeting prospects via paid advertisement, or finding leads for B2B companies.
With a similar business page structure to Facebook, management must be done via a personal account. Creating an account via an employee’s own page could lead to access and management issues later.
Twitter – Like other social media accounts, Twitter can be an excellent way to reach your audience. Many companies garner a large following and use Twitter for advertising and real-time customer service.
Unlike Facebook and LinkedIn, Twitter accounts do not need to be linked to someone’s personal page. This allows for less complexity when establishing a business account. All that is necessary for registration is an email and once set, account information can be available to all necessary parties involved in regular use of social accounts.
How to Avoid Digital Credential Issues
The best way to manage and control digital credentials is to have a plan in place to ensure proper use and management of these valuable assets. Before any accounts are created, whether for a website or social media, have a protocol established to ensure no account is made without proper documentation (a centralized post-it note system is better than nothing).
What’s slightly better than an elaborate web of post-it notes is a document, spreadsheet or page on a company file system, cloud storage or Evernote account. Equally important is not to forget where this document is located. To help you through your quest for digital organization, we’ve created a quick downloadable cheat sheet. Now go download It!