Building a site for business or personal reasons has become more accessible than ever before. With a variety of options for purchasing your domain and quickly building a site, the barriers to owning and operating a website are all but gone. Quite often, the first step in website ownership is to build it in house, but as your business grows, so do the demands for your website. This is when agencies can get involved to come alongside your business to build your site. Think of it like a contractor building a custom home; you provide the creative input and the contractor brings it to life.
Hiring an agency to build your site is an excellent option, but you must be careful to read the fine print of the terms of service. Businesses can unknowingly give away ownership of key areas of their website, locking them into a deal that may not work out for them later down the road. Here are three pieces of your website that you absolutely need to retain ownership of.
The most important part of your website to own is the domain. If you ever choose to move your website from one platform to another, domain ownership is needed to point toward the new design. Companies like GoDaddy are common options for purchasing a domain, plus they offer a variety of quick setup options to point that domain towards commonly-used platforms such as WordPress, Squarespace, or Wix. If you are going with an agency to build a website from scratch, be sure to ask who retains ownership of the domain, or even better, purchase the domain before approaching an agency.
Copy makes up the majority of your site content. You can choose to write this in house, but many agencies offer copywriting as an additional service. This is an attractive option if you or your team do not have the time to write copy for the whole site. If you decide to go this route, be sure to ask who owns the copy for the site. The website creator is the official “author” of the site, so be sure to include a transfer of ownership in any contract you sign.
- Creative Content (photos, icons, etc)
Any good website should contain a mix of high quality copy, photos, and icons. Many agencies use stock imagery in their site builds, which is a quick way to add some flair to a site. However, you need to have an understanding of the terms and conditions for places like Shutterstock and Canva if your agency uses photos from their catalog. Many licenses for these products are for personal use, and if an agency uses them on your site, you could be in violation of the licensing agreement. Make sure to confirm that your agency has the right license structure for stock imagery, or better yet, invest in taking your own photos to bypass the ownership problem entirely.
When building a new site or updating an existing one, it is vitally important to understand the ownership structure in place. At BloomMedia, all of our site builds are immediately transferred to our clients, meaning you retain all ownership rights after the build is complete. If you’re interested in a web build or redesign, give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more!