Who is Controlling Your Business Online?

Google recently announced some upcoming changes to their Third-Party Policy, the most notable point of this is that all customers should have access to their Google accounts and all of its products, regardless of whether the service is provided and managed by a third party. It throws up an important question for your business’ online profile – do you have access to everything?

There’s plenty of companies out there who will help you out with your online marketing which is great, but what happens if something goes wrong or you decide to manage it in-house? Without having the correct access it can be incredibly difficult to regain control and you risk losing that account.

Your Check List

Below are the most crucial access details you should have, if you don’t have access to any of them, then speak to whoever is managing it on your behalf.

  • Social Media Accounts (Twitter/ Facebook/ LinkedIn etc)
    Even if you don’t actively manage your social media and a 3rd party takes care of it all, it’s important you have the login details available. If something was to happen to the 3rd party company and you don’t have access, you may not be able to carry on with those accounts and risk losing all of the effort gone into building a following up. Facebook business pages and LinkedIn companies have to be created under a personal account login, so if they didn’t use your personal profile to create the page, ensure that they add you as an admin.
  • Google Account(s) – this should cover all applicable Google products (Analytics/ Adwords/ Webmaster Tools)
    All of Google’s products are tied under a Google Account login – if all of your services have been provided by one company then ideally they should have set everything up under the one login. Marketing companies commonly set all of their clients up under their account, this makes it easier for them to manage but it also means that you can never have full access. Ideally, they should set everything up under a Google Account unique to your business. Google doesn’t currently allow products (analytics etc) to be transferred to other accounts, so if you don’t have access you may need to start all over again and lose any historic data.
  • Domain Name
    Access to your domain name and having control over its DNS Settings (where the domain points too) is critical. If you choose to develop a new website, you will need to change these settings in order to keep the same domain running, also your website provider/ hosting supplier may need to make changes occasionally.
    There are also legal factors to consider with your domain name, they should be registered using your name and business details, it can be problematic if it is taken out with another business’ details. Another reason to have your domain names under your control is that they need to be renewed (or you can set an auto-renewal up) but if the person managing your domain disappears, this could mean that the domain expires and your website will stop working until it is re-purchased or a new domain is attached.
    Domain names can be transferred, but it’s not always an easy process, so it’s always best practice to register a domain name under your own account with a trusted registrar (such as 123-REG), if a company insists they must do it for you – beware.

  • Your website content management system

    Depending upon the platform your website has been built on, it may have a content management system which allows you to login and amend/ maintain the site without the need for a programmer. Having the access details and relevant knowledge of how to manage the site by yourself can be cost-effective in the long run, as additional costs won’t be incurred by having to get your website provider to make all of the changes. It also makes it easier for you to keep the site up to date as you don’t have to wait for a third party to implement the changes every time.
    If your website platform doesn’t allow you to manage it easily yourself, then talk to us about the websites we develop using the flexible Drupal platform

If you’re considering outsourcing any of your online marketing to a third party, get things started on the right foot and ask for details upfront, or even better, get the accounts created under your name/ email address so you always have control.

We always recommend caution when employing a third-party company to manage your marketing and/ or SEO, unfortunately there are a number of ‘experts’ out there who charge a lot of money for not a lot of work. Check them and their advice out before signing any contracts and have a clear idea of what they intend to do for you

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