Many of us have been there. We want to plant a tree in the front yard or get another dog or paint our living room purple. But we rent and the landlord won’t let us do any of those things.
Your website is your organization’s online home. And for some, renting (as in going through one of the very simple proprietary website building services) is okay. But for many, especially small businesses and nonprofits, having control over your site’s design and content is important. And for those who are in any way controversial or political, it’s crucial.
To be clear, the only part of your website you actually OWN is the content (text, photos, graphics). Your domain is rented for a specific period of time. Unless you have spent a big chunk of cash on equipment, you’re renting server space from a hosting service. And the code that’s the foundation of your site is owned by the developers or, in the case of WordPress, by a nonprofit organization and they’re letting you use it – either for free or for a fee if you use a paid theme or paid plugins.
That said, having more control over your site is better. Here are some ways you can ensure you have the control you want – and need – over your website.
1. Buy your own domain. Yes, really you’re renting it for a time, but for that time it is yours. No one can take it from you or use it without your express permission. Also, it’s more professional to have a “real” domain that doesn’t have another business’s name in it.
2. Get your own web hosting account. There are many to choose from, with varied price levels and features. If you need help figuring out which is best, I can help you sort through the options. Just shoot me a message and we can set up a time to chat. There are many issues with proprietary services. I’ll get deeper into those in a future post.
3. Make sure you use royalty-free graphics. There are many free websites where you can download quality graphics and photos. I’ll have a post soon with a good list for you, but my two favorites are Pixabay and Free Range Stock.
4. Hire an ethical website builder who will walk you through your options and who will make sure you have all of the documentation and information you need to maintain control over your site.
5. Set up site security. A quality website designer, along with a reputable hosting service, will install software to keep hackers and spammers at bay.
Next up: Why WordPress is so amazingly cool.
Contact me today to talk more about any or all of these topics. The internet is still a vibrant forum for ideas and discussion, and for reaching a wide audience. I can help you take advantage of it!