In this day and digital age, you would be hard-pressed to find a successful business that does not have a functional and attractive website. For funeral homes (or any business for that matter), a website makes it easier to educate your target audience about who you are, what you do and the services you offer.
While carving out your space on the Internet comes with countless advantages, there are also a variety of risks associated with taking your business online and it’s something we see funeral homes go through each and every day. The good news is, these risks can be avoided with a little bit of knowledge. Let’s cover just one of the most common risks that companies turn a blind eye to: domain ownership.
Take a minute and ask yourself, who owns your funeral home domain? The answer may not be as simple as you think.
The domain or domain name of your website is essentially the identity of your page, and will look something like www.yourbusiness.com. It is how people find you online and is what makes your business stand out among all of the other funeral home websites out there. Every domain has a registrant who, by definition, is the owner or holder of the domain. So, how do you make sure your firm is protected?
Make sure your domain is registered by the company or owner of the business, not an employee or website administrator.
Unfortunately, employees can come and go. Website administrators can be here today and gone tomorrow. What happens to your domain if one of these people have it registered in their name? Well, let’s just say it’s not pretty. The domain host (such as GoDaddy.com) doesn’t always care who you say you are over the phone. The person listed as the registrant (just like you with a next of kin to a family) is the person they will take orders from. And if that is not you and you cannot get that person on the phone to help, it can be a real headache. So, let’s make sure that doesn’t happen to you.
Ideally the registrant should be the company or owner and not an employee or website administrator in order to guarantee that ownership of the domain is retained now and in the future. Having the wrong person as the registrant can be a costly and complicated situation. In some unfortunate cases it can result in legal fees, extensive amounts of time and having to build an entirely new website and new domain.
Why do you need to take this step for proper domain registration?
Often, when business owners believe themselves to be the owner of a particular domain, it is in actuality owned by someone else. The registrant could be a current or former employee, a website development firm or an individual who originally built and registered the site. This is not always problematic. Most people and businesses operate in good faith and would have no issue with transferring ownership of a domain if requested. However, that is not always the case and we have witnessed it many times with businesses holding our client’s domain name hostage. My advice is this: there is no reason your domain name should be in anyone else’s name but your own. This is why you see a technical and administration contact on the domain name as well. You should ALWAYS be the registrant of your domain.
With increasing competition for calls among funeral homes, it is important that all of your online assets are fully functional and protected from threat. Regardless of who you deem to be trustworthy right now, the future cannot be predicted. Any number of disagreements, issues with employment or personal grievances can cause people to act irrationally. The last thing you want is for a former employee or web developer to have total control over your website, the cornerstone of your business.
How do you find out who the registrant of your funeral home’s domain is?
The first step to protecting yourself from the problems of domain ownership is finding out who the registrant is for your business’s website identity. WHOIS, is a service that allows you to look up the information of a certain domain. This will provide contact information and insight into the ownership of any domain you have concerns about or would like to simply check on; whether it is the one you believe yourself to own or a domain you are researching for purchase. Once you discover who the registrant is, you can plan your next steps. If you or your funeral home is the registered owner, then you are good to go! If someone else legally owns it, then make sure you take the right steps to transfer ownership.
How do you assume ownership?
Step 1: You want to ensure that the name of the registrant matches the full legal name of you or your funeral home/death care services company.
Step 2: You will want to change your account passwords so that you and only those whom you designate can access the information. These credentials should be kept in a private file and hard copy, each stored in a separate secure location. You may think this sounds like a lot, but as I mentioned before, there is no shortage of measures that can be taken to keep your business safe.
What steps can I take to protect my registration further?
If you want to take further safety measures for your registration, consider using a privacy service. These firms exist for the purpose of protecting your domain registration information from public inquiry or anyone who may have malicious intent for your business. In addition, you can build clauses into employee agreements that protect your ownership over any domain related to your business.
Let’s Sum it All Up So You Are 100% Protected!
You want to be a success story in the funeral industry, not a cautionary tale. To recap, start by identifying the legal registrant of your domain name using WHOIS. If it is not you or your business, take measures to transfer ownership. That way your funeral home website, and most importantly its safety, is never threatened by employee turnover or other unexpected bumps in the road. It is unfortunate that such things must be considered. However, it’s the cost of doing business in the increasingly technology dependent modern world.
If you need help, we’re here to help you. Simply contact a FrontRunner rep at 1-866-748-3625 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you determine who the owner of your domain is.
Brandon is the Marketing Communications Manager at FrontRunner Professional. He holds a Social Sciences degree from McMaster University and a Graduate Certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications from St. Lawrence College. His creative writing and innovative ideas bring new life to the company, FrontRunner’s clients and funeral directors world-wide.