Delegation is one of the most important qualities of a great manager, but confusingly enough, I’ve also seen it act as the downfall for many others. So what separates these two groups? A great manager knows that delegation is never an excuse to be uninformed. The management details of your website are exactly the type of information you should have control over. The easy mistake of relying entirely on a web designer or a content developer for your site’s information can allow small problems to spiral into unnecessarily time-consuming ordeals. Thankfully, the knowledge you need in order to responsibly organize and maintain your website is relatively basic and easy to learn. Here’s what you need to know:
1. Domain Registration Login Information
Let me reassure you that there’s no shame finding yourself in a situation where you don’t know the domain of your website or the other two types of information we’re going to cover. It’s not a good situation, but the reality is that it happens. It’s a common practice to leave the development details entirely to your web designer and defer to them whenever you need information. However, if you suddenly need to manage or fix a problem on your site, it’s a long and unreliable process to reconnect with a web designer who’s busy on new projects or who you’ve parted ways with. Regardless of how it happened, it’s impossible to make any further changes or improvements to your site without those credentials. So with these basics established, let’s dive right into how you can regain this information and organize your credentials.
Domain registration login information, thankfully, it’s a concept that’s much simpler than it sounds. Very plainly, it’s the location of where you bought the domain for your website. This was likely achieved through a domain and web hosting service such GoDaddy, Dotster, or Network Solutions. There are two ways you can find out:
Search/Organize Your Email
What you want to find is the account where you can renew and manage your domain name. The organization you pay to maintain your website is where you’ll find the credentials. More often than not, you can find payment or account correspondence from the company in your emails allowing you to quickly login and view your information.
If your website domain was bought by someone else, it will then be under a different account and unlikely to find in your email. We strongly recommend that you always pay for your website domain yourself or at the very least have the account in your name. Save that information! The good news is that even in this case there are still options available. If you type your domain name into a free service called Whois Lookup it will tell you the registrar information for that domain.
2. Hosting Credentials
If we think of your domain registration as the address given to you by the post office, then hosting information is the land your house is built upon. As in the case of your domain registrar, it is essential knowledge for any changes, bug fixes, or further improvements you’d like to make to your website. Hosting information can be succinctly divided into two categories. First, you have your account information which allows you to renew and update hosting preferences. And secondly, you have FTP/Secure FTP Information. Let’s break it down a little bit further. Your hosting account is the username, password, and web address for your site, whereas the FTP allows you access to the physical files of your site. You can retrieve both of these tools through two easily connected steps:
Along with your domain registrar, a Whois Lookup will also provide you with the DNS servers for your site. Usually coming in a pair, these two location pointers will generally begin with the characters NS1 or DNS1.
You will then place these addresses into a Google search bar with the phrasing, Where is (insert DNS address)? This will tell you the host company of the address after which you may retrieve the credentials. We recommend that you copy down all of the information in a Google or Word doc and verify that it’s secure.
3. Administrative Accounts
The last thing I want to discuss may or may not apply to your site, but regardless, it’s helpful information to keep in mind. If you use a content management system for your website such as WordPress or have an email account linked to your website, you may have experienced the awkward situation of control being unequally distributed across different accounts/individuals. You want to make sure that you grant yourself administrative privileges in both of these examples.
What do administrative privileges look like for a content management website? Well, it will give you control over backing up your site, adding plugins, or general management for your website. It will even allow you to place safeguards on what you can and can’t do for your website (i.e. accidentally deleting your website ¦ Yes, it happens). Long story short, they’re all preferences that you don’t want to be waiting on someone else’s approval. We strongly recommend creating two logins. Set one with admin privileges and then you can easily create another login with different oversight for your content editors.
Lastly, what does an administrative account look like for an email? If your website provides you with an email address, then an administrative account will allow you to delete users, set up new emails, aliases, change quotas, filters, etc. Again, having access to these will simply eliminate variables and allow you to act in the event you need edits quickly. Note that occasionally, this will all be handled separate from the host website and will go through an email service instead such as Gmail or Microsoft 365.
In closing, the one takeaway I must stress the most is that you immediately save all of your website information once it has been collected. Again, your safest bet is to do so in a Word document where only you are able to access it offline and at any time. If you wake up on a Monday morning to find that your website is down, the sooner you are able to act the better. Having that information at hand and ready for a consultant or web designer to fix your website is crucial. The steps and preparedness we’ve covered can make the difference between being back up in a few hours and being down for multiple days or even weeks. Trust us, you’ll be happy you’re out of the dark on this one.
1. Take Control of Maintaining Your Website
2. Provide Yourself With Admin Privileges
3. Save and Organize All of Your Information Securely
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