If you own a business you probably have a website. You also more than likely use a plethora of online platforms to manage, market, and measure your online activities. If I asked you right now if you have all the administrative logins to those accounts, could you answer yes?

I thought not.

It happens all the time. We begin conversations with a client about a new website, social media, or paid search campaign only to find out that the client doesn’t have access to their own properties and accounts. Without you having access, our hands are tied. 

Sometimes a previous employee was the person who set up the account and left with the passwords. Oftentimes it’s just assumed that somebody else in the company holds the passwords and logins. Either way, it’s usually a long and painful exercise to locate the person with the account logins and passwords; an effort that could easily be avoided if you maintain ownership of your online properties from the start, and have strict protocols in place for managing passwords and logins. 

So today I’m here to remind you to take the time right now to ensure that you have access and ownership of your online properties before you need them, and most importantly before you lose them.

A bit about domains and hosting

When you started your business you probably registered a domain and purchased hosting for a website. Domains and hosting are typically purchased for a set period of time and should renew automatically if you have set up the registrar and hosting accounts to do so (and your credit card on file is up to date!).

Domain registration is leasing a human-readable word (i.e., musemarketinggroup.ca) that directs people to specific website files via a browser. Web hosting is an account on a computer (aka server) that can store and serve website files via the Internet.

As an analogy, your domain is your “address” on the Internet. Hosting is the “land” or space where your website files live. Your website is residing on a rented space and in order to access it, you need to have the keys.

The keys are your account logins. Sometimes domains and hosting are purchased from a single provider, like GoDaddy.ca. If that’s the case, you need a single username and password to access your account. Sometimes a domain is registered in one place and the hosting at another. If that’s the case you need access to both. If you are the business owner, the login credentials should be associated with your business email address so that you hold the master key.

Your online properties are more than just your website.

If you’re like most small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) you have branded social media accounts, a Google My Business account, and you might have some kind of email marketing tool like Mailchimp. You might use a social management tool, a content management tool and you quite likely have a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool. All of these accounts and platforms require login credentials. If you use these tools in your daily business, you should have the keys. If it’s not you, then you should at least have a Password Management System to protect this sensitive information. 

One of the most effective and FREE online properties available to you right now is your Google My Business (GMB) listing. Not surprisingly, it’s also the one that creates the most headaches for SMBs. The hierarchy of users for GMB accounts is Primary Owner, Owner, Manager and Site Manager. And while you can add an unlimited number of users to your account, there can only be one Primary Owner. Unfortunately, most people don’t have any idea who created the listing, to begin with, and that person is the Primary Owner unless they delegate it to someone else. 

Take a minute to log into your Google Business listing and check to see if you’re the Primary Owner.

Social media can be a bit tricky. Different platforms offer different ways to allow users to interact. Twitter remains the sole platform that offers one username and password, so if you’ve provided that login information to staff or volunteers over the years and have not changed the password lately, there are people out there right now with the ability to delete your Twitter account, or worse.

Facebook Pages allow you to add and remove people that work on the account via their Page Role hierarchy of administrators, editors, moderators, advertisers, and analysts. You can add and remove people that work on the account, as long as you are the Admin. And similar to GMB, there can only be a single page owner. 

Log in to your company Facebook page now and see if that’s you!

My rant about Google Ads Service Providers

We’ve seen it a dozen times: a client comes to us for an online marketing campaign. They believe they have a Google Ads account because they previously worked with a service provider that ran Google Ads for them. When we ask to be invited to manage their account they find they no longer have access to their account. They’ve been locked out. The historical data and time that was put into refining the ads, gathering metrics, and learning about your audience are now lost, and creating a new Google Ads account means starting from scratch. When you are looking for a digital marketing service provider, make sure that you ask the question upfront: “Will I own my Google Ads account after I cease to work with you?” If the answer is “No”, go somewhere else. 

And finally

At Muse Marketing Group, we believe that you should own and have administrative login for all of your online properties. We go to great lengths to ensure that our clients do. And while we don’t mind sleuthing and retrieving them for you, we want to remind you that your online properties are some of your most valuable assets. So don’t lose your keys!