Get your Digital Ducks in a row before it costs you time and money.

digital marketingOne of the more concerning trends we have seen lately is business owners who are not “in control” of their website. We understand that management of a company’s website and overall digital marketing does not generally fall to the CEO. However, it is imperative that the CEO knows who their digital marketing players are, what they manage and control and that the “keys” to the website are safe and well documented.

Example #1

You hire a new firm to help you with some digital marketing tactics such as website changes and maybe an AdWords program. Any good consulting and execution firm should do the following things:

  1. Look at your Google Analytics data to understand what has happened on the site in the last 6-12 months, how the site is performing and what types of goals or other things have been set up in the account to benchmark the program so that that you can see trends and differences in approaches.
  2. Set up new landing pages on the site that can be tracked for the new campaigns.
  3. Set up the AdWords program under your business account and tie it to your Google Analytics account.

But then this happens….

  • Your company discovers that the Google Analytics (GA) account was set up under a separate account owned by the original agency and it can’t be moved.
  • Worse, you don’t have a high enough level of access to the Google Analytics account to set up goals or make changes to the account.
  • Even worse, you discover that your AdWords account can’t be tied to the GA account because you don’t control your AdWords account. In fact, can’t even access it since the previous agency set up the account, so not only can’t you tie the two accounts together, you can’t even view the keywords, ads and stats from your AdWords campaigns.

So what happens next?

You either need to only work with the company that is controlling your Google Analytics account or you have to scrap the old account and lose your data. You can’t transfer your account (ask Google about this). Or you have to toggle back and forth between old and new accounts for reporting purposes.

I hear this story a lot and I hear the sound of time and money flying out the door because someone who was setting up and running the website for a company didn’t ask the right questions or trusted they were getting the right advice about how to set up the web presence tools.

Example #2

Your sales and marketing team is working really hard to build a new website for your company. You haven’t had a new one in a while (5+ years). And when it comes time to put the new site live, no one knows how to log into the DNS panel to redirect the URL to the new site. Then, when the company goes to the current web hosting company to ask them, they don’t get a response (because after all, that’s not the web hosting company’s problem) and they don’t receive any guidance or the correct information from their web hosting company about what to do next.

So what happens next?

  • The marketing and web strategy team spend hours and hours trying to sort out who has access to what and what needs to happen in the new hosting environment.
  • The technical teams don’t want to talk to each other because the questions they are being asked “are not my job” and the marketing team and project manager end up carrying the burden and blame when the new site can’t go live.

In order to get your Digital Ducks lined up, start by asking yourself these questions.

  • Where is your website hosted and what is the protocol if the website goes down?
  • What is included in your web hosting package? Are you just on a shared web server paying $9.99/month or is someone actively managing, updating and looking after your website?
  • Who owns the DNS protocol and access to the website on a server?
  • Who has access to make changes on the website – both content and development changes?
  • Who owns your domain name (URL)?
  • Who has access to your social media accounts?
  • Who has the power to redirect your IP?
  • Who has the control of your Google Analytics account?

Many business owners think they have a handle on this. However, more often than you would expect, they don’t. And when something happens, like putting up a new website, adding a new digital service or wanting to actively manage an overall web presence in order to improve inbound marketing and lead generation, you learn the hard way. You don’t have the keys to the car and time and money fly out the door.

To get your Digital Ducks in a row, read one of my older posts, Have you lost the keys to your digital marketing assets? and download the Digital Marketing Assets Access Management Template.