by Gillette Vaira
July 1, 2020
Gillette Vaira, Content/Social Media Strategist
Picture it: You’ve been working with an agency to host your website, and you’ve decided to terminate services. However, the agency is refusing to hand over your website files. They say if you stop working with them, they’ll pull your website – including your data and analytics – leaving you without access. You can either stay with them or build a new website from scratch, which will hurt your SEO rankings.
Don’t let this be you. Here’s what you need to know.
Copyright law states that the legal owner of the website design and content is the website creator. This means that you are given a license to use your website after the agency creates it, but you don’t own the website unless your contract states that you do.
What you can’t own
- Your domain name: The address of your website is your domain name. If you’re using a hosting provider, like GoDaddy, you’re paying them to have exclusive rights to use your domain name.
- Web hosting: Web hosting is where your website files are stored. If your agency tells you hosting is included, this could mean that you’re leasing space on their proprietary platform and that you don’t own the site.
- The content management system: This is a system that manages your web content, such as WordPress.
What you can own
- Design, content, and visuals: These assets make up your website, so make sure your contract includes that you own them. If the web designer writes content, ensure the contract names you as the owner.
- Work with your attorney to check that your web design contract states the website design, content, code, and analytics belong to you – not the web agency. Also, be sure there is a clause that states that ownership transfers to you upon the completion of the project.
- Watch out for companies who sell cheap, monthly services, as they may own your website instead of you.
At Rebel River Creative, we empower our clients to own their websites. A website is a business investment, and if you ever leave, you take your site with you. That’s our service guarantee.