So the question is, what is digital documentation and do I need to know about it? The answer to this question is a very big YES. You do need to know about it.
First of all to clarify, in this instance I am talking about digital documentation of everything pertaining to your online presence. Do you know if your website and domain are in your name? You may think well yes I paid my website developer for these things! But are they truly yours? If you do not have any way to access to your domain name or your website hosting administrative area, then chances are these may be in the name of your website design person or business that did the work for you. The problem with this, is that if you ever want to change companies, cannot contact your website design person (which happens way more often than people know) or have a conflict with the company that created your website, you have no proof of ownership, no access via email and essentially no rights to your domain or website.
Now let me clarify. The majority of website design people out there are very reasonable and will release the information to you and update the ownership so you can access your domain name and website but there have been times when it has taken me months to help my client to secure their domain and or website from the previous designer. So how do you find out this information?
There are a couple ways to check to make sure you own and have access to your domain and website if you don’t know. First check with your website design person. Ask them for
- your username and password for your domain name
- the name of the domain registrar
- your hosting company name
- your username and password for your hosting account.
If your website design company cannot give you this information, then chances are that none of this information is is your name. Ask them to please confirm your domain is in your name with your email address attached to it for all renewal notices. This way nothing gets missed by you. At the end of the day you are responsible for your domain and ownership can only be verified if it is in your name.
Ask your website design company if your website is being backed up off the server on a regular basis so you have a hard copy in case it ever crashed or was hacked.
Of course you should also keep your social media usernames and passwords all in the same place so you can update or look them up as needed.
Once you have all this information in place, put it in a document and print a copy of it in a file folder marked Website documents. You never know when you will need them.
Please feel free to download this Word document as a reference: template
If you need help with this process, I also can assist you with digital documentation for your records.