Occasionally Craig or I will receive a panicked email from a studio owner whose website has gone down. (We design websites specifically for dance studio owners, in case you’re not familiar with us!) Understandably, the studio owner might think the fault is ours, but it’s almost always a case of an expired domain name, aka: website address. The assumption is that since we design & host a studio’s website and provide e-mail assistance, we also maintain its domain name. That is often not the case.
To fix the issue and get the studio’s website back online, we confirm whether we manage the domain name or whether another person or company does so. We give this info to the studio owner, who then renews their website address as needed with the proper entity.
There is typically a grace period with the domain name company, so often, once the domain is renewed, the studio’s website automatically comes back online. If it’s been a while and the domain is no longer protected by a grace period, it’s a longer, more complicated process to bring the site back up.
This happens enough that it’s worth mentioning to all you studio owners out there! Can you answer the following question?
Do you know who maintains your domain name?
If you have a live, viewable dance studio website, then you already have a domain name. And one way or another, someone secured it for you.
You probably fall into one of these 3 categories:
- You secured your domain name yourself from a company such as GoDaddy.com or Network Solutions. If so (and if you don’t have it easily on hand), search out your login information. You can then access your account to check the status and expiration date of your domain name.
– or –
- A web designer or website design agency secured the domain name on your behalf. This is common, and normally fine. Contact the person or agency who originally secured your domain name with questions regarding its expiration date.
NOTE: If a nephew, ex-dance parent, or other non-professional created your website, you may have trouble getting the domain name info + help that you need. If this is your situation, I’d recommend transferring the domain name away from them so you can regain control of it. You’ll need their help to make the transfer, however, so either way you’ll need to reach out to them.
– or –
- You used a website builder (aka: website platform) such as Squarespace to build your own website. Often these companies offer a free custom domain, at least for the first year you use their service. Contact that company if you have questions about renewing or transferring your domain name.
Once you know who maintains your domain name, you can check its status. It’s an important thing to know, especially if your website has gone down unexpectedly!
Don’t know who maintains your domain name? Here's a way to check!
A “reminder reminder”, plus an important warning
Pay attention to those domain renewal reminders!
Now that you know who your domain name company is, keep your eye out for domain name renewal reminders from them.
When they send you a domain reminder, don’t hesitate – go ahead and renew immediately. You’re going to have to anyway, and delaying just increases the possibility of forgetting to do so. Forgetting to do so could result in your domain name lapsing and when that happens? Your dance studio’s website will go down, yikes!
A very important caveat!!
Your perfectly legit domain name company will alert you with plenty of time to renew your website address, which is great. What’s not great is that it’s super common to receive emails and even letters in the mail from scammers trying to get you to give them money under the guise of renewing or transferring your domain name.
Along with an official sounding name, their logo, invoice, phone number and web address may look very legit, but They Are Scammers. Don’t click on any email link from one of these companies, and definitely don’t send them any money! This really brings home the importance of knowing who controls your domain.
Pro-Tip – We use GoDaddy for our own domain name purchases, as well as the domains of some of our studio-owning clients. If I receive an email reminder to renew a domain, I don’t click on the link even if it looks like a legit GoDaddy email. Why takes chances? Instead, I open a fresh browser window and log into my GoDaddy account to do this task. I’d recommend you do likewise!
Knowing who maintains your domain name can give you peace of mind about your dance studio’s website. I hope this helps clear up any questions you may have about the topic.
If you have other questions or concerns about domain names, please let me know. You’re likely not the only one! I’m happy to put Q and A’s in a future Dance Studio Breakthrough blogpost.
Thanks, and best wishes!