One of the most important questions you can ask your website design company is; “Will I own my domain name and website?” Too many people that I talk to about this it seems like an obvious answer, however there are many circumstances where you may not own 1 or neither the domain name nor the website. This will vary greatly depending on the designer you are talking to, however it is important to get the answer to this question up front and in writing.

There are a few reasons why you may not own your website or domain name (url) including a website lease, website contract, or a template.

Website Lease

A website lease works very similarly to a car lease. The website designer my charge you a smaller amount or zero money up front, along with smaller monthly fee leaving them with the responsibility to cover the entire cost of building the site, as a result, you never own the website . Your upfront costs and marketing costs may be considerably lower while the company maintains ownership of the site.

Website Contract

A website contract is when you agree on upfront that after a certain amount of payments you gain full ownership of a website. This usually happens with website financing programs. If you go with this option, be sure to get clear instructions of how payments are made to the site and when you will own your website.

Website Template

A website template is when the company that you hire for your website gives you a pre-made website that is simply edited with your logo, phone number, and other company information. While a website design firm may offer you ownership of the template, there may be other websites that have the exact layout of your business.

Domain Ownership

Domain Names are usually owned by the business. Unfortunately, everyday companies find out that the company they hired to do their site is trying to claim ownership of the domain at end of their contract term. They ask for a “buy out” of the domain which can be as high as $100.  The only way to avoid any confusion with regard to your domain (URL) is to buy your domain yourself. Registrars like,,, and are all viable options to buy domain names.

Buy Your Own Domain and Pay For Your Website In Full

As a general rule of thumb, it is usually better to own your domain name and website. It may cost more upfront, but over the long run, it will be much less expensive. Another major reason why it is a great idea to own your website is that when you invest in internet advertising all of the work put into the site will be yours as well.

Let me explain.

Let’s say that you were to take out an ad in an online directory like Yellow Pages. You are investing $200 per month. Each month the online directory will be taking that money and investing in SEO, social media, or even pay per click to improve web traffic to their directory. In turn, you get traffic from them. The problem comes when you decide that you no longer want to advertise with the directory for whatever reason and they remove your ad. All of your exposure is lost, but all of the money that you have invested in your ad has gone to improve their web traffic. Traffic that they will continue to get once you leave.

However, what if you were to take that $200 per month and invest in your own website every month in SEO, social media, or pay per click? Every month your website would improve in traffic and relevance online. And if you ever decide to part ways with your internet advertising company you will still own your site and all of the work that has been done on your behalf will still be on your site. As a result, you will continue to make money with your website without being tied to a marketing company.

Hope this article helps you make your decision when trying to choosing if you should own your website and domain name. While there are many different reasons to build your own or lease a website, it is important to find out exactly what you are getting and why a website design company is building this type of site for you.  Browse our website for more SEO SEM tips to find out the best questions to ask a website design company.

Elite Web Professionals provide custom WordPress website designs to help you build your brand name while making it easy for you to provide information to your customers.  For information on how we can help you with your website needs, browse our WordPress website prices. We provide comprehensive website design, and internet advertising services to help you grow your business online.