Frequently Asked Questions
Or even infrequently asked. Let us know if you have a question that isn’t answered here.
Let’s discuss domain names
Why do I need a domain name?
Think of a domain name as the address where folks will find you on the internet. Like this site – you got here via www.musopi.com. Nobody will find you without your address.
How do I get a domain?
Domains must be obtained via a registrar – there are many to choose from. If you’re buying our base package the price is included, but you still need to select one… the trick is to find one which is not already taken!
Where can I find my domain?
Most registrars let you search names to see if it’s already taken. You can use Dreamhost for this – unless the name you want is something unique, it may already be taken. You can always play with the name until you have something that’s available, or you can choose another suffix. If you’re buying our package and you find an available name you want, do not buy it! Just let us know the name and we’ll buy it for you.
What is a domain suffix?
A suffix is the part of the name after the period… so, for musopi.com, the suffix is .com. Back in the early days, .com (short for commercial) was the most common… there were far fewer suffixes. Now there are lots and lots to choose from. So, for example, if MyGreatBusiness.com isn’t available perhaps MyGreatBusiness.biz is. I recommend you take a minute to click the link above and read the wiki page on domain suffixes… you don’t want to use .gov or .mil for example.
Do I own my domain forever?
‘Buying’ a domain name is a bit of misnomer – you’re really just leasing it. When you claim a name you’re signing a lease for a specified period, typically one to five years. During that time nobody else can use the name. If you renew the lease when it’s up, then the name is yours to use for the duration of the new lease. If you choose to not renew (or heaven forbid, forget to renew it!) then someone else can claim it. Typically your registrar will give you plenty of advance notice that your lease is expiring.
What if I already have a domain?
If you already leased your domain, then great! We can use it. You just need to edit the DNS configuration with your registrar and add the name server info we provide to you.
A few words about e-mail
What about e-mail?
It’s a given that everyone with a computer uses email, but there are many different ways to go about it. Free e-mail, branded e-mail, webmail vs local e-mail clients, mobile email clients… there is a lot of ground to cover here. The bottom line though is that you can’t run a remote business without it.
What is branded e-mail?
Branded email uses an address with your domain name, for example firstname.lastname@example.org. This links your communication to your business presence in the customers’ mind. It also adds the perception of legitimacy. The downside is that if you have another primary email address, you now have two (or more) email sources to manage.
Do I have to use branded e-mail?
Nope, not at all. Plenty of folks are still using Gmail, Hotmail or other free email service. The caution here is to use something which presents your business in a positive and professional light… email@example.com isn’t going to cut it (apologies to hotchick89 if that happens to be a real address…) You can also choose to create a new Gmail (for example) address for your business if you want to continue to use their service. Many people do and there’s nothing wrong with that.
I’m going to mention AOL here… I’m not knocking their service but it’s very dated. Recently I saw a plumbing truck with their AOL e-mail address plastered on the side and my first thought was ‘wow, that company has been around since the 90’s!’
What's an e-mail client?
An e-mail client is any platform you use to access and manage your messages. Could be a browser like Chrome or Firefox which talks to the host servers, or a program like Outlook or Thunderbird which is installed locally on your computer and downloads messages from the host server. They both accomplish the same thing, but go about them differently. When you use a browser all your mail is located on the host servers – you’re just accessing them remotely. When you use Outlook, for example, it links to the server long enough to receive any incoming messages and send any outgoing. A copy of all mail is kept locally on your computer, which can be good for working offline. The client can be configured to delete mail on the server after an interval (30 days, perhaps), or you can choose to leave it in both places.
The ‘how’ of e-mail is less important than the ‘what’, which is that you have a professional address you use for client communication.
What about mobile e-mail?
Most of us appreciate and/or require the convenience (and sometimes annoyance) of having our email in our pocket at all times. You can use the built-in mail app on your phone to talk to the mail servers, or you can install an app to manage it, such as the mobile Gmail app. The takeaway here is that mobile mail can be configured to communicate with the mail servers used by DreamHost, our preferred hosting platform.
Can I integrate e-mail marketing?
You may want to integrate some form of e-mail address capture and management with your site, like MailChimp or MailerLite. We can do this, but it wouldn’t be included in the basic package as it requires extra customization.
What is web hosting all about?
Why do I need a hosting company?
In order for visitors to find you, your site needs to be visible on the internet. A hosting company keeps all the bits and pieces of your website on their servers and serves them up for visitors.
All hosting companies are NOT the same. We chose DreamHost as they are independently owned with a quality reputation and years of experience.
What happens after the first year?
When you buy a site package from us it includes a one-year lease on your domain name and one year of website hosting. When that year is up you can either renew the domain lease and pay the hosting fee, or have us do it via a maintenance plan. Don’t worry… the annual domain name lease and hosting fees are typically under $100 USD.
WordPress & other miscellaneous topics
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a CMS, or Content Management System. It’s a website platform with a back-end database which allows it to store all kinds of data. WordPress powers approx. 35% of the sites on the internet and that number is growing. It’s also the platform we use for your site so you’re in good company!
What is a WordPress plugin?
A plugin is a piece of drop-in code which installs on a WordPress site to perform a specific task or add a desired function. For example, a popular free plugin I use is The SEO Framework which allows your site to be optimized for search engines.
There are thousands of free plugins out there, but like the old saying goes… you get what you pay for. Sometimes. By that I mean there are some poorly-maintained free plugins out there, which is a false economy. If there is an affordable plugin you can purchase which does a better job than a buggy old free one, then it’s usually worthwhile to pay a few bucks to get the best.
The WordPress platform is updated frequently so if the plugin developers don’t keep up, their plugin can become unreliable or completely non-functional. It’s quite common for really good, well-maintained free plugins, like The SEO Framework, to offer a paid or ‘Pro’ version as well. This typically adds features and functionality over and above the free version. And because developers need to eat too!
The bottom line is that if we install a plugin on your site we are confident it’s solid, reliable and well-maintained – we do the research. Because a badly-behaving plugin can not only fail to fulfill its intended task, it can slow down your entire site.
Why would a plugin not be compatible?
Sometimes a plugin is overkill. I’ll give you an example – ‘caching’ is a term you’ll hear when discussing website performance. A cache is nothing more than keeping a copy of something (page, image, text, etc.) available to visitors which can be served up much more quickly then making a round-trip visit to the database for that info.
There are multiple caching plugins available for WordPress. However, the DreamHost platform has its own built-in caching capabilities so installing a second caching system can actually slow things down. For this reason caching plugins are not compatible (and prohibited) with DreamHost.
Can I have ads on my site?
The short answer is yes, but we charge extra for that. You do need a free Google Adsense account but we can insert the dynamic ads for you to monetize your site.
Home page or landing page - what's the difference?
A home page is the showroom of your site – it’s where you greet visitors. A landing page has a more specific purpose – to convert a visitor to a client or customer via an offer or other incentive. Usually a landing page contains only the information the visitor needs to determine whether your offer is worth claiming.
What is SSL and why do I want it?
SSL certificates create an encrypted connection and establish trust. One of the most important components of managing a website is creating a trusted environment where potential customers feel confident in the experience. SSL certificates create a foundation of trust by establishing a secure connection. To assure visitors their connection is secure, browsers provide visual cues that we call EV indicators – anything from a green padlock to branded URL bar.
What is a 'nulled plugin' and why are they bad?
The term ‘nulled’ refers to a premium WordPress plugin or theme which contains modified code designed to cause harm or collect information. These are downloaded from a third-party website (not the original author or creator) and are sometimes made to work without a license key.
So if you run across an ‘unlocked’ version of a premium plugin from an unknown source, the temptation might be to use it since it’s ‘free’. However, chances are high it will lead to grief for your site down the road… anything from collecting metrics to introducing an attack vector – such as allowing someone to create an unauthorized admin account. Once they have that, they own your site.
So the old rule applies – if something seems too good to be true…
I'm not great at writing - can I get help with my copy?
For those of us who struggle with writing, creating website copy might seem like pushing a truck uphill, in the snow, against the wind, with no gloves. If this sounds like you there are a bunch of professional writers online who would happily help with that. I can recommend Copy By Heather – she is experienced and will treat you right.
Do I need a site backup?
You don’t need a backup, until you do. We have all heard tales of unspeakable horror where people lost years of work, data and photos when their computer hard drive failed. That’s because all hard drives eventually fail. Period. The only question is when. So that’s why we all religiously back up our important stuff to another device, right?
Websites on a hosted platform are much more secure as they typically maintain multiple levels of redundancy. But they don’t back up your site for you. Which means that if something bad happens (website hack, cosmic rays, whatever) you’ll want to be able to quickly get back to where you were. The best way is to simply restore from a backup.
I'm sold - how to I back up my site?
All our sites come pre-installed with a backup plugin which creates a full image of your site and copies it to the destination of your choice, be it Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive, or others. It’s self-contained and you own it. The backup can be scheduled to run either immediately, or automatically at an interval of your choice… weekly, monthly, etc. We install the plugin but you need to log into your admin portal and take a minute to configure it… you don’t want to give your G-Drive credentials to anyone. Don’t worry… it’s not difficult.
Can I use Google Analytics on my site?
GA is a great way to monitor and qualify your site traffic, and the answer is yes! It’s fairly simple to set up a link between GA and your site, but you do need a free Google Analytics account first. We can also use other traffic-monitoring sites such as StatCounter… just let us know.
What's a solopreneur?
Solopreneur is a mixture of two words, Solo and Entrepreneur. It means that you are an entrepreneur that prefers to work alone or solo. The Solopreneur Institute defines a solopreneur as:
“An entrepreneur who prefers the freedom to run a business without any w-2 employees.”
How can I get a logo?
Logos are one of those ‘nice to have’ things – they’re not essential, but they are a nice way to brand your business. You can pay someone like LogoWorks to design one for you, or you can take the DIY approach and do it yourself. We can’t be too specific in this regard but if you use your favorite search engine (looking at you, Google and DuckDuckGo.com) you can look for ‘create free logo’ and you’ll be rewarded with lots of results.
*Pro Tip: check out Canva and Wix as they have some good resources for this.