Archive | Web Design

How to Register a Domain Name For Your Business

Below you’ll find step-by-step instructions for how to register a domain name for your business.  Click play on the video to watch me take you through the process.  Or, below the video you’ll find a summary of the steps in text format.  Be sure to leave a comment if you found this helpful.


A domain name is the name of your website, like  There are many sites where you can register a domain name, but be sure to use a company with a good reputation.  GoDaddy is one of the biggest companies.


Decide what you’d like your domain name to be.  If your business is primarily local, where people come to your store, you probably want to try to get your business name as the domain name, to build your brand.  For instance, if your business is “Joe’s Cakes”, you’d probably want to try to get “”, or if that’s not available, add your city name, such as “”.

If most of your business will be done online and your primary focus is to get people to your website, you might want to try to get a domain name that contains the keywords people might be searching for online to get to your site.  For instance, let’s say I had a business called “Todd’s Shoes” but I primarily sold the shoes online, and they were discount shoes, I might think of what people would be searching for who would be looking for what I offer.  So I might try something like,, or if those aren’t available,

Don’t be too surprised if the first domain name you search for is not available.  You’d be surprised how many domains are already registered.  But keep searching and you’ll find something that’ll work.  Sometimes they’ll offer to let you “backorder” domain names.  Don’t mess with that, it’s a waste of money.  It just means someone else already has the domain name you want and, if by some small chance at some point in the future they failed to renew it, you might have a shot at getting it.  But it’s not going to help you right now, and likely the domain will never become available and you will have wasted that money.  So I don’t recommend using that “backorder” option.

Once you find a domain you like, there should be a button to Continue or Checkout.  Be prepared to be upsold on tons of different add-ons.  In many cases you don’t need any of them.  And if you decide later that you do, you can always add them on later.  For instance, they’ll try to sell you hosting.  If you’re hosting your website somewhere else (and I’d recommend it), you don’t need to buy hosting from them.

So skip past all that stuff unless you see something you need.  You can choose the length of your registration.  If you’re not sure if this is the domain you’re going to use long term, or not sure if you’ll be doing this business more than a year down the road, you can choose 1 Year.  Otherwise, I’d recommend going with multiple years.  One reason is that some people feel it has a positive influence on how sites like Google view and rank your website.  Registering your domain for multiple years usually indicates you’re more serious about your business and likely to be around long term.  There is some debate about this and I’m sure it has minimal impact, but it’s just something to keep in mind.

When you’re on the checkout page, it’s good to look over things to make sure you didn’t accidentally add something to your cart that you didn’t mean to.

You’ll need to create an account if you don’t already have one.  One step a lot of people overlook is the step where you create your login name.  By default it’s just a bunch of numbers (which is your customer ID), which you’ll never remember, so it’s best to create a custom login ID.  Most of the other stuff they ask for is pretty standard.  One exception is a call-in PIN #.  This is just a 4-digit code that would be hard for someone else to guess, so that if you need help and call in for support, they can verify that you are the owner.  You don’t want anyone else messing with your domain names, so it’s good to set this to something hard to guess.

Other than that, just follow the instructions on the screen and go through to checkout.

Congratulations, you’ve just registered your domain name!


Affordable Website Design for Small Businesses

Does your small business have a website yet?

If not, you probably realize you’re potentially losing a lot of business since more and more people start their search for local businesses online now.

If you do have a website, can people find it when they search for you online?  And are you paying too much for your website?

I’m excited to finally be able to tell you about a new service we’re offering that solves these problems.  It’s called Ezw3:  The Easy Way To Get Your Business Online.

I’ll share with you what lead to the decision to start this service.

I’ve been doing web design for around 12 years and started my own web design business about five years ago.  For the majority of that time, almost all of my clients came as referrals and they were located, not only all over the country, but all over the world.  The only websites I set up for local businesses were for personal friends.  It’s just the way it worked out.  I found a couple niches that I worked in primarily (mostly websites for internet marketers and real estate investors).

However, I have always had a desire to help small businesses, especially the really small ones, to get their business online.  I am entrepreneurial by nature and appreciate the unique challenges of running a small business.  I love going in small local shops and stores.  It’s the small, privately owned businesses that make a town unique and give it a certain flavor.

Personally, I hate seeing the big “box” stores come in to an area because of the harm it does to local businesses.  Not only that, these stores make every town look the same and take away the uniqueness that different areas would have otherwise.  Granted, we all have to shop in them sometimes, but I still hate to see them take over a community and make it look like everywhere else – commercial and generic.

So for many years I wanted to be able to provide websites to small businesses because it can give them an edge and help level the playing field somewhat.  It gives customers a different impression of your business when they see you have a website.  It gives you more credibility and shows you’re serious about your business and are doing what you can to make sure it sticks around.

I’ve noticed with myself and other people I have talked to that people are using the phone book less and less to find local businesses.  More and more people just go to Google and search for the business or category they’re looking for.  If you’re not listed, they’re going to contact someone else.

You may be wondering why, since I have wanted to offer websites to small businesses for many years, that I didn’t do so.  The answer, frankly, is that it didn’t make sense from a business standpoint.  It took quite a bit of time to set up a new website, especially from a design perspective.  Because it took a lot of time, that meant the price would have to be at a point that would put it out of reach for many small businesses.  Sure, I could probably have thrown something really simple together, but I don’t like setting up a website if it’s not going to look good.

So there just didn’t seem to be a way to offer websites to small businesses that would make sense.  I wanted it to be within a certain price range so that any business owner could afford it.

So what changed?

Well, simply put, new technology.

I came across a platform I could use to build websites where a lot of the really tedious, time-consuming parts are automated.  Specifically, I’m referring to WordPress.  It started out as blogging software, but now is used for websites in general.  Many businesses now use WordPress to manage their website.

Not only did this make it possible to simplify the setup process, but it opened up many other new doors.  For instance, there are many plugins and other tools freely available for WordPress that do pretty much anything you can think of.  In the past, if you wanted some of these features on your website, you would have had to hire a programmer for hundreds or thousands of dollars, but now many of those things can be incorporated into your site using free plugins.

Another great advantage is that it eliminates or at least greatly reduces the need for paying a webmaster to make updates on your site.  In the past, when you got a website you often had to pay someone a maintenance fee to go in and make small updates to your website, even if it was just changing a few lines of text.  Now, with WordPress, you can login and easily make changes to your own website.  If you can send an e-mail, you have all the technical skills you need to edit your website.

So this new technology made it possible to streamline much of the setup process.  On top of that, we could put together some really nice designs that provide the basic framework for a website, but still offer a lot of flexibility so that each site can be customized.  That way, we’ve been able to eliminate much of the tedious, time-consuming tasks that traditionally went into setting up a website.  Now we can give clients a number of layout options to pick from and then most of the work is just putting in the text and other content that you want on your website and getting it optimized so people can find it in the search engines.

What this means is that we can now set up a professional, nice looking website with state-of-the-art features in a fraction of the time it would have taken in years past.  While we could have just used that to our own advantage, we decided to pass along the savings so we could do what I’ve always wanted to do… provide affordable websites to small businesses.

I noticed in my local area (Salem / Roanoke, Virginia) there are a handful of web design companies, and I think they do great work.  I’ve seen a number of websites they’ve set up and some are very impressive.  Honestly, I’m not trying to cut into their business.  But they’re building completely custom websites from scratch, which means you end up with a completely unique website that looks great, but with a high price tag.  And it has to be that way for those type of websites because many hours go into building them.

What we realized is that not everyone needs a site like that.  Many of the small businesses don’t need anything super flashy, but just need a place to put information about their business so people can find them online.  Not to say these sites don’t look nice, because they are very professional.  But they’re not quite as flashy as some, and they don’t need to be.  And besides getting the website up and running, we also optimize it for search engines so that it’s more likely to show up on search sites like Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc. when people search for you.

So I’m very proud to present… Ezw3 – The Easy Way To Get Your Business Online!

Just in case you didn’t figure out the name, the “EZ” part is an abbreviated form of “easy” and “W3” is short for “WWW” or “Worldwide Web”.  So again, it’s the easy way to get your business online, or on the worldwide web.

Ezw3 is an affordable web design service for small businesses.

Our official launch date for the site is June 15, 2010.  However, in the meantime we’re accepting a few beta testers who would like to get a website set up for their business.  This will just give us a chance to run through a few sites and iron out any wrinkles in our processes and make sure we haven’t set the prices too low.  We’re going as low as we can with them and may have gone too low, depending on how long the average site takes, which we’ll only know after setting up quite a few sites.

You might wonder how this Ezw3 service relates to Serve Sense, LLC, the web design business I’ve been running for the past five years.  Well, Ezw3 is just a service provided by Serve Sense, LLC.  Serve Sense will continue to provide custom web design services, audio editing services, search engine optimization, consulting, and everything else we have been doing all along.  We will have different team members focusing on the Ezw3 service, which specifically focuses on websites for small businesses.

So if you need a website for your small business, come visit our site or give us a call and we’ll help you get your business online affordably and easily!


How To Start A Home-Based Web Design Business

Do you know how to build websites and want to learn how to turn your skills into a business you can do from home?

Are you already trying to do web design from home but struggling?

Or do you know very little about web design but you’re looking for a business you can run from home?

I’ve been running a home-based web design business for years now and I know there are lots of people out there that would love to know what I’ve learned the hard way.

Lots of people have an idealistic view of working from home, which actually includes very little working.  The reality is that it does have some perks, but also quite a few negatives that many people don’t anticipate.  It’s good to be aware of the pros and cons.

There are so many things when you’re starting out that you just don’t know.

I know one of my biggest challenges was trying to answer the question of “How much should I charge for my services?”

But there are lots of other important questions, like:

  • How do I find new web design clients?
  • How do I deal with non-paying clients?
  • How can I handle the fluctuations in income?

Then there are other things you may not have thought about, such as:

  • What are the hidden downsides of working from home?
  • How can I avoid working myself into another job where I can’t take time off?

And really, this is just the tip of the iceberg.  There are just so many things I wish I had known when I started out.  I spent a lot of time and money on the wrong things.

I made it through the tough times, but it wasn’t easy… and a lot of people simply don’t make it and have to give up on their dreams and go back to working a regular job.

I actually had a job offer recently, and I wasn’t even looking for a job.  It was a tempting offer, but I had to turn it down because I wasn’t willing to give up my freedom.  For me, the freedom this business provides me is what has me hooked.  I don’t want to have to ask someone else’s permission for a day off

I’ve considered compiling some of the secrets and things I’ve learned the hard way and sharing them, but I need to know how much demand there is for this information though before I devote too much time to it.

Please post a reply below and let me know if this is something you’d be interested in.


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