Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Working Together

In summary, how do you work with clients?

More detailed information is available elsewhere on this page, but my overall approach is:

Why shouldn't we instead use a cheaper overseas web developer?

As with most professional services, you get what you pay for. Specifically:

Why shouldn't we instead use one of those site building services?

They are fine until you want to customize the website beyond the limitations of that service, such as improving on the canned theme they provide, or adding functionality that they do not offer. Just about any substantial online business soon runs into such restrictions.

To begin creating our new website, what do you need?

To develop a new website for you, I need to know exactly what you want it to be able to do. That information forms the project specification (often referred to as the "project specs" or "design brief"). Please send me the following in an email message:

To work on our existing website, what do you need?

What are the phases for developing a website?

Why is it best to develop a website in phases?

Years of experience have shown that large projects are best created in phases (with each phase invoiced separately):

Can you create a mockup before we have you build a website?

Sorry, no. For many reasons, I do not do unpaid speculative work. Also, any designs made for a proposal tend to be created to impress the client and not the website's target audience. Producing an excellent website design is a partnership between the client and the designer.

Why is email the best way to discuss our project?

For discussing the details of your project, email — or a collaborative project management tool, such as Basecamp — is much better, for many reasons:

Who will own our website's content and code?

You will. Down in the footer of the page, there would be a discreet link to my website. But you would own the entire website and its data. As well as all of the profits from it. I build most new websites using Drupal, which is "open source" — both the core code and any contributed modules. This means that I don't own any of the code, and it is licensed to be freely used by you. Non-Drupal third-party applications, which are typically not needed for the websites I build, are owned by their respective creators, and usually offer a license for use by anyone, without charge. You will own the text, images, and other content that you create, including anything edited by me. Copyright and ownership of the complete website are transferred to you, the client, only when full payment for the project is received.

I reserve the right to use a screenshot of the website and a positive description of the project in the portfolio section on my website.

If we need to sign up for a service, can you do that for us?

Yes, but I would need all of the required information, including the credit card details to pay for the service. Some of my clients find it easier to give me that information (which naturally I keep completely confidential), but most clients sign up for the services themselves, and then send me the login information that I need for accessing the account.

How do we get a domain name and web hosting?

I recommend that all my clients choose reliable web hosting and domain name registration service(s), which can save a lot of time and trouble. If a client insists upon using a problematic hosting service (such as Go Daddy or Network Solutions), then it will cost extra because it will take more time to set up and maintain the website. If a client-chosen hosting service is causing us many problems, then the client must open an account with a service I recommend.

After we sign up for a domain name and a web hosting account, will you track their expiration dates and remind us when to renew?

No, these are your accounts, so you are responsible for keeping them paid up. If the service companies have your current credit card information on file, your accounts will be automatically renewed. If not, then they will remind you via email. Be sure to read all email messages they send you, and make sure they are not going into your spam folder.

Can you do an analysis of our competitors?

Yes. If you send me the website addresses for all of your leading competitors, then I can research what they are doing right and wrong on the Web, and suggest ways that you can leverage this knowledge.

How do we read the database design you sent?

Each paragraph (i.e., set of contiguous lines) represents a table. The first line is the table's name.

All of the other lines are fields within that table. You can think of them as columns in an Excel worksheet. The first field is usually an ID number, which is a 10-digit number that uniquely identifies the particular record.

For each line, the possible components are:

When making any changes to the design, use the exact format described above — including the use of two spaces to separate components — because the design needs to be read by a computer program.

How soon after we mail the deposit can you start working on the project?

As soon as your bank cuts and mails the check, it usually takes a few days after that to arrive at my bank, and then a few days for them to post it to the account. In the meantime, we can finalize any remaining topics.

Can we help build the website?

No, if you don't have years of experience as a web developer, then you wouldn't be able to help in the actual coding of the website. In fact, even if you did have the experience, the coordination alone would slow the project down. Rather, you would swing into action after the website launch, in working with your staff for adding content and managing the online marketing.

Information Security

What is your privacy policy for proprietary information?

All client information and plans are kept strictly confidential and never disclosed to anyone. I respect your privacy, and will never sell or distribute your organization's sensitive information, such as contact information, product plans, ideas for new businesses, etc. Over the years, my clients have learned to trust me to the point where many of them provide credit card numbers (so I can order services on their behalf).

Occasionally, an organization will ask that I sign a nondisclosure agreement (NDA), typically because they think their business idea is fabulous, has never been thought of before, and could be stolen or revealed by their web developer, thus ruining the business's potential. Actually, it's not an idea that makes a business successful; it's the implementation and follow-through of a set of proven ideas and best practices. The world is full of promising ideas never actualized or tested but shown unworkable. Almost every smart businessperson is not interested in risking resources on unproven ideas. Usually such people are already too busy with their own ideas that they think are much better. This is especially true of top web developers, who already have long lists of projects they dreamed up and want to implement. The last thing they want is to make that list even longer by adding an idea in an area in which they have no interest. (I personally have hundreds of such ideas.) Also, even if the client's idea is proven viable, by then the client is already successful, and there would be no way to protect the idea since it is public (in fact, the better the marketing of the product or service, the more people know about it). What's critical to keep secret is the customer data, not the business idea. Moreover, the best web developers have reputations to protect, which they would never jeopardize by blabbing any information shared in confidence. My reputation and honor are too important to me to ever risk through indiscretion. Lastly, if you don't trust your web developer, then no contract will protect you. Only partner with professionals who have been in the field for many years (ten years or more would be best).

Can we avoid sending you our passwords?

Most of my clients simply tell me the passwords needed for changing settings in their accounts. In fact, I'm often the one setting those passwords. But if you prefer, you could set any password to a temporary value, and then later set it back to its original value, after I've finished accessing the particular account.

To send any such short and sensitive information, you could use a Gmail account (so the message never leaves the Google servers) or use the free service One Time Secret.

How will you transfer control of the source code to me?

All of the source code is located on the remote server, in your hosting account. It is unencrypted and available for you to view, if you want. But unless you are adept with PHP and Drupal, I strongly recommend that you do not make any modifications to the code, which could easily break the website (I would need to charge for the time to fix it). As for the site content, it is stored in the database, completely separate from the code, and you can modify the text using the user interface.

Professional Qualifications

What web and application programming technologies do you know well?

I build websites using the two leading content management systems, Drupal and WordPress, as well as the underlying technologies of PHP, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. In particular:

What is your Drupal experience?

I began working with Drupal in February 2008, with version 6.1. Since then, I have:

How do you keep your skills current?

Like all technical professionals, web developers must keep their skills up-to-date. I do so by staying active in the web development world — specifically:

What web technologies do you typically use for building websites?

I use whatever technologies are best suited for the client's needs. In most cases, they include:

How are you able to complete projects quickly?

I am able to work at a very rapid pace and finish the work faster than most developers, while maintaining quality, for several reasons:

Can you show us samples of your work?

The portfolio section describes websites I have created, with screenshots and project summaries.

What web development presentations have you given?

Creating Taxonomies Programmatically in Drupal 7
DUGLV, Pinkpeas

Keyword Ranking with Rank Tracker
DUGLV, Pinkpeas

Keyword Ranking with Free Monitor for Google
DUGLV, Pinkpeas

Drupal 7 Essential Modules
DUGLV, /usr/lib

Creating a Drupal 7 Distribution
DUGLV, /usr/lib

Drush 5 Installation and Basics for Windows
DUGLV, /usr/lib

Ubercart Affiliate v2 Drupal Module
DUGLV, /usr/lib

Artisteer for Creating Drupal Themes
DUGLV, Pinkpeas

Drupal 6 Base Installation Settings
DUGLV, Pinkpeas

Drupal 6 Modules for Every Website
DUGLV, Pinkpeas

iTransact Basics
SDWTG, Hampton Inn

CubeCart 3.0
SDWTG, Hampton Inn

Dupal 5 Installation
SDWTG, Escondido YMCA

Joomla 1.5 Installation
SDWTG, Ramada Inn

What kind of longevity can we expect with you?

Several of my clients are "refugees" who, prior to meeting me, had bad experiences with unreliable low-budget developers (oftentimes located overseas). Some of those irresponsible developers disappeared, no longer replying to messages, without passing the client along to another developer — which is inexcusable. Fortunately, I'm the exact opposite: I have been here for my clients for over a decade, and look forward to continuing to provide the best service available, in the decades ahead.

Project Time and Cost

Even though we have limited funds, can you still work for us?

How limited is limited? I don't need to know any exact amounts, but I definitely need to know a ballpark figure for your budget, so that we don't spend time discussing a project that cannot be afforded. Please let me know. Thanks for your understanding.

Instead of paying you, can we offer a share of profits?

No. My policy is to charge a fee for my services. I do not undertake any speculative work.

Will you match the prices quoted by other developers?

No. What I do isn't a commodity. If I matched prices, I would have to cut corners, and that would take away from getting you the best results.

Can we ask you many technical questions, before having you do paid work?

No. Sadly, I have had several cases of prospects asking countless technical questions, but never resulting in any work. One prospective project manager asked me many rounds of questions, all of which I answered, and all of which required substantial research. But he never sent any work my way. Months later, he was back on the same web developer mailing list, asking the same types of questions — seeking another victim for unpaid research.

How do we pay you?

Like other web-based professionals, I do not accept cash, because it can get lost in the mail, with no recourse. The fees for my services can be paid using a bank check or wire:

Why is PayPal not an option for paying you?

There are several reasons why PayPal is not the best choice for sending large sums of money, including these:

How much does it cost to get a new website?

The time that it takes to develop a new website — and thus the cost to do so — depends upon the complexity of the website, including:

You can get a free estimate. If you were to pay the full project cost upfront, instead of only the customary 50% deposit, then you would receive a 10% discount on my hourly rate.

Do you use a contract?

Generally, no. Feel free to put together any contract or agreement that you want. But I've never used contracts in the past, but instead rely upon a combination of a deposit (for big projects), timely payments (for smaller invoices), and getting to know the client. I begin work as soon as I have received a 50% deposit and all of the needed information, and then I complete the project, after which final payment is made. That approach has worked well for me and my clients for more than 15 years. But if you have something specific in mind, please let me know. Also, by US law, email proposals and acceptance are legally binding.

Why should we choose a freelancer like you instead of an agency?

Why must an estimated price be updated for project changes?

Website development costs can generally be charged in one of two ways: at an hourly rate for all hours spent working on the project, or an estimated price for the entire project if the client can specify exactly what she wants in a website. Any estimate will need to be updated if the client later increases or decreases the scope of work. The more extensive the changes, the more impossible it would be the stick to any earlier fixed bid, for several reasons:

What rate do you charge for your work?

My billing rate depends upon the type of work, its urgency, and other factors. Contact me for more information. Developers with my skill set charge anywhere from $70 per hour to twice that.

Unlike most consultants, I do not round up to the nearest hour. Instead, I round down to the nearest half hour. This saves the client money, especially for many small tasks requested separately.

For anything but small tasks, I require 50 percent of the estimated total as a prepaid nonrefundable deposit, before I can begin work on any projects or deliverables. A deposit not only helps to protect me, but you as well, because it commits me to completing your project and not getting sidetracked by other clients. Brand new clients don't get the privilege of "work now, pay later" service; established clients do.

I bill my clients at the end of every month. Invoices are due and payable upon receipt. Tardy clients quickly become ex-clients.

If you have a critical project that you would like me to begin immediately, or you anticipate such a project in the near future, then you are encouraged to prepay for a block of time, which will guarantee that your project will be the highest on my priority list.

I am compensated purely for my time spent developing a website and computer code, and not for any products. Thus I am liable only for my productivity during the time billed, and your solicitation of my services indicates your acknowledgement of such. You will find that I am dedicated to the highest in quality service, professional results, full confidentiality, and client satisfaction. This is why clients are happy to refer me to their friends and colleagues.

Can we monitor your computer as you work, to track what you are doing?

No. I'm not an employee and won't be treated as such. Also, if the IRS were to learn of it, they could reclassify me as an employee of your company, and charge you any back taxes.

What is your policy on estimates?

If it takes less time to complete the work than I had estimated, then I charge for the lower amount (I always carefully track my time on tasks throughout the day). If it takes more time simply because I underestimated, then I only charge for the estimate, as a courtesy to my client. Naturally, if I go over budget as a result of the client changing the specifications or technical problems with a third-party service, then I would charge the actual hours. Any estimates are not to be construed as absolute commitments or fixed-price quotations. All work is billable on a time-and-materials basis. If a project is ever taking longer than expected, I keep the client updated on the hurdles that we are facing, how much more work needs to be done, and what our options are. Fortunately, this rarely happens.

Why should we choose you instead of a cheaper foreign developer?

A business owner in need of a website can be tempted to choose the lowest bidder — such as a foreign programmer or even a relative. The owner thinks she is saving money, but she invariably ends up with a website that does not work for her business, and has to be scrapped and replaced with something that does work. In the end, the owner doesn't save any money, but loses it — and also loses valuable time, which may be worse than the monetary loss.

Website Features

Why is Drupal the best choice for building our website?

Among developers who have tried various tools for building major websites, Drupal has emerged as the CMS of choice, and is becoming quite popular, for many reasons:

Will we be able to change the website's content ourselves?

Yes. I can set up your new website so that you can make updates to the text, images, videos, and other content within pages easily, anytime you like, without needing to request or pay for technical expertise. This significantly reduces the risks that your website will become obsolete in the future (which often happens when business owners try to save money by going with the lowest bidder, which typically delivers a website difficult or impossible to keep up-to-date).

Will we be able to change the website code and settings?

If a client changes a website's code or settings that control how the website works, then there is no guarantee that the website will continue to work. If such changes result in my having to fix any problems, including code cleanup, then I will charge for the time required. Also, I would need to be apprised of exactly what changes had been made. This is just one reason why I strongly recommend against clients making code changes.

Will you be able to change the website code, settings, and capabilities?

Yes. After your website is launched, I can make enhancements to it, as requested, even years later. Those modifications will be billed at my current rate. Most of my clients request that I make ongoing updates to their websites, to match their changing business needs. That allows them to focus on their business, while I maintain the value of the website.

How about improving our existing website?

Considering that your company's website is the face that it presents to the world, anything that would make it better would be well worth the time and effort. Secondly, some improvements in one's business are only temporary, while improvements to a website tend to be long-lasting, and they build upon one another. Many of my clients have been not only happy with the changes made to their legacy websites, but even more delighted when they learn that they can expand their existing websites to build an online community, take orders online, etc. Most if not all of these opportunities became known only after the clients began thinking of ways to improve their websites, and asking me what is possible.

What are the advantages of having a contact form page on our website?

Most website's have some sort of contact form page, for several reasons:

What are the advantages of having a forum on our website?

The benefits of having discussion forums on your website include:

What are the disadvantages of forums?

The primary risk is that spammers will try to litter your forums with messages promoting their own products. Fortunately, we can limit the posting and reading of forum contents by requiring visitors to log in, and we can keep out visitors unless they are approved by you or by forum moderators whom you designate. Those moderators can also police forum contents, and delete any spam that gets through.

Should we have a single password for all users?

No, it is better to have individual usernames and passwords. A single password for all users greatly increases the chances that it will be compromised. Assuming you discover the security leak, you then have to notify all of the users of the replacement password. Individual usernames and passwords offer many advantages:

Website Design

Who will design our website?

Every website should have an attractive design (a.k.a., its appearance, theme, "look and feel", etc.). As a full-time web developer, I do not design websites. You have some options for getting the design of your own website:

  1. You may choose to have a custom design crafted by a professional designer. Some of my most successful projects involved teaming up with a freelance web designer, and collaborating as a virtual team. This allows everyone to focus on what they do best. I perform all of the backend programming, i.e., building the website and its database. The designer then styles the website by modifying a CSS file, adding images, etc. I can work with in-house designers (within your organization), provided that they know CSS. I build the basic website first, so the designer can see the page types (that need to be styled separately) and the CSS class and ID names in the HTML pages generated by Drupal. If you do not have in-house talent, let me know if you want me to refer you to an excellent web designer.
  2. If there is an existing website whose design you really like, I could create a similar design, which would probably cost less than choosing the above option. The design would be customized with your own company logo, up in the header of the pages, where you could optionally have a custom background image. If you choose this option, please send me the address of the website you like, and also send me your custom image(s).
  3. If you have a limited budget, you can choose a prebuilt Drupal theme, which I can modify with a new header image and/or your company's logo. Let me know the name of the theme you want me to use, and send me any image(s).

If we want changes made to an existing design, are you able to do that yourself without you or us having to hire a separate web designer?

Yes, I have done a lot of modifications of existing designs in the past.

Where can we find royalty-free stock images?

We may need to find stock photos for your website, e.g., as the background image for the banner area at the top of every page. Fortunately, there are many websites that offer stock photos for free or low-cost, and without any royalty restrictions:

Should we have flashing text, animated images, or Flash on our website?

Experienced designers and developers recommend against this. Rapidly flashing (or scrolling) text or images &mdash such as animated logos &mdash usually look awful, are considered by web designers to be quite outdated and amateurish, and are annoying to most Internet users, especially if they cannot turn off the effects. The only tasteful movement on a web page is an optional slideshow, which rotates through non-advertising images at a slow pace, or an embedded video that does not start automatically but instead is controlled by the website visitor.

Similarly, the use of Adobe Flash — especially for navigation — can make your website inaccessible to people with disabilities. Putting your website's text in images can make it invisible to search engines.

But what if we still want Flash?

I can add Flash movies to your website, but I do not create the movies. Typically, a dedicated Flash specialist is the best choice. But if you simply want to rotate through a set number of images — optionally using effects for transitioning from one image to the next — that can be done without Flash, using techniques that I know.

What about website visitors using old browsers?

The finished website will have full functionality and styling in the latest stable versions of all the major web browsers. The website will most likely work fine in each browser's previous major release, but may not look identical ("pixel perfect"). There is no guarantee as to how well the website will work in even older versions of browsers, which tend to be obsolete — especially Internet Explorer.

Is it worthwhile having a single-page website?

Yes. Even if you only have enough text and pictures for one web page, a single-page website — often referred to as a "brochure website" or "nameplate website" — is far better than nothing at all. It serves much like an enlarged business card that you can hand out to potential customers all over the world, again and again. Such a website has at least two advantages over larger ones:

Why does our finished website look somewhat different from the sample?

If you chose a packaged theme for your site's design, its appearance when implemented may differ from any theme screenshots, due to your unique logo, unique content, and sections removed for business reasons (e.g., no newsletter sign-up form because you chose to use a pop-up instead).

Why does our website look somewhat different for different users?

There are a number of factors that determine what a website will look like for any given visitor:

Even though there are no guarantees as to what a website will look like to any given individual, the accepted practice in the web development industry is to strive to make a website look consistent for the latest versions of the leading browsers. Visitors who elect to use out-of-date browsers, ad blockers, or other factors, cannot expect to see the website exactly as we intended and designed it. In those cases, the website may not look identical, but it typically will still be usable.

If someone reports a problem with your website, be sure to find out all of the factors listed above and report them to me. Otherwise, we have nothing to go on for debugging any problems.

What are the names of some of the parts of a web page?

All the regions of a website are rectangular in shape. The header of a website is the rectangular region at the top, which typically contains the website logo, name, navigation menu, etc. It does not change, from page to page, nor does the footer region, which is the rectangular area at the bottom of every page.

Can we use ads on the website as a source of revenue?

Yes, Google AdSense or other ad network could be a source of revenue, especially if your website has content containing keywords related to a variety of products and services that would prompt a visitor to click on the ads.


Why would an individual want an online store?

Whether you are a parent looking for a way to spend more time with your family, an entrepreneur wanting to create another revenue stream, a corporate employee ready to take control of your own future, or a retiree trying to supplement your income, selling goods or services online could help you to achieve more work/life balance, financial freedom, and peace of mind. Of course, there are no guarantees that an online business would make money. But you can be certain that you won't make that money if you don't try.

If we want to sell products on our website, what information should we give you?

For each product to be listed in your shopping cart, you will need the:

It is best to gather all of this information in a spreadsheet, with a column for each of the items above. Also get at least one image for each product, preferably in PNG format, of the highest quality possible.

How can we accept payments from customers?

Most online businesses start with PayPal Website Payments Standard, because it is simple and cost effective for startups. When your customers check out, they are sent to the PayPal servers to make their payments securely. So you can accept major credit cards online, without having to pay for:

After you sign up for PayPal Standard, send me the e-mail address for the account, because I will need that for setting up your website to accept payments.

Can we receive instant notification that a customer has paid online?

Yes. I can integrate any of the major payment systems with your online store so that you will be automatically notified when someone makes a purchase. That notification can take the form of an email message to you, or an update to your website's database. For instance, one client of mine sold electronic greeting cards, and they needed to be made available to the customer immediately after purchase. I used PayPal's IPN to automatically update the database to show that the chosen greeting had been paid for. Another client organized racing events and wanted to be able to collect online payments from people registering for his races. I integrated iTransact with his race registration page so the user data is saved in a file on his server, so he could download it into his spreadsheet program.

Can our online store accept credit card orders securely?

Yes. We generally have some options:

How do we protect customers' private order information?

In order to allow customers to connect to your server using a secure connection (indicated by the yellow padlock in their browser), you will need an SSL certificate installed in your web hosting account. I can help with that if your website is hosted by SiteGround.

How do we add an Authorize.Net Simple Checkout item?

Marketing Online

Can you help us optimize the website for search engines?

Yes. I have done a lot of search engine optimization (SEO) for clients, as well as for my own website.

How can we use social media to promote our business online?

As you know, countless organizations are effectively leveraging the most popular social media services. Your website can feature links to your social media pages so visitors can follow your business on Facebook, Twitter, and other services. We can even automatically add to your website a list of your most recent tweets.

Why don't you promote your own business through social media?

These online apps are quite popular among most people, and can be addictive. But for software and web developers, daily use can ruin our productivity since their technical signal-to-noise ratio is very low, and they offer very little useful information. Developers like myself can better invest their limited time in building their technical skills instead of online branding.

How can we publish a newsletter?

Business owners often decide to publish online newsletters to attract more publicity and prospects. A newsletter can be emailed to the subscribers, or it can be published on the website — perhaps in a subscribers-only area — and subscribers can be notified with a simple email. The latter approach is usually better, for several reasons:

Website Maintenance

After our website is launched, who maintains it?

If your organization has at least one technical staff member, then the project manager usually chooses that individual to maintain the website going forward, or at least serve as the single point of contact when sending me requests to make updates to the website. Smaller organizations usually do not have programmers on staff, and so they ask me to maintain the website. I can perform regular backups of files and databases, make requested improvements to the website, add new features, and update the website software and its modules. All of this work is billed at my regular rate. All of my current clients have me do ongoing security updates, in which I provide up to a half hour of maintenance work on their websites each month, for a low quarterly cost. Changes beyond that are simply pre-billed for the estimated time at a reasonable half hour rate. The website content (text and images added) is the responsibility of the client, but I can always help with any technical questions.

This is not the same as being responsible for keeping your website up and running. That is between you and your chosen web hosting company. I build websites, and am happy to make modifications to them. But I don't run the hosting servers.

How often should we update the website?

Some organizations make the mistake of viewing their website as a one-time project, rather than an ongoing one. Consequently, they let their websites fall into disrepair. To keep a website up to date and consistently effective, its underlying software should be updated whenever security updates are published, and its content should be refreshed as often as possible.

What statistics are available for traffic to our website?

The AWStats analytics program provides a lot of information on visitors to your website. All of the information is shown for each month in raw numbers, and most of it also as bar charts. You may get data on:

Google Analytics has similar information, and is easy to implement and free.

Many of my clients have me analyze the traffic statistics for their websites, and send monthly reports, with recommendations. I can do the same for you.

Other Technical Topics

What service do you recommend for non-marketing email?

For personal use, Gmail is free and has many features. Switching from another service is easy. You can backup all of your e-mail to your own computer, for free, using MailStore Home.

For business use, there are two options for setting up email service so that the addresses use your own domain name (e.g., ""):

  1. We could use the email servers of your web hosting company, but this has a number of disadvantages: You would have to set up your own email management using a desktop program (such as Outlook Express, which introduces security risks) installed on a local computer. If you were ever away from that computer and needed to access your business email, then you would have to log into one of the hosting company's online mail programs, but their user interfaces are awful and the spam protection is useless.
  2. A better option is Google's G Suite. All email is managed online; no programs need to be installed locally; the cost is quite low; and the spam protection is excellent.

What is my IP address?

Every computer on the Internet is identified by a unique IP address, a group of four numbers separated by periods. Your IP address can be found at

Someone is trying to register a domain name similar to ours.

As the owner of a domain name, you might be contacted by a company (usually Asian) supposedly involved in domain name registration and intellectual property rights protection, claiming that they received an application from someone trying to register your domain name, or one similar. This is the domain-name extortion scam. You can ignore such messages, because as long as your domain name is locked, no one can take it away from you. Typically the text of the scammer's message will slyly conflate the terms "domain name" and "keyword" — clever, but phony. You can flag such messages as spam, and delete them.

Will we need venture capital for the website?

My clients have found that once they have the website in place and begin marketing it, not a single one of them has ever needed outside investments.

The moment that you wrote down your unique business name, you held the copyright on it, and the same is true for when you registered your domain name. So there is no need to copyright them. But you may want to take out a "service mark" at some point for the name, if your business takes off and you think others might try to do something very similar. An attorney could help with that.

Can we use an excerpt from one of your reviews?

I welcome select excerpts from my book and software reviews being published on the web or in print, provided that:

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