Author Archives: Jeremy Cook

In 2021 Adversity Creates Opportunity for Small Business

2020 Final Summary

2021 is here and so yeah 2020 happened. Businesses of all sizes have been affected by the Covid 19 pandemic. From navigating varying public health orders and restrictions, assistance programs, and politically motivated pandemic conflict, it’s been a tough year. Additionally unrest resulting from unresolved social justice issues, and an extremely divisive election campaign, are driving factors pressuring workers and small business owners. But small business owners and workers are adapting and creating new business opportunities for themselves online.


Nothing Changes Overnight

“Out of adversity comes opportunity”

~Benjamin Franklin

Simply because the planetary odometer rolls over another revolution around the sun, doesn’t mean circumstances will automatically improve in 2021. A global pandemic continues to rage mostly unchecked. We still have a corrosive political culture with rampant corruption. Social justice issues remain unresolved. And though authorities are now administering vaccines, too many people are failing to take proper precautions. I’m not sure we’ve reached rock bottom just yet.

This adversity in the world provides opportunities for adapting a new business approach or idea. I’ve been encouraging small business owners to build and maintain their digital presence for years. Many continue to hold off because of the expense or perceived technical difficulties. No time like the present. Further many workers or parents that find themselves now stuck at home, can easily build an e commerce business with drop shipping, or their own products and services.

Building An eCommerce Business

So maybe you’re looking to move brick and mortar products online to increase sales. Could be you’re an artist or creative type looking for an outlet to sell your work. Or possibly you want to start a new online store selling others products. Are you looking to add merchandise to your existing blog? You’ve got your idea and a plan, now it’s time to start building.

Web Hosting

The first thing you’ll need for your store is hosting or a location on the internet to do business. There are a number of quality eCommerce platforms, such as Shopify, Etsy, and eBay. These platforms provide everything you need to run a digital business. You can expect to pay varying per sale fees such as on eBay, or monthly subscription fees such as Shopify.

Another great option is to build your own website using a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress or Joomla. These open source software options are free to install and use, however you will need a reliable web hosting service.

When I was building my very first business website in 2010, I researched web hosting and found the highly rated GreenGeeks and signed up. And while there are other highly rated and great web hosting companies, GreenGeeks web hosting platform is powered entirely (300%) by renewable energy. I love GreenGeeks, and you will too.

2021 Opportunities
Ad: Learn More About GreenGeeks WordPress Web Hosting

Setting Up Your Store

Now that you have web hosting, it’s time to set up your website. I prefer to use the WordPress CMS. It’s open source software with a vibrant community of developers and users. It offers an easy to use block editor with infinite customization options. GreenGeeks includes a simple 1 click install of WordPress in cPanel.

After you’ve installed WordPress on your server, it is easily customizable with free and premium plugins and there a great free plugins for just about anything you could need.

If you’re building an eCommerce store, you’ll definitely want to install the WooCommerce plugin. You’ll need a payment gateway as well. PayPal, Square, and others offer WordPress plugins to easily access their services from your site.

Consider premium plugins for website security such as WordFence, though if your short on funds and just getting started, you can use the free version for a time. GreenGeeks is very security conscious, and monitors your site 24/7 for invasive activities, but you should add your own layers of security as well.

You can add products, and customize the look and functionality of your site from your WP dashboard.

Drop Shipping

Drop shipping is a simple way to sell products online. Essentially you are selling other peoples products in your store. Different companies have different fee and service models. The possibilities are nearly endless.

Print on demand is one of the easiest ways to start a drop shipping business. Companies like Printful let you customize numerous products to sell in your store. There as no up front expense as your products only print and ship when a customer orders them. No inventory to keep. No warehousing expense (though Printful offers warehousing as well).


So with the main street economy on the brink, business is moving online. Competition is fierce. But with work and perseverance, you can be successful in mitigating economic adversity in 2021.

And if your seriously considering an eCommerce business in 2021, now is the time to start with GreenGeeks. Until January 10, 2021 their EcoSite hosting plans are up to 75% off when you sign up for 36 months. The EcoSite Lite plan for one website is all most people need to get started, and at the current sale price of $2.49/month, that’s less than $90 for three years of hosting. Compare that to Shopify whose basic plan starts at $30/month. Sure you have to do a bit more of the work, but with savings like that, you could afford to hire Homestead Digital Media Services to build your site and still have money left over at the end of three years.

Managing domain based email

Tutorial: Connect Your Domain Based Email to Your Gmail Account

Often the web mail interface provided by hosting providers for domain based email, are limited in functionality and performance, and often cause user frustration. Some business owners do not use domain based email because it can be complicated. But using your branded website address builds trust with customers and enhances your brand.

However, Google offers a couple of options for managing your domain based email. If you need this for multiple people, G Suite from Google offers great functionality and numerous features in one place for a reasonable price for business customers.

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Cryptocurrency: Earning a Few Extra Bucks During the Covid-19 Crisis

Bitcoin is a popular cryptocurrency.

Many of us are strained trying to make ends meet during the current Covid-19 and economic crisis. And while I have been observing and reading about cryptocurrency for many years, but have only recently started investing and trading.

Image by MichaelWuensch – Pixabay

So while I’m not a cryptocurrency expert, I have figured out how to make some extra money. This is not free money. There is some effort and/or investment involved. If you’re interested in learning more, please keep reading. I’ll share links that will earn each of us some crypto when you complete simple actions like creating a wallet (or trading account), watching a video or completing a cryptocurrency transaction.

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One Tree Planted & HDMS: Partners in Planting Trees

I’m excited to announce that Homestead Digital Media Services is now partnering with One Tree Planted, to support global reforestation efforts. As we see the effects of climate change worsening around the world, from wild fires to extremely damaging storms, we have a choice.

One Tree Planted

We can do nothing and watch the world burn as global leaders have been content to do in the nearly four decades since the science became clear. Or we can take action in some meaningful way.

Why One Tree Planted?

HDMS Commitment

When I started Homestead Digital Media Services, I started with a focus on the environment. I chose to be a reseller and affiliate for GreenGeeks Web Hosting because of their commitment to sustainable web hosting. Now partnering with One Tree Planted is the next step for HDMS in taking meaningful action on environmental issues.

I will donate 2% of all Eco-Hosting, website design, and small business marketing services offered by Homestead Digital Media Services to One Tree Planted. Further, I will be adding more products and services in the near future that will contribute to reforestation efforts.

Serve a Higher Purpose

Considering social cause marketing for your small business? One Tree Planted makes it super easy to be a partner. Whatever your cause, Homestead Digital Media Services can help you connect your business to your cause. Contact us to schedule a consultation

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Is Your Web Hosting Environmentally Responsible?

I was writing another post about three things to consider in a web hosting company. When an old friend says, “that’s been done over and over again and all your doing is contributing to the noise.”

I had to agree with her. So today, let’s talk about environmentally responsible web hosting.

Environmentally Responsible Web Hosting


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What is Your Effective Marketing Strategy?

An effective marketing strategy is important for small business. Your day to day operations entail a lot of work. By writing out a plan for your marketing activities, you create a framework to manage all of your marketing activities for the coming months and year. This allows you to focus on your other day to day operations without losing track of your marketing activities. Continue reading →

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Smart Branding: How to Attract Customers With Consistent Messaging

Consistent branding is an important function of doing business. Your brand is not just your logo. It is your message. It is everything you communicate about your business. The key to having a successful brand is consistency. Your business cards need to complement your marketing materials and so on. Your message has to be clear and concise to consumers throughout your operations. Failing in any aspect of branding your business can cause confusion for your customers in the best situations. It will damage your brand in the worst case.

One aspect of branding where many businesses fall short is managing their brand online. Marketing your business to customers online is important, but it is more than just having a website or using social media. Branding your business online requires a steady commitment to managing and influencing information about your business that you may not even know exists. Continue reading →

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How to Attract Customers With Strong Content Marketing Strategies

The primary objective of any business is to attract new customers and retain current customers. It is important to create a content marketing strategy when more consumers than ever turning to the internet to find information about local businesses. Consumers are fed up with banner ads and popup ads as evidenced by the advent of ad blocker software. This means businesses have to find a new more subtle way of communicating with consumers. Content marketing is the way to do just that.

Attract Customers With Strong Content Marketing Strategies
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominice via

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5 Simple Web Design Tips For Small Business Growth

In this modern digital age, it is imperative for small businesses to use effective web design to reach out to consumers online. Here’s what you need to know.

5 Simple Web Design Tips for Small Business Growth
Homestead Digital Media Services offers Web Design Solutions for Your Small Business

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How to Choose the Perfect Hosting Solution for Your Website

You have a small business. Your brick and mortar location does well but your business is not growing as fast as you would like. You have considered building a website, but it seems to technical or expensive to accomplish. The first step is to choose a hosting company.

Wind Powered Web Hosting
Homestead Digital Media Services offers sustainable web hosting.

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