Free websites, Adwords and carts, Oh my! (Part I)

Blog.com logoSo you’ve decided to take the plunge and want to go from being no-web to a fully web-enabled business. This is no small leap, but it doesn’t have to be a painful one. Make a plan, gather all the pieces and work on it step by step and before you know it you’ll be enjoying the extra exposure of having an online presence.

Set your objective

The first step is to ask yourself, why are you putting your business online? Do you want to:

  • Increase leads
  • Drive foot traffic
  • Get reviewed online
  • Engage in social media
  • Be contacted more easily
  • Enable online shopping
  • Be heard through blogging

Once you know what your objective is, then you can decide what kind of internet service is the right solution for you.

Claim your “electronic business card”

Using the web as a place to share your company’s contact info is one of the simplest tasks to achieve, and an absolute necessity these days. If you don’t think you’re going to do much on the web in the future and don’t need to customize your site, then the most bang for your buck is to register your business with Google Places for free.

Get found on Google Places

To confirm your Google Places posting, Google will mail a confirmation card to you via snail mail. Enter the code online, answer their questions about your business and you’ll start showing up higher in local Google searches, your business will show as a pin on Google maps, people can review and comment on your business, and all your contact info will be online in one prominent location. Think of it as the Yellow Pages of the 21st century. According to a recent study, internet searches surpassed Yellow Pages usage for local business search in the first 6-months of 2011.

Blogging

Blog.com logoIf all you want to do is write about your business, sharing news, events, promotions and information, then you  have some free and simple platforms to choose from. If you’re a once-a-week kind of internet user and don’t want to pay to host your own website, domain and blog, then consider a free blogging service like Blogger, WordPress, or Blog.com.

Using these free services, won’t have a free custom .com to call your own, but you will have a place to share your company’s contact info, host discussions, and post your latest news. One cool thing all three services offer is for you to have your own subdomain in front of their URL (ex. turnershop.blog.com or turnershop.blogger.com or turnershop.wordpress.com).

WordPress.com logo Blogger.com logo

twitter.com micro-bloggingIf you’re a very active web user and your your business has lots of news to share to an active customer base, consider engaging them through Twitter. Twitter is a great “micro-blogging” site that can act as your company’s PR, customer service, promotional and social media channel all in one, plus it’s free. Make sure to be responsive, or else you’ll find Twitter a very lonely place.

Stay tuned for the next post, where we’ll cover:

  • Own your own .com
  • Shopping carts on the information superhighway
  • Push traffic to your site with PPC
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3 Responses to Free websites, Adwords and carts, Oh my! (Part I)

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