When a professional or small business owner decides to launch their business on the Internet, they often start with a website. They’ve heard that everybody has to have a website. Then they learn that they should have an email newsletter.
Many people start out piece-meal. Website with one company, newsletter delivery with another provider, online payments with another, and as each need arises they get an account with a new provider.
In a previous article (http://snipurl.com/Internet_Marketing1), we recommended starting with a shopping cart marketing system. The next step is to establish your online presence.
Website First, Blog First?
As stated above, it wasn't long ago that you would get started with your online business by creating a website. However, after several months and several thousands of dollars you may learn your website isn’t enough. You do need a web presence, and there is an alternative to hiring a web designer to do it for you — you can create a blog for your business.
Since the invention of easy-to-use blogging programs, we recommend to many small businesses and professionals to skip a website, and start off with a blog. A blog can do just about anything a website can, and has several big advantages. (A blog actually is a website, only its software provides for easily updated content and reader participation.)
1. A blog is user-friendly. You can learn how to manage it yourself, no need to hire a web designer, pay big fees or be at the mercy of their busy schedule.
2. A blog is inexpensive. An account at Typepad.com, the leading blog provider, runs from $5-$15/month.
3. Blogs are search engine friendly. Even if in the beginning you don't have a clue about how to optimize your site for the search engines, don’t worry. Just know that when you are writing about your niche, to your targeted audience, you will be using the very same keywords that get entered into Google when people are searching for things. This will increase your chances of getting found on the ‘Net by the people who want and need you. Websites are a little more complicated and if they aren’t updated frequently, they don’t get indexed by the search engine spiders very often.
Huh? What’s a Spider?
Don’t worry about the technological jargon. You don’t have to understand how a blog and search engines work right now. But you do have to know that these elements are “must-do’s” for anyone who wants to use the Internet to build and grow a business online.
Take some teleseminars – there are plenty and they're often free – or, buy a couple of ebooks that show you how to manage these tasks. Don't make the mistake of getting overwhelmed by all the possibilities and all the companies trying to sell you their services. Start out slowly, ask questions, gather information, inform yourself about the options and benefits before you even think about setting up your website or blog. While we can’t really make recommendations for you without knowing about your business niche, in general, you can’t go wrong by setting up a shopping cart and a blog so you can start your business online the smart way.
As the The Blog Squad, Patsi Krakoff and Denise Wakeman have teamed up to work with professionals to maximize their marketing strategies by implementing blogs, ezines and ecommerce tactics. They are co-authors of "Build a Better Blog: The Ultimate Guide for Boosting Your Business with a Professional Blog"," Confessions of a Reluctant Blogger: From Boring to Brilliant in 30 Days" and "Secrets of Successful Ezines: A Guide to Writing and Publishing an Ezine that Gets Results." Are you ready for a blog? Take The Blog Squad's free assessment at http://snipurl.com/Blog_Assessment