Websites & Blogsites – no matter what your Small Business is – yoga lessons, tax preparation or children’s clothing – in today’s world you need to be on the internet – preferably in multiple places – so that prospective customers can find you and get to know you. If you’ve been in business for awhile you probably have at least some of this covered but regardless of where you currently stand, establishing an expanded Social Media-friendly presence for your business on the internet is absolutely essential and a website/blogsite is the first step in the process.
Websites have traditionally been the most commonly used vehicle for telling the public who you are & what you do. For Small Businesses, a company website affords you an opportunity to establish creditability in a number of ways: first, by clearly explaining what the company does; second, by presenting the solutions, products & services you offer; and third, by providing insights into customer needs and thereby positioning yourself as a professional in the field.
In addition to traditional company & marketing information, your website will likely need to integrate an important component of most successful Social Media marketing strategies – a Blog. A Blog is simply a series of brief articles that you issue periodically by posting on your website and the other Social Networking distribution channels you are using (a more detailed discussion of how this works is provided in Social Media Basics: Blogs and Social Media Basics: Social Networks).
Blogsites are essentially nothing more than websites with a Blog. More specifically, there are two primary types of Blogsites: those designed as a traditional website that includes a Blog, and those centered almost exclusively around the Blog itself. While the type of blogsite you choose will reflect the messages & content you want to get in front of your audience, the good news is that regardless of your design the actual blogsite itself is relatively quick & easy to get established.
The process of getting your website/blogsite up and running involves the following steps:
- Secure a domain name. This will become the web address where prospective customers can find you.
- Secure a hosting service. A hosting service provides the servers that connect your site to the internet, plus the infrastructure and 24/7 operations that ensure it’s always available.
- Design your look & structure of your site. Depending on your requirements this can range from a simple Blog page to multiple categories spread across menus & sub-menus. Also, adopt the same visual theme across your website/blogsite, Facebook, Twitter, etc., so that your audience begins to recognize you.
- Develop your messages & content. This is both the most important and the most time-consuming part of the process. Two objectives should dominate your approach: concise and informative.
- Launch your site & integrate it with your Social Networks. By linking your distribution channels, you minimize your “backroom” time & effort, standardize your messages, and maximize both your impact and your audience.
While establishing your presence on the internet is absolutely essential, pulling everything together requires coming up-to-speed on a number of fronts. If this turns out to be beyond your resources…i.e., you simply don’t have the TIME because you’re busy actually running your business… seek out some professional support that can help you meet your specific requirements.