Are You Plugged In? Part 1: The Website

In this 21st Century world, being digital and online is a must for growing your business. Yet many of us, who did not grow up “plugged in,” find it difficult to know where to start in generating a presence online. But from customer service to lead generation, the internet is really one of your best resources for building your reputation, name-recognition and ultimately business. Let’s take a look at how you can get started … with a website.

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WEBSITE: Does your business have a website? It’s easier than ever before to get a professional looking website to give your customers an easy way to contact you. While you could hire a web design company to make a flashy site, if you have just a smidge of tech savvy, you could build it yourself. Hosting sites such as GoDaddy, WordPress and Webs all have gorgeous templates that are simple to customize by dragging, dropping and typing in the text you’d like to use. Plus these hosting sites provide the place to “store” your site so others can access it. To get started, all you need is a valid email address and an idea of what you’d like to say. Of course, there are fees involved with creating the website, but they are quite minimal (and are tax deductions!). You will need to rent a domain name (the name people type into their browser to go to your site) and you will need to pay for web hosting (the place your site is stored online).

If you don’t have an email address, you can set up a free account at Gmail, which is Google-based email or Hotmail, which is Microsoft-based email.

Another consideration when you are creating your website is whether the hosting site allows you to create a site which is responsive. What that means is that the site will resize and look great even on mobile devices, such as tablets or smartphones. More and more people prefer mobile devices over desktops, so it makes sense to be sure your new site is responsive.

To get a little more advanced, once you have your email and your website set up, consider adding a contact form to your site. This will allow not only current customers to get in touch with you, but will give new customers a way to reach you as well. In addition, be sure to offer potential customers YOUR contact information, such as your phone number, your mailing address and your location.

Website templates also often have a place for photos. This is a great place for you to brag about your work! Why not post pictures of your best work, along with customer testimonials? They do say that a picture is worth a thousand words.

A final step to take in creating your website is to add SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. Hosting sites, such as Webs, will prompt you in setting up the SEO, so don’t panic if you have no idea how to do it. Basically, you add “hidden” words, called tags, to the photos and posts in you site – hidden to a person viewing the site, but viewable by search engines so that when someone searches for those words, your site is one of the results they receive.

Over the next few posts, we’ll examine others ways you can “plug in” and utilize all the internet has to offer to expand your building business! ‘Til then, happy website building!

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