A couple years ago I would have said it depends. Now it is a necessity.

It doesn’t matter how big your business is or how much money you bring in. If you exist, I want proof of it on Google. I can bring up a business listing and even get reviews within minutes right from my cell phone anytime, anywhere.

We live in an on demand world where everything is a click, flick or a button press away.

But I Can’t Afford a Thousand Dollar Website!

Well me neither.

Luckily I make them for a living. For those not as fortunate feel free to learn more about how I can get you up and running with a customizable website for very short cash. The truth of the matter is, you really don’t need a thousand dollar website. There are tons of free content management systems and thousands of open source plugins on top of that creating endless possibilities for a completely unique, dynamic, out of the box website for your business. It’s not always about the glitz and the glam but about easily providing the information your audience needs.

Your Online Identity Freebies

User moderated reviews and online discussions have become the corner stone of a business’s online identity. These sites dominate the search engines and our mobile phones when searching for information about businesses and therefor should not be overlooked. You should check these sites to see if your business is already listed and add/modify as needed.

These sites require more attention on your part if you decide to participate. They take time to develop interested audiences but can be well worth it in the long run.

Don’t Be A Sucker

That basically just means don’t spend thousands of dollars on a crazy flashy website for your corner store boutique. Web developers are a dime a dozen – you can find them at your local college campus, all over Twitter and dominating craigslist. Be careful any way you go about it though. If you think you are getting ripped off, you probably are. Get a couple quotes for the same project and learn the lingo. Don’t go overboard with Internet marketing techniques like social media marketing and SEO. Get yourself a functional up to date website that provides your audience with what they want.

- Photo by Curious Expeditions

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  • http://businessmarketplace.com Deb Watson

    Although I agree that you must have a web site, I must disagree with two comments you made. One, that web site developers are a dime a dozen and you can find them anywhere. They are techno-nerds – they do not necessarily have any design training, and they sure as hell don’t know marketing. You can have a beautiful looking site, but without the marketing expertise in place, the site won’t turn a viewer into a customer.

    Secondly, you said not to waste money on SEO – excuse me? It doesn’t matter how wonderful my site is if people can’t find it! Without the site being properly programmed for the search engines, you’re certainly going to be disappointed in the traffic you get.

    • http://www.jonbishop.com Jon Bishop

      I didn’t say not to waste your money on SEO. I specifically said not go overboard with it. A company trying to upsell you their SEO package is usually just trying to make an extra buck.

      Matt Cutts from Google says using a platform like WordPress will take care of 90% of your SEO needs. The rest is just some good content and positioning. A blog can satisfy both of those needs.

      I also stand by my statement that Web Developers are a dime a dozen. I hope anyone hiring someone to make their website will look at a developers previous works before hiring them. Don’t underestimate a developers knowledge of SEO and marketing just because they aren’t an agency. Most agencies end up hiring those same developers to help with marketing and development but it costs more in the end because you are going through the agency.

      This is by no means my final judgement on the current status of the industry and there are definitely exceptions to the rule. This post was meant to educate businesses without a budget for a website and make them aware of possible alternatives.

    • http://www.jonbishop.com Jon Bishop

      Just thought I would point out you should do some basic SEO on your own site. You mentioned in your comment: “Without the site being properly programmed for the search engines, you’re certainly going to be disappointed in the traffic you get.”

      Some things you might want to try on your site are:
      - Removing your content from a table
      - Adding ALT text to your images
      - Use CSS to style fonts instead of the depreciated FONT tag
      - Find a host with less downtime. Downtime can affect your search engine rankings. If your site is down for more than 48 hours you can lose rankings and deter spiders from coming back to your site.

      The last one is important. Much more important than any SEO is making sure your site is up when people try go get to it. It can affect both you real world business and your SEO dramatically.

      Good luck, hope it all pans out.

  • http://www.tristanbotly.com Tristan Botly

    Google provide a couple of handy tools.

    Free website: http://pages.google.com/
    List your site: http://www.google.com/local/add/

    And finally a good little walk through guide I have found:
    http://blogs.news.com.au/queenbee/index.php/news/comments/tips_to_boost_your_business/47351

    Tris

  • http://BuildMySiteforFree.com Amy Cameron

    I agree. In this age and time, It’s surprising to find out that there are still businesses out there that do not have online presence. They can even build it themselves if they just invest a little time to taking a short course. There are even those that are offered for free and there are also platforms and tools that are free that would help them achieve that goal.

    Amy Cameron
    BuildMySiteforFree.com