Local business websites are there to tell potential customers about your business and giving them a way to contact you. By themselves, they are not a great way to let local customers find you. To get found by local customers you need to have local business listings set up in Google, Bing and Yahoo. Then you need to optimize those listings so that they show near the top of local search results. You can then put a link to your website from your local business listings. There are a couple of ways you can set this up. You can create a website for your business using WordPress.com, then set up and optimize local business listings and link them to the website. WordPress.com is free to use. There are no hosting or domain name to buy. You can also set up a WordPress.org site. You will have to buy a domain name and web hosting. You can get both from iPage for under $50 for the first year. After that it is about $107 a year for hosting and $15 a year for the domain name. A WordPress.org site is your best choice if you want your own domain name or if you need more functionality then a simple website.
Please Note: The link to iPage is an affiliate link.
If you click on that link and buy hosting from them I will make money.
If you are just starting your business or are ready to set up your first business website you are probably on a tight budget. You don’t want to spend a lot of money to ‘experiment’ with the web, only to find that it doesn’t work for your business. I am going to give you a couple of inexpensive options for setting up your first business website. In both cases I will use WordPress to build the site, but in the first option I would build it using WordPress.com and the second one using WordPress.org. The main difference is that WordPress.com is hosted by Automatic, the company runs WordPress. WordPress.com is free to use and there are no hosting or domain name to buy. If you only need a simple website to tell your customers who you are and what you offer, this may be a good choice for your business. WordPress.org websites give you much more functionality but you have to buy your own web hosting and domain name. You can add more functionality with the .org site. There are hundreds of free themes you can use to give your site just the look you want and thousands of free plugins that let you do almost anything you want like including adding a photo gallery or custom forms.
Either way, WordPress websites are a great way to build your first small business website.
I’ve been using Twitter for several years now. Here is how I use it.
Most of what I tweet is useful information, very little sales copy. That way people actually want to follow your tweets. Tweet about things that are useful, interesting or entertaining and people will start to follow you and re-tweet your tweets. After 40 or so tweets you can slip in sales copy.
Brand Your Business! As a business person you are on there to make money, not friends. I tweet at least once or twice a day, but I only spend about 10 min./week on Twitter.
Your business should have a blog and you should be posting to it at least several times a week. When you do, send out a tweet about your blog post and put a link back to the blog post, not your home page. That way you get a link to your blog post and your Twitter followers have a place to get more information on your tweet.
WordPress is known for being one of the world greatest blogging platforms. It is easy to set up and easy to edit. There are over a thousand free themes available and over 10,000 free plugins you can use. There is also a huge community of WordPress developers, designers and users available to lend a hand and answer questions. What a lot of people don’t realize is what a great content management system WordPress makes. A content management system is a web authoring software program with administration tools that allow users to easily create and edit a websites content. Even people with little or no computer skills can create and update text, images and other content with a minimal amount of training.
WordPress was designed to be extremely easy to use and the Dashboard is what lets it accomplish this. Your Dashboard is where you will find all of the tools you need to create pages for your website, add posts to your blog, or add images, video and other media to your site. It is also where you go to change your theme, add widgets and plugins and set the different options and settings.
When you log into WordPress you are taken to your Dashboard. Down the left hand side of the page are several light gray boxes. The boxes are arranged like a set of navigation links you find on most websites. The top box has only one tab that says Dashboard. The two lower boxes have several tabs each. If you hold your mouse pointer over any of the tabs you will see an arrow appear on the right side of the tab. Click on the arrow and the tab will expand to reveal more options. Click on the arrow again and the options will disappear. If you click on the link in the tab, but not the arrow, it will expand the tab as before and it will take you to the page for that tab. For instance, the first tab on the top box is Post. Click on the arrow and the tab will expand to show Posts, Add New, Categories and Post Tags. However, if you click on the word Post, you are taken to a page showing a list of your posts along with other options. When you click on any of the tabs options you are taken to a page where you can edit that option. For instance, if you click on Add New under the Post tab, you are taken to a page where you can create a new blog post.
I hope you are starting to see just how easy it is to edit a WordPress website and how this makes WordPress such a great content management system. In future posts I will go into more detail about the different sections of the Dashboard, what the different tabs are for and how to use them. If you have any questions or would like my help setting up your WordPress content management system, fill in the form on the right side of the page. I’ll get back to you by the next day and we can get started building your new WordPress website!