Putting Your Business on the Internet can be as Easy as 1...2...3

Create a Website in 15 minutes or less.

Some small business owners may be questioning how important a Website really is to their business. It used to be straightforward: businesses that didn’t partake in e-commerce didn’t need a Website. Today, that perspective can kill a business faster than an IRS audit. A study conducted by the Kelsey Group in May 2006 estimated that 46 percent of the 25 million small businesses in the U.S. don’t already have a Website. If your business is one of them, you’re probably losing more customers than you imagine; these days, small and purely local businesses need a Website just as much as larger companies. Here’s why:

  • Having a Website sends a clear signal that you are up-to-date and forward-looking. Your customers are all certainly familiar with the Web, and they look for you to be.

  • People expect it. Everyone is using the Web today. In many ways customers today use the Internet the same way that customers in the past relied on the Yellow Pages.

  • Customers can access information about your business 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This gives you the ability to reach a much larger consumer audience than a traditional storefront would allow.

An interesting effect of the Internet on businesses has been its ability to even the odds, so to speak. On the Web, a large corporation doesn’t take up any more real estate and doesn’t necessarily hold any more distinction than a single-person shop run out of a garage. In such an environment, taking your business online could be critical, especially if you’re selling similar products and services as much larger competitors.

A report issued by the National Small Business Poll found that 58 percent of small business Websites acted as an incentive to sales made in the site owner’s real-world place of business. Other studies have also found a parallel between offline sales and online research. For example, a Jupiter study concluded that 45 percent of consumers have used a retailer’s Website to research a product or service before purchasing it at the same company’s store. The same study also found that nearly two-thirds of the Web success for retailers comes from offline transactions that were directly influenced by Web-based research. In another NFIB survey, it was estimated that 13 percent of small businesses’ total revenue was generated directly or indirectly from their Web presence.

It should be obvious that the benefits of having a Website are many. Unfortunately, the reality is that most small business owners have more limited budgets to work with and must thus consider the decision to make a Website more carefully. Unless your business has specialized resources and the necessary equipment in-house, chances are that you’ll have to look to outside vendors to design and host your website. Most Website design companies will charge fees for up-front consultation, setup, hosting, as well as ongoing maintenance. This can cost thousands of dollars.

Many local business owners, however, are just looking for a simple way to run their ads online. For that reason, basic one to two page Webpages are becoming a significant part of the marketing mix for many small businesses. Enter myABCspace.com, a site recently developed for members of America’s Best Companies (ABC). The site’s purpose is to allow anyone – especially those without technical skill – to build their own custom Webpage and easily be found on the Internet. At myABCspace.com, any small business owner can easily create a custom Webpage and obtain free reliable hosting. Web advertising will be accessible to everybody that needs it.

The site itself was designed with simplicity in mind. No programming or HTML skills are needed; if you can fill in a straightforward step-by-step form, you can build your own website with just a few easy mouse clicks. If you are comfortable with code and wish to create elements of your page by hand, an HTML editing feature is available.

The end product provides a simple way for any small business owner to publish a description of his or her products and services, contact information, hours of operation, methods of payment accepted, as well as the ability to post pictures or videos of their business on the Web.

What’s more, the site has many easy-to-use features. The site management tool, for example, enables the user to edit and update their content whenever they choose. If you make it through almost 100,000 easy-to-add combinations of backgrounds, themes, and colors, you won’t have to wait long for the next set of backgrounds to be available. Seasonal themes will also be among the options. To make it personal, each user can pick a unique myABCspace name, which will become its own custom URL for that business owner to use in all their advertising.

The best part of all is that every participant of myABCspace has the opportunity to showcase their newly created Webpage through ABC’s online directory of over 16 million businesses. Members are listed as featured businesses on the site and benefit from priority search results.

Reaching out to new customers online and driving traffic to the directory has become central to the goals of ABC. That’s why helping our business members connect with local consumers has become an everyday commitment for ABC.

Efforts to market your new Webpage “instore” can be as simple as including the URL on shopping bags, receipts, business cards, and flyers. MyABCspace provides free resources to help you get the most out of your Webpage and maximize effectiveness.

Because you do take your business seriously, take a few minutes to build your Webpage today at myABCspace.com.

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Reader Comments

Wednesday, February 13, 2008 at 10:11 AM
anonymous says:
Linking other websites to your own is a good way to advertise your website for free.
Other easy and free ways include:

-tell your friends who have other websites to link to yours; this increases the chances of Google crawling your site.

-create a youtube account and put a fun video that talks about your business and of course mentions your website.

-create a myspacepage and network with people that can benefit from your business, as well as those that can help you save money.

-if you have a blog make sure people are able to digg your entries (check digg.com for details)

The most important thing to do is to do research. Things on the web are constantly changing and what might be a good way to advertise your website today might not be as good tomorrow
Thursday, August 16, 2007 at 10:23 PM
Christian - Ladue, MO says:
Anybody have advice on the best ways to market or optimize your website for free? What are the top search directories to advertise with??
Tuesday, August 7, 2007 at 8:25 PM
Meghan M. says:
Stumbled on this article through a Google search looking for website help. I like the free part. I created an account with myabcspace.com this afternoon. The whole process was easy. When I learn how to hook up my digital camera to my computer I'll add pictures too.

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