I constantly see small businesses who are using websites created for the owner in 1999, by his nephew who can't or won't update it, with inaccurate and outdated information and offers. There's no excuse for this. Today, anyone who can use a word processor or send an email can have a functioning website. And you can also have blog functionality, which is something critical for helping you site be found in search. Additionally, it is an easy way to create fresh content that brings users back to your site on a regular basis.
At the Web 2.0 expo I met Vinny Lingham, CEO of Yola.com (formerly Synthesite.com) This simple service lets anyone build a respectable website, including the ability to upload your own logo and simple graphics, and layout the page in a flexible and easy manner. There are also components that can be added, including blogs, photo galleries, and an online store. If you think you can't do this — well, 1.6 million other folks have already succeeded.
Perhaps you need to update content on a regular basis — weekly or daily. A blog platform may be a good solution for your site. Wordpress.com, TypePad.com and Blogger.com all feature standard templates that let you create not only a landing page that's as easy to update as typing an email, but you can create other fixed pages that can contain company and contact information, marketing material, and more. Wordpress and Blogger offer free versions, and Typepad is has a nominal fee. Most plans will allow you to add your own Domain name, changing "joesbusiness.typepad.com" to "joesbusiness.com" in just a few minutes.
Even the folks who sell you domain names offer simple hosting tools. GoDaddy.com offers a quick setup of hosting when you purchase a domain name. It costs just $4.99 a month and has the features you need to get going.
Facebook can be a supplement (but not really a substitute) for a website. Create a Page for your business, and you can post notes (like blog posts), business information, pictures and more. People can become "fans" of your business and they'll receive updates when you change your page. Pages are also searched by search engines and usually get good ranking, so this may help your business be 'found.'
Finally, Posterous is the no excuses version for the person who says "I can't create a website." Try sending an email to Post@Posterous.com. (Go ahead, I'll wait). Whatever you put in the subject line will be the title of your blog post, and whatever is in the body of the email will be the body of your post. Posterous will email you back with the address of your blog, which you can customize. You an also set it up so that emailing to your Posterous blog can also post to and update Facebook, Twitter, Wordpress, Livejournal, Blogger, Movable Type or Typepad. In other words, you can send an email and update your blog site and even Facebook with the latest about your business.
No more excuses. Get your business out there.
Last updated: May 15, 2009
HOWARD GREENSTEIN is a social media strategist and evangelist, and president of the Harbrooke Group, which specializes in helping companies communicate with their customers using the latest Web technologies. @HowardGr