Create your balance. Design your life.

Get Online: 3 Free and Easy Ways (No Excuse)

holiday 2008 computer clip art

As a business owner, job-seeker, person-alive-in-the-21st-century, you must get online.  It is the way of things.  Some of you might feel lost, out of touch with technology, scared of robots…

It’s OK.  Breathe.  You can not break the internet.  Let me introduce you to three, easy, FREE ways to get online fast.  Create a presence for yourself and your business.  I promise you, people will turn away from your business if they cannot go to your website to get more information.  I DO IT ALL THE TIME.  From fitness classes to restaurants, if all I get is a YellowPages link with a phone number I will go elsewhere.

1. VistaPrint

You know them from the free business cards.   Now, they offer websites.  This service is not entirely free.  They do, however, offer a FREE ONLINE BUSINESS CARD.

You can get a web presence in no time flat, link to social media sites, and have a .com to go to.  FREE.  Here’s mine that I just whipped up:

http://jennettecronkonline.vpweb.com

It’s not fancy, but if you are scared and have no where to turn, this will work for you.  Something is better than nothing.  You can always edit it, delete it, upgrade it later.

*If you are looking for business cards or promotional material, I recommend going local. You avoid errors, layout disappointments, and design difficulties that way. Once, I bought a bunch of cards online with white text on a black background.  The text was small and hard to read, even though it looked great online.  I should have had it bolder and bigger.  Seeing an actual proof can avoid lots of issues. I highly recommend Tampa Prints 4 Less. Not even VistaPrint can match them in quality or price!! *

2. Weebly

I really like the usability of Weebly.  You can choose a simple but nice looking web design, edit it yourself, and publish it right away.  The FREE option gives you a domain with a ______.weebly.com, but you can upgrade it to one that doesn’t for cheeeeeap.  Really, buy a domain for yourself or business. It is the way of the world.  You can not afford to NOT spend the money on your brand.

They have great beginner guides, lots of how-to articles, even pages that tell you exactly what to say when asking for help if you bought a domain at another site (like GoDaddy), and want to use it with the Weebly page management system.  How nice!

3. Facebook

GET A PAGE FOR YOUR BUSINESS!! Yes, I’m shouting.  It’s easy.  On the main login page, click on “Create a Page for a celebrity, band or business” at the bottom.  Follow the directions.  It is free and easy to manage from your profile or on your phone.  This is the “likes” that you might see pop up in your feed.  For example, you might see something like, “Jenna and Jackie like Target.” Well, duh.  But this could be for your business too!

You can sass up your page, just like you would your profile, with pictures, promotions, and communications with fans (aka: page likers).  You can even see some statistics: how much feedback each post gets and whether or not people are seeing your posts directly or from a friend of a friend (viral).  There are a bunch of things you cannot do from a page, such as email/message page likers (you can answer their messages to you), see the names of the all the people who are fans of your page, or have your posts show up as readily in people’s feeds.  It is FREE, however, and a simple and easy step to promoting yourself.  Here’s our page:

https://www.facebook.com/WLBPA

There are a lot of advantages to being a part of social media, like FB.  The main reason I find it essential is word-of-mouth advertising.  For example:

Milton’s FB Post: Anyone know where I can get a hitch for my boat?  I wanna take advantage of the sun while it lasts.

You: Yes, Milton.   SouthernHitch .  (You would tag them in the link, or do the @ before you typed the name and select it from the pop up). Then Milton would click on the page, hit the LIKE button, and it would appear on his page for all his friends to see too.

Or like this:

Sarah’s FB Post:  Just got back from taking Mom to all her appointments. It’s getting harder to keep up with her and the kids and have time for me.  Girl’s night anyone?

You: Sarah, try Live-At-Home-Inc.  They can help you with your Mom so you have more time.  My friend used them. (Then get your friend a drink STAT).

NOTE: Do not abuse your page. Try to really make your “fans” have a reason to include you in their feed. Are you giving them something they would want to see? The best example I have seen of this is FlavaFitness Studio. They post the daily class schedule, bios and information about the staff, updates about renovations, specials, reminders, inspirational or humorous memes, and more. I love the way they use their page. As a customer, it gives me daily information without me having to check their web site–saving me a step. It’s all there on my FB feed. Take a page out of their book and really make your page worthwhile. What can you offer your clients/customers to keep them checking your page and “liking” your posts? A special FB discount? Quick facts? Get creative.  The more your fans “like” your posts, the more people will see your business page.

Make sure your page displays a number to call, an address, and exactly what your business offers (in the ABOUT section).  You want people to see what you are in the first look, without having to click on anything.

Now, go forth and web yourself.  No excuses.

 

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