How to Do Business Online Without a Website

October 17, 2011
How to do business online without a website

How would you feel about working with, buying from, or promoting a company about whom you can’t find any information online? Have you ever searched for a company and come up with nothing, not even a static “brochure” website? In the digital age, having a website is a sign that you are a legitimate organization. If your company is not online, you’re losing credibility — and business.

Fortunately, there are several ways to do business online without having your own website.

Get on Facebook

800 million people are on Facebook — including some of your customers. Setting up a page for your business is free and easy. You can post status updates, images, videos, polls, and links to your blog posts, and can easily interact with your customers one-on-one. In many cases the only expense is time spent.

Advertising on Facebook is also affordable, with some advertisers paying pennies per click. Ads can be easily targeted to specific demographics, and you can use them to direct traffic back to your Facebook Page.

Takeaway: Use Facebook as your hub of online activity. Spend your time and money on creating exclusive content, driving people to your page with advertising, and interacting with your fans.

Sign up for Twitter

A lot can be said in 140 characters: a person can ask a question, voice a complaint, thank someone, promote something, share a link, and more.

It’s likely that some on Twitter are talking about your business, a product you sell, or a service your provide. Joining Twitter means that people can ask you a question, thank you, promote your business, and share links to your content. Being on Twitter allows you to conduct customer service in real-time, giving you the opportunity to be engaging and transparent with your customer base.

Twitter is free to set up; the only expense is time spent.

Takeway: Use Twitter to promote interesting content (yours and others’) as well as a customer service and resource platform.

Join LinkedIn

If your company caters more to other businesses, consider joining LinkedIn. You can create a Company Profile that describes your business, lists its employees, and gives potential customers a way to contact you.

You can customize your Company Profile to pull in tweets from your Twitter account, as well as blog posts from your RSS feed. This is a great way to show visitors to your profile that you are frequently generating and sharing content, as well as interacting with others online.

You can also conduct conversations, offer comments and advice, and share your own content in any of LinkedIn’s Groups. With over a million Groups from which to choose, you should be able to find several for your business’ niche.

Creating a personal and Company Profile is free, as is joining and interacting with Groups. You can advertise on LinkedIn, although the pricing structure is less flexible and more expensive than on Facebook.

Takeaway: Create Personal and Company Profiles, make connections, introduce people, and share your content and thought leadership in LinkedIn Groups.

Start a blog

At Digett we believe that content is the foundation of a successful marketing strategy. Blogging is a fantastic way to show your industry leadership and company culture, and contributes to more pages that search engines can index. This translates to your having a solid online presence.

There are many free blogging platforms from which you can choose, Wordpress and Blogger being the most popular. Because these free blogs have URLs like yourcompanyname.wordpress.com or yourcompanyname.blogspot.com, you will lose some of the search engine optimization benefits you would get if you had a dedicated URL (like yourcompanyname.com). For just a little extra expense, however, you can use the Wordpress or Blogger platform at a URL you have purchased.

Whether you use a free or paid version of a blog, posting relevant and interesting content on a routine basis will strengthen your online presence.

Like with Facebook, it’s important to include conversion opportunities on your blog.

  • Allow comments - Allowing your readers to comment is the first step toward developing a loyal community around your business. Encourage comments, answer questions, and share resources with your readers.
  • Enable sharing - Make it easy for people to share an article they liked via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any of the other social media platforms.
  • Make use of forms - Give people a way to contact you, register for events, sign up for newsletters, etc.
  • Post contact information - Post your business’ contact information, including email, phone, and fax numbers.

Takeway: Create a blog, update it frequently, and give readers plenty of ways to interact, share, and convert.

Keep in mind

All of the options mentioned here are acceptable substitutes for having a dedicated website — but only if you are active daily.

If you decide to use a social media or blogging platform in place of a website, you need to use the right strategy for that platform. A website can sit stagnant for months and still be your best salesman, but it’s obvious when a Twitter account, Facebook page, or blog hasn’t been updated in months.

Keep in mind that although using an alternate platform as your business’ base of online operations will allow you to avoid the time and expense of building a website, you will need to spend more time developing content, managing your accounts, and promoting your message.

Need help getting started?

Digett does much more than websites. We can help you with all aspects of your online presence, including setting up your social media accounts, Facebook and LinkedIn advertising, and creating content to keep sharing with your customers. Contact us today to see how we can help you!

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