Everything u need to know to get your business online.

Ready to get online but not sure where to start?
we’re rolling out fresh content aimed at helping you take your small business online.
You’ll find new articles, videos, ebooks, infographics, white papers, checklists and
other goodies designed to help you start doing business on the web.
Download the step-by-step guide to taking your small
business online
The easy-to-follow guide walks you through the basics
from selecting the right
domain name to weighing your website building options to using web analytics to
measure the success of your online efforts. The ebook includes practical worksheets
to help you plan and execute your online strategy. And checklists at the end of each
chapter make managing your progress a breeze.
I think you’ll like it
Gearing up to get online
We’ll take a deeper dive into the topics outlined in the ebook
throughout the month. Here’s a glimpse at some of what you’ll find
parked in the Garage.
Stuff for startups
preparing a business plan and applying for an employer identification number-with links to
resources you’ll need to turn your business idea into a reality.
Domains and websites
Getting a domain is one of the first steps you’ll take to get online and we’re going to show
you how to pick the perfect domain name. With that settled, get ready to plan a website,
choose your best site building option, and select a web hosting provider

 

See How Connection Marketing Can Help
Grow Your Business

Networking
Personalize your own network of business owners in seconds
Word of Mouth
Increase awareness and create new opportunities with your network
Referrals
Establish new revenue channels and receive customer referrals
Connect with the right people not more people
instead of connecting with hundreds of people, form a network of trusted local business owners and
Instead industry peers who align with your goals, needs and target customers

 

Get Matched With Business Owners based on your needs

Trusted daily discussions and Q&Aforums
Alignable users also benefit from a variety of daily discussions and active Q&A forums, for fellow business owners only. Popular Discussion Topics on Main Street
Content and SEO
Next, it’s onto the really fun part of getting online creating remarkable web content for your customers and prospective customers. You’ll get tips for writing unique copy, and finding royalty-free
images, to tell your business’s story on the internet. Then learn how to put it all together with elegant website design even if you’re not a web designer You’ll also find ways to optimize all that awesome content to attract the attention of search engines. From tips for getting backlinks to tools that can help with SEO, we’re dishing out more of the search- friendly content goodness we served up during SEO Month in Garage

Social media and lead gen
If you think anything goes in social media. you’ll want to check out the ebook created by the knowledgable folks over They share tips for creating social media content that will make your small business look good. Plus, you can read all about how NOT to market your business on Facebook and other social networks. And, since finding new customers and making sales is just about the whole point of taking your business online. Then, keep your learn on with email marketing tips. Email still is one of the best ways to stay connected with customers on the go, and our experts will keep you up to date on the best ways to use email in our increasingly- mobile world.
Small business owners like you
Throughout the month, we’ll showcase small business owners in the U.S. and beyond sharing their unique stories and advice for other entrepreneurs. From an intuitive artist in Arizona to a scuba diver in Australia, these small business owners are sure to inspire you. It’s going to be a great month to get onli Ae. I hope you can make it.
Join the conversation

 

Whether You are new to the web or a full-fledged online expert, there are 10 rules that everyone needs to consider when launching a new website.

  1. Use simple, clean design.
    While it’s tempting to put every imaginable bell and whistle on your site, your visitors would rather you didn’t. Remember
    your goal isn’t to dazzle them with your design skills it’s to get them to follow through with whatever action you’re looking
    for (such as calling for appointments, buying something, or signing up for your mailing
    list)
    Try to pare down anything that could slow down a customer’s visit or obstruct your point.
    Too many social media icons, extra images and unnecessary information can make your site seem cluttered. Look at sites
    you frequent; chances are, they have a streamlined design. If you use a clean layout, your users will thank you for the
    improved experience.
  2. Start with the five core pages
    If you re not sure what information to include on your website, the best approach is to start with the five core pages. These
    pages set the right expectations for visitors and cover your basic business needs:
    Home
    Add a prominent call-to-action, and the primary way you want visitors to contact you
    About Us
    Create trust: Share what your business is about, why you started it and include photos of you or your staff
    Products/Services
    Include things like detailed descriptions, images, pricing, warranty and return policy.
    Customer Testimonials
    Include quotes or reviews from satisfied customers.
    People trust other people, especially those who’ve done things they want to do. For example, let’s say you want to buy your
    first motorcycle. You’re likely to ask your tattoo artist, who runs a small bike repair shop on the side, the difference between a
    cruiser and a cafe racer One step further, and you’re likely to ask him which dealerships you should check out. Why?
    Because he’s been where you’ve been, but now has firsthand experience you can use to inform your decision.
    That, in essence, is why your website needs a customer testimonials page. By giving visitors (and potential clients) a
    firsthand account of your business, you’re accomplishing three things:
    Remove the mystery. Firsthand accounts (even by total strangers) are persuasive and make the unknown feel more familiar
    I’ve heard good things. By selecting positive statements from your customers for your testimonials page, visitors will have
    only heard good things about youEstablish credibility. Your business feels less mysterious and the visitors read good things about that formulates
    credibility and trust. And people are much more likely to do business with those they trust.
    Getting customer testimonials
    However, especially when you’re starting out, you might not have anyone to vouch for your business that’s OK. There are a
    few ways you can start raking in testimonials:
    Ask your customers
    If somebody comes to your business (or contacts you online), ask them to write testimonials for your website. If they’ll let
    you, snap pictures of them, too. Putting a face to a name (and a testimonial makes it even more credible.
    If you’re doing any kind of email marketing, you can reach out to customers that way, too. Something as simple as a comment
    box at the bottom of a survey will suffice.
    Use third-party resources
    Online recommendations are a huge part of many people’s shopping practices. Even if you don’t sign up for them, your
    business might still find its way onto a site like Yelp or Angie’s List. If someone has something nice to say, put it on your
    website! It’s a good practice to link back to the site, as well
    Don’t let a few bad reviews on those sites scare you off, either Very, very few businesses have 100-percent 5-starratings.
    Potential customers know to take the bad (and the good) with a grain of salt
    Tell the truth
    No matter what you do, don’t fabricate anything. Don’t gently rewrite a testimonial to be something it’s not. You’re breaking
    an implicit trust that future customers have in you and that’s not the kind of relationship you want to have.
    On your website
    How you format your customer testimonials is up to you. We’ve found a few of the following things to be good guidelines,
    though:
    Have a Testimonials page dedicated to nothing but customers singing your praises.
    Photos of your testifiers make them much more compelling.
    Link back to the original source if it’s online. This lets potential customers make an even more informed assessment, which
    builds greater trust.
    Use a consistent layout to make your testimonials easy to read. You’re asking someone to take the time to read the content
    don’t make it harder for them than it has to be.

    with all of these tips in mind, once you have a few examples of satisfied customers, you’re ready to go. Always remember that
    you’re aiming to build credibility and trust with your clients. That kind of earnest, well-earned relationship pays the largest
    dividends in the long run

  3. Use strong calls to action.

    A clear, decisive call-to-action helps you generate sales and capture future customers. The most effective calls-to-action have
    a clear, explicit purpose; there’s no harm in telling people what you want from them, such as “call us for a quote” or even
    “order now!”

  4. Include sign-up forms.

    Email is an invaluable tool to create loyal customers and increase sales. Stay connected with your customers and potential
    customers by asking them to sign up to receive your online newsletter.
    An email sign-up form helps you re-engage your existing customers, and promote your business to potential customers.
    Entice visitors to sign up by offering something of value in return for their email addresses, like exclusive VIP offers, future
    discounts, or expert advice.
    Entice visitors to sign up by offering something of value in return for their email addresses, like exclusive VIP offers, future
    discounts, or expert advice.
    add an email sign up form to your website, and helps you create and send professional looking email campaigns.

  5. Keep information “above the fold

    In web design, the “fold” refers to the bottom of a customers window on a web page for visitors to see anything “below the
    fold,” they have to scroll down. If the content above the fold isn’t engaging, visitors are much less likely to bother scrolling
    for more, so make sure your most captivating or valuable content isn’t buried on the bottom of your page

  6. Invest in images.

    Even on the web, pictures are worth a thousand words. The key is to make your visitors feel confident about what they’re
    buying. If your product photos are too small, orthere aren’t enough product views, they might look around for better images
    and end up purchasing from a competitor Even if you’re on a tight budget, a few product shots from a professional
    photographer can pay for themselves many times over

  7. Make it easy to contact you

    Make sure your visitors know how to get in touch with you. Display your business phone number prominently on your home
    page or have a dedicated Contact page in your site’s primary navigation. Customers want to know that you’re trustworthy and
    that there’s a real person behind the website.

    Pro tip: Posting your email address online makes it more susceptible to spam, so consider using a contact form as a way for
    visitors to reach you.

  8. Add customer reviews.

    Consumers trust word of mouth, so share what satisfied customers have to say about your business. By adding these
    reviews, you’ll increase their confidence to do business with you. You can start by asking your top customers to write a few
    short sentences about your products or services.
    Better yet, list your company on popular FREE online business listing sites like Yelp. These sites are set up to allow
    consumers to leave and share reviews. You can integrate some of these directly with your website so they update
    automatically whenever you get a new review, or you can hand-pick from the ones you want, and add them manually to your
    site

  9. Get personal

    Adding an About Us page to a website is more important than most people realize. When a new visitor comes to your site, it’s
    your chance to create a relationship with them and connect on a more personal level. People want to do business with people
    they feel they know and trust, so share who you are and your passion for the business
    Don’t make the About Us page a sales pitch.
    Get passionate and get personal. Explain who you are, where you come from and why you started the business. Here you can
    introduce members of your team and share fun photos of you and yourstaff.\

  10. Make friends with Google.

    Your website won’t do you much good if people can’t find it. Search engine optimization (SEO) makes sure that search
    engines like Google and Yahoo! find your website and rank it high in search results. There are countless articles on SEO and
    how to identify and use keywords and phrases on your site
    plus our free SEO guide for small businesses
    as well as
    some really good tools and services that can do the heavy lifting for you
    Free Website Planning Worksheet
    Now that you’ve got the basic rules forbuilding a website down pat, let’s get started! Simply sign up to download our free
    Website Planning Worksheet. It’ll guide you through the fundamentals to get your site online.