You are starting a new organization or business. You are busy and have very limited time and money to spend on your web presence. What can you do to get the most ‘web’ for the least time (both set up and maintenance) and money, while still appearing professional? If you are in a situation like this my recommendation would be to set up a Google “My Business” listing and a Facebook page.
Having a web presence to show up in Google search results, being able to engage with people, and having a medium to display basic information is a critical and important start. Once complete, these two web mediums will give you the following capabilities:
Google “My Business” Listing
- This will allow you to show up in Google search results.
- You can display hours of operation, address, phone number, and other basic information.
- You can capture reviews and rating from customers.
- Your business/organization can show up in Google Maps.
- Display a description of your business/organization.
- Display photos and photo galleries.
- Post updates with text, photos and video.
- Create awareness of your business/organization with ‘Likes’ and other interactions.
- Display hours of operation, address, phone number, and other basic information.
Furthermore, this approach will put you in a position where:
- You have no need to worry about website bugs or display issues, or the time/money needed to fix them.
- You haven’t put yourself on the ‘treadmill’ of other social media properties like Twitter or Instagram which require more frequent updates.
But, keep in mind the title of this post is a ‘Create a Good Web Presence’, not ‘Create a Great Web Presence’. The suggestions made here are a good start, but you will still have a few problems:
- You will rank lower in Google search results since you don’t have an actual website. You have very limited options for SEO. You should have acceptable results for more specific searches though.
- You are limited in what you can do visually and functionally compared to a real website.
- You may be missing out on generating awareness/interest by not having a presence on other social media platforms.
Got a Few More Hours? Can You Spare ~$15/year?
With a bit more time and a few more dollars you can add an enhancement that can simplify your overall marketing efforts: buying your domain name. Almost all domain registrars allow you to forward a domain to an URI. For now, you will forward this domain to your Facebook page. Take a look at jivevine.com (which is a domain I happen to own but am not using it right now). It goes to the WordPress Facebook page. Doing this has the following benefits:
- You own the domain now. No one else can take it.
- You are free to use your domain name on business cards and other print material. When it comes time for an actual website you will simply have the domain direct to your website rather than your Facebook page.
- It appears more professional to have your own domain.
In addition, for an extra ~$5/month most domain registration/hosting companies allow you to forward email addresses associated with your domain (such as firstname.lastname@example.org in my example). You can forward this to a Gmail or another type of address. You will also be able to respond to emails with your custom email right from Gmail. This again can make you appear more professional.
If you want a slightly more elaborate web presence and are willing to spend a bit more time, you may want to checkout the free website builder in the Google “My Business” tool as well.
I hope these ideas help you in successfully starting up your small business, non-profit, technology startup, or whatever endeavour it may be. You should focus on getting your core processes up and running. It will allow you to have an acceptable web presence while you wait for the budget/time for a more full and expansive web presence. There are lots of excellent professionals in Social Media, SEO, Graphic/Web Design, Online Marketing, and Web Development that can help you out when the time comes. Good luck!