Thursday, June 21, 2012

Is Social Networking Really Your Store Front??

I am really beginning to like the various social networking tools that are out there.  I know they have been around for a while and I was kind of late to the game, but I am there none the less.  I have found that it is a great way to connect with many wedding vendors and also a neat way to promote your business.

One thing I cannot help but notice is the increase of people using Social Networks as their store front in place of a web site.   In other words, using Facebook as their only source on the World Wide Web to have their business and using twitter as an email address.  I really took notice to this the other night while trolling through various Facebook groups.  Some people need to realize that Social Networks are just that… networks. 

If you are guilty of this, you are missing out on a whole bunch of exposure you really could be getting, plus you are looking really unprofessional to boot (in my opinion).  As a legitimate business the least you should have, besides your business, is a real website.  Domain names, web hosting, and content managers like Word Press are dirt cheap.  If you think you can’t afford a website, then let’s take a look at the costs.  I will use some examples that I personally deal with and I am not promoting any of these purposely.  Just using what I know works.

  1. Domain Name – Godaddy – Costs about $12.00 a year for your domain name.  If you are paying more than $12.00 a year for your domain name, you are being ripped off.
  2. Hosting for your Website and domain name – Hostgator – Cost about $72.00 a year.  I am sure there are others, but I like Hostgator because of it being inexpensive and they have a ton of free add ons.  It is shared hosting and probably something that most small businesses can use.  If you have a photography site, you may need some more server space, but for most wedding professionals, a regular shared hosting plan will suffice.  This also includes emails.
  3. Website – Word Press – costs about FREE.  It is included with your Hostgator plan and installs easily.  Word Press web sites are really getting great Search engine exposure also.   Some hosting service offers web site builders.   I don’t recommend these personally, but that decision is yours.   

And there you have it.  It costs less than $100 a year to have a REAL web site.  If you cannot afford $100.00 a year, it may be time for you to re think if you really should be in business.   I used to knock Word Press web sites, but not anymore.   Google loves them for some reason.  And if Google likes it, then if you want to get seen, you should like it also.     

You can also go out and begin to spend a ton of money on website designers, logo designers, and all of the other goodies, but for starters, you really do not need to do this.  I mean, you only have a Facebook page now; anything even resembling a website has to be better than that.

And for crying out loud, get a REAL email address (it is included with your web hosting).  Don’t use hotmail, G-Mail, Yahoo mail, or any of the other free web based mail services out there.   I look at businesses that have these type of free emails and the first thing I think is “unprofessional”.    I am not saying they are unprofessional, but it is just my perception.    

It is going to take a little bit of reading and asking questions once you get it set up, but it is easy to manage after that.   There are internet forums all over the place on Word Press and designing that you could start with.   Many of the wedding groups on Facebook have a lot of individuals that are more than willing to give you some free advice in getting started.  And if you cannot find them, look for me, I’m willing to help get you started (don’t expect me to be your designer though). 

As time progresses you are going to get hundreds, if not thousands of tips and tricks to make your website better.   You are going to find yourself spending some time on building your creation, but once you have it, you are on your way to presenting yourself and exposing your business in a more professional manner. 

Until Next Time,

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