Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Website? You don't need no stinkin' website

So, I'm making my way through the Toilet Paper Entrepreneur book*, and so far I'm enjoying it. Watch any of Mike Michalowicz's videos, and you'll appreciate that he's got a bold sense of humor. However, one highlight that I really appreciated, was seeing one of the tips he offers in his first chapter:

Every business needs a web presence, right? But that doesn't mean you need a website. Those are two very different things. You can establish a web presence on Facebook.com, MySpace, Squidoo.com, or a million other social sites. Spread the word about what you are doing through these social sites and set up a free email. Supplement your network with a free blog at Blogspot. That's more than enough to get some business rolling in.

Excellent advice. This is another take on similar advice that Seth Godin once offered up (and that I continue to spread around when I have the chance).

Sure, these sites are free and often times quite powerful, but more importantly: these sites are where the people are. By putting up a MySpace page, or a writing up a Squidoo or authoring an eHow how to, you're putting your name and business on a site that gets gobs and gobs of traffic.

Mike's suggestion of using Blogspot for a sort of home base is a good suggestion as well. When you start off, you can setup <businessname>.blogspot.com (like: ebaysellingcoach.blogspot.com). Over time, you can get a little fancier and configure the system to use a custom domain name of your choice. We went from i2x.blogspot.com to www.ideas2executables.com without changing any content and spending less than $10.00.

The other reason Mike and Seth's advice works so well is the web nature of the Internet. You can wire all of these sites together with links. So go ahead, put up your company introduction on your blogspot page, your videos hosted by YouTube, your how to section on eHow, and your PR news feed on Twitter - then link it all together with the appropriate URLs. Many of these sites even support embedding content inside of each other, so you can for example, stick a YouTube video right on your site without having people go off to YouTube.com.

Is this the perfect solution? Of course not. Who wouldn't love to have a gorgeously designed website? But that's pricey and comes with its own big set of challenges. When it comes to getting things started up, I think Mike's advice is right on.

*Finally, a book that was meant to be read in the "library." Whoo!

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