By Melissa J Luther
Google has an impressive array of free and low-cost tools to help businesses, especially small businesses, manage and grow their online presence. The US Small Business Administration has provided counseling and other resources to US-based small businesses since 1953. Recently, the two worked together to create a Web page of online tools and training to help small businesses better understand how to increase their online visibility.
Called “Tools for Online Success,” the site currently offers nine videos featuring small-business owners who have successfully grown their online presence.
The videos range from establishing an initial online presence to marketing your business using both free and paid tools, and using analytics to measure the results of your efforts. Of course, each video also features a Google service, like Google Analytics, Sites, Webmaster Central and AdWords, among others, to help you implement your strategy.
Accompanying each video is a short list of tips to help you make the most of the information presented in the video. Overall, the page amounts to a FAQ section that answers, in plain language, some of the questions small business owners have about how to create and promote a strong Internet presence.
Who Can Benefit from Tools for Online Success
All small businesses can benefit from these resources, whether their focus is business-to-business or business-to-consumer. Strictly online businesses know they need these tools, and the training can help them figure out how to use them successfully. However, local brick and mortar operations also need a Web presence these days, and these videos can help them see how a good online marketing strategy can help them become stronger.
Many small, local businesses don’t realize how much the Internet has changed the way people find products and services. People aren’t consulting the phone book to find local businesses, they are searching the Internet. This is illustrated by the fact that as many as 20 percent of Google searches now have a geographical component.
Clearly, Google has been a big part of this shift online, with its myriad offerings making it easier both for consumers to easily find what they need and for businesses to promote what they have to offer. The SBA has worked to protect small business interests and help them succeed in an increasingly competitive marketplace. The Internet has become a major player in any business’ success, so it makes perfect sense for America’s premier small business advocate to partner with the Internet’s search innovator to guide small businesses as they navigate what, for many, is still unfamiliar territory.
Hopefully the partners will continue adding to the page, to create a truly valuable reference page for small business owners at all stages of their online presence journey.
About the Author
Melissa J Luther, owner and founder of LookSee Information Solutions, LLC, helps small businesses create and maintain a strong online presence. She takes a multi-channel approach, with a well-optimized website as the center of an online presence that includes content creation, PPC advertising, linking and social media as appropriate.