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Building an Online Presence With a Shoestring Budget

A tight advertising and marketing budget can actually be a good thing. While having a budget that allows for some breathing room is always nice, tight finances are more likely to inspire a smart budget.  A large advertising and marketing budget was all but required in the days when print, radio, and television were king. Those days are over; businesses of all sizes and types are now taking advantage of cost-effective online marketing and advertising campaigns that provide a bigger bang for the buck. There is no reason to avoid building an online presence due to perceived financial restraints. As long as you have internet access, you can take advantage of the following low to no-cost online advertising and marketing opportunities:

Free Websites and Blogs

Sure, plenty of businesses shell out big bucks for professional websites that have all the bells and whistles. Spending money in website design and development doesn’t ensure success, particularly if the website is not continually updated and maintained. The web is rich with sites that offer free web building and hosting, many of which are simple enough to be used by anyone. Creating a unique website or blog gives you the opportunity to provide more information on your products and services, create displays and tutorials, and show your business’ unique personality to customers and potential customers. Free websites and blogs are also great to use as a temporary online home while you are building a larger website. Best of all, they can significantly enhance Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your business, making it easier for web searchers to find you online. A few popular options include:

Free website design and hosting sites also commonly offer free or low cost e-commerce plugins that let you add a fully functioning e-store onto your site. E-commerce plugins are typically very easy to build and maintain. Popular e-commerce development options include:

The Wild World of Craigslist

Craigslist is currently the 11th most frequently visited website in the world. While Craigslist is not without its peculiarities, it can be a potent business booster, particularly for smaller and local operations. A large cross section of society uses Craigslist to search for services and goods on a daily business. Craigslist is completely free to use, and you can tailor advertisement to target as many geographic regions as you please. Craigslist is as simple and straightforward as can be, making frequent use of the site a time efficient practice. Given the fast moving nature of the site, it is advisable to repost your advertisements once a day. The heavily populated social and information conversation forums on Craigslist offer businesses a chance to interact with potential customers and network with other businesses. Showing your business’ personality and professionalism on Craigslist goes a long way towards separating your operation from the dishonest businesses and scammers that occasionally troll the site. When it comes to free and simple online advertising and selling, Craigslist is king.

Link Exchanging With Friends

Link exchanging is the simple process of placing a hyperlink for another website on your own site in exchange for them doing the same. Hyperlinks offer the benefit of attracting visitors to your site, as well as having the potential to increase your search engine ranking. Link exchanging is a matter of quality over quantity; using too many outgoing links on your website can be detrimental to your sites’ SEO health. Link exchanging works best when done with other websites that relate to yours in some way, such as current clients, vendors, and industry related sites. Hyperlinks should be placed in as natural manner as possible, including in blogs, as picture links, or in relevant blocks of text. Posting a list of hyperlinks on your site is not ideal and can confuse the web crawling programs that determine the sites’ search engine ranking. When properly utilized, link exchanging will boost web traffic and increase brand awareness, all at no cost.


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