Minimum Online Presence For Any Business


Even if you do not want to build a quality web site, there are some minimum elements to get your online presence started.

Domain Name

You should purchase If it is not available try to get something close. Short is generally better with respect to domain names. Do you want your competitor to register your business name and point it to their own site? There is no need to go overboard and purchase too many names. If you can get a good .com name you will probably be alright. Your web site can be as simple as just having contact information for your business. You do not need a fancy site to start off with. Your web address should be included on any advertising materials including newspaper ads, business cards and anything else you use.


You need to establish an email address for your business, preferably at your own domain name. Having appears professional. You want your email address to appear on all of your advertising materials as well.

Google Places

If your business has a physical location it is important to register with Google Places. This will help you appear in search results. It can also help when people are searching for a service or business type. If you run a restaurant and someone goes on their fancy new internet enabled phone and asks for a nearby place to eat, you probably want to show up in the results. Do not underestimate the power of Google Places. When someone is browsing Google Maps for a particular city you want your information to be included.

Google Analytics

You need to use Google Analytics or some other software to track the visitors to your site. Even if your site has limited content you want to know if people are finding it. If your basic site starts getting a lot of visitors, you may want to consider improving it.

Google Webmaster Tools

Listing your site with Google is important for helping it to appear in the results. Even a very basic site should be listed. Ideally, you will want to show up in the results.


Not everyone wants to be on Facebook. While I typically recommend most clients to establish a presence, some choose not to. I have seen cases where a Facebook page gets little to no "fans", but it still helps broaden your online presence. For many business types it is very important. It is also free. You may be surprised by all of the people that show up and leave positive comments. It is also important to get the word out so people know where to find you online.

Industry Specific Sites and Business Directories

There are a lot of sites dedicated to specific industries. For example, there are tons of restaurant review sites. You need to find out what kind of sites are out there and register accounts on them. If there are negative reviews of your business you want to try to get them removed and to respond to the accusations. Get your site on as many business directories as possible.

Try doing a search for your business name right now and see what comes up. I imagine there will be a few sites with pages already about your business. If possible, visit those pages and make an account or claim them. You can typically register an account and then have some control over the information that appears.


People are increasingly using the internet as a tool to research almost anything. A savvy consumer will not hire you or purchase your goods without taking a look online. Having a basic presence is better than no presence. A business that does not meet these basic standards is already behind.

About the author

Bob Lindquist is an expert consultant with extensive experience building web sites, databases and performing internet marketing work for his clients.  He has over 20 years of experience working with clients from a wide variety of industries along with a degree in Computer Science.  Bob is a professional member of the Association for Computing Machinery.

In his free time, Bob is a volunteer Firefighter / EMT and has served on the boards of several not-for-profit groups.

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