All small businesses need an online presence but not all could afford or need own websites. So, what are the alternatives out there?

1. Set aside budget and time

Start with a budget and address these questions: How much could you afford monthly or annually? How much time are you going to spend managing your website, on top of running your enterprise? Work it out from there.

2. Explore social media platforms

It’s important to prioritise the smartphone as the main online portal. So, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are great platforms for entrepreneurs. They are free and allow direct interaction with customers. Be prepared with your contact information and an effective payment system.

3. Have own website

Small businesses with more budget could host their own websites on platforms such as WordPress, Squarespace, Wix or Shopify. You can also have your own unique website address. The monthly fee could start for USD$5 to USD$30, depending on packages and where you’re based globally. The advantage is having a better brand look, nicer design and more control over algorithm. You may need get a designer to help you build the website.

4. E-commerce marketplace

Entrepreneurs and SMEs could widen their market reach via e-commerce marketplaces such as Amazon, Etsy, Alibaba, Lazada etc depending on your regional operation. These platforms charge commission on every transaction made. The advantage is you don’t need to create a bespoke online functionality from scratch. Be prepared with answering the customers’ enquiries.

5. Engage with your audience

It’s not enough to wait passively for the customers to find you. Talk about your product and services on engagement channels such as Zoom, Facebook Live or Instagram Stories. Engage with your audience, host a quick Q&A session or share your expertise on blogs.

6. SEO and social media adverts

SEO (search engine optimisation) helps your business being discovered on website searches by using related keywords. It’s free to begin. You can also boost visibility by investing in Facebook or Instagram adverts during special celebrations. You could hire marketing experts to help you when you are ready to scale your sales reach.

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