Submitted by: Lauren Whitson, Representative, 1&1 Internet, Inc.

The convenience of the Internet has made it an essential part of the business world toolbox. It has become a key solution for marketing and branding while also improving customer relationships.  Consumers bestow a great importance on the web as well, using it as their “go-to” solution for research, relationships, and now more than ever, for retail.  Web 2.0 is such an accessible outlet for supporting a business, so why not join the trend?

The Internet is never “closed for business.” So developing an online presence will make your company available to anyone at any time, every day.  As prime real estate for establishing a virtual storefront, a website is the perfect stepping stone for generating buzz around your brand.  It satisfies the public’s need for instant, convenient information while providing businesses the opportunity to push products or services.   Ensure smooth site functionality, simple page navigation, informative content, and consistent branding online to help bring repeat visitors to your business.

Cyberspace doesn’t have to stop at your website’s doorstep.  There are opportunities for your business online beyond just the website, and one of them actually starts locally.  If someone were to do a web search for businesses in Philadelphia for example, or looked for regional businesses related to your industry, would your company turn up in the relative search results? Getting your organization included in listings like these means people will know who you are and how to find you, both on the street and in the virtual landscape. Submitting business details to online directories like Yellowpages.com and Google Maps can also bring greater visibility to your company.

Between blogs, newsrooms, and social media, information on the web has no boundaries.  But the Internet is a phenomenal resource for communication across multiple media platforms, so consider your business’s online strategy as a way to lead the online chatter.  Developing a presence on the hugely popular social networks like Facebook and Twitter are casual ways to address an audience with specific ideas.  Creating a blog or using a page of your website as such, are also forums that can help you spotlight company news, announcements or general topics of interest to target audiences, both established and new. The open forum inherent to blogs gives you a great supply of fresh content to share through your site and, in turn, helps search engines like Google find your site.

Time brings change. The business world evolves and new challenges arise; however for right now, the Web is one of the best tools a business can use.

1&1 Internet Inc., an international web hosting provider in the Greater Philadelphia area, has supported online ventures of local businesses since its inception in 2003.  The company’s US headquarters in Chesterbrook, on the Philadelphia Mainline, provides in-house customer support for its wide range of products, also serving users with first-hand knowledge of the regional business market.  1&1 is w