Working the Web Without a Website

May 9, 2011  |  

(Wall Street Journal) — When Leslie Richin launched a public-relations business after getting laid off in 2009, her first instinct was to invest in a company website. But hiring a professional to build one for her wasn’t in the budget.  So Ms. Richin, 32 years old, set up free profiles on LinkedIn.com and Twitter.com. She created a free online business card using a service called DooID.com. And she launched a blog, spending roughly $50 on a decorative template, though she could’ve gotten a generic one for free.  “I wanted to establish myself in as many places as possible” online and without breaking the bank, says Ms. Richin, who runs her business from her home in New York and last year generated roughly $60,000 in revenue.  For most businesses today, having a presence on the Internet is the modern equivalent to being listed in the phone book, say experts. Consumers expect to be able to find and learn basic information about companies when they go online.  “When people get a referral to a business, what’s the first thing they do? They go look for it online,” says Bruce Freeman, an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business in South Orange, N.J. “You need to be online.”

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