Whether you have a brick and mortar store or offer a personal service, your small business needs a presence on the web. Even if you have no plans to consider e-commerce, there are still plenty of other reasons to build a website. What are they? Glad you asked:

1. Wait, why aren’t you considering e-commerce? While it’s true that online sales are not suited for everyone, you should at least think about the option for a moment. More and more, consumers are turning to the internet for their shopping needs to avoid lines, get products from companies out of their driving radius, and find more options. Don’t sell a physical product? Maybe gift certificates for your services are in order. Even if you decide it’s not for you, a web store is an option that you should consider.

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There are lots of articles on the web about the affect that certain colors can have on a website, or how to use color effectively in your branding. But have you ever thought about creating a black and white website?

Today’s example site, the portfolio of performing artist (and Webs user) Róisín Monaghan, uses this technique beautifully to create an elegant look and feel that serves her subject matter well.

One advantage of a mostly black and white website is that it clears out the clutter and allows other design elements to take center stage.

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Our series on starting a small business continues with a discussion about identifying your brand’s target audience.

As the old adage goes, you can’t please all the people all the time. So, it’s best to focus your resources on pleasing the right people as often as possible. The best way to do this is to identify your business’s audience right off the bat.

Now that you’ve named your company, found some small business financing, and branded yourself with a great tagline, it’s time to talk about who you think is going to buy your products.

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The 2012 holiday shopping season is off to a record start, and there’s still a lot of shopping yet to be done in the month of December. With the big box stores’ Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales out of the way, this may be the perfect time for small businesses to fill in where those major retailers disappointed consumers.

The infographic below from LivePerson shows some key holiday shopping trends and attitudes that can still be useful through the rest of this year and in your planning for the 2013 holiday shopping season.

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It’s the middle of the week already! Time to take a look at another great small business website created by a Webs user.

Designkandy is a small custom stationery and art business in California. The owner, Simone Klein, has created a very elegant website to showcase her talents, entice customers, and link them to her Etsy and Zazzle stores.

There are a lot of elements on Designkandy.com that work to present a professional image. Follow Simone’s lead by:

1. Customizing your theme. When you’re building your custom website, choosing a basic theme is just the first step. Once you’ve made your selection, there are many ways to customize it to project exactly the look and feel you want. Start from the ground up by choosing from hundreds of images, textures and colors for your site background. Next, browse dozens of web safe fonts for your header, footer, sidebar and copy. You can then customize the color of the font in each of these locations. This is a great way to achieve a look that really reflects what your website is about.

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Now that you’ve decided to start your own business, explored your financing options, and come up with a name, it’s time to think about your brand.

[Ominous music here]

Fear not. While branding is a crucial part of your future success, it can also be broken down into completely manageable parts.

When you were coming up with your name, you likely already put a lot of thought into your branding without really meaning to. A great second step is to come up with a tagline or slogan. Even if it doesn’t end up being integral to your logotype or your small business website, it will help you distill down your thoughts about what you want your business to be when it grows up.

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Happy Monday! With Thanksgiving coming up, we’re shuffling this week’s blog around a bit and bring you an example site on Monday for a change. Today we’re going to look at Scarab Pictures, a fantastic photography portfolio site made by a Webs user. There are a lot of great things about this site that we talk about often — consistent branding, the use of imagery, simple navigation, etc. Another thing that Claire, the owner, is doing well is keeping a current blog for her business.

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Brian Spero is a frequent contributor for Money Crashers Personal Finance. He writes about financial topics ranging from budgeting and business to careers and couponing.

So you’ve cultivated an idea for an online business that you’re certain can’t lose. The only hitch is that it’s going to take time and money to get your venture off the ground. Being an entrepreneur is about believing in yourself and doing whatever it takes to make things work, so don’t let a limited budget impede your path to success.

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Limited time: Save 40% on a new Webs package with the code WEBSBLOG40 at checkout! Click here.

What is a Facebook Like Box?
Essentially, it is a way to encourage Facebook users to like your page by showing them on your website who is already connected with you, and what kind of things you post. According to Facebook:

“The Like Box is a social plugin that enables Facebook Page owners to attract and gain Likes from their own website. The Like Box enables users to:
– See how many users already like this Page, and which of their friends like it
– Read recent posts from the Page
– Like the Page with one click, without needing to visit the Page”

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