Building an online presence for your small business doesn’t have to be this grand design or complicated process. By using a lot of the free and open source software given by Google, you can build a site and a catalog, all using one login and password. After you have connected all the pieces, the platform is very user-friendly, letting anyone with the desire to become the “tech guy” for your office. Go through the steps below, and you are on your way to a rich and successful business that works where you work: in the cloud.

The key of all keys…
Go to Google accounts to set everything up.

You can use your existing Gmail address, but if you have other sites connected to that account (Digg, engadget, uncrate, etc.), I advise you to make a new email – for example, companyname@gmail.com, to clear things up.

Remember for the purposes of this post, you will not be the same e-mail address that you should use to communicate with business clients. See it as a central account, which you will use to run your domain. Always use a strong but unforgettable password. If you want to save some thinking time, check out this random password generator to make the process smoother.

Get a Blogger
Cruise on over to Blogger. Log in with your newly created Google account (for example, companyname@gmail.com), and you have another door open to you to establish a new site backed by Google. Here are some points to consider when using a blog for business.
  • Free
  • Easy to work with
  • Accessible from anywhere
  • Easily import templates if you have no idea what web design is all about
  • Integrating your company’s social media networks that's as simple as breathing
This Blogger account will turn into your company site, so name it appropriately. The URL is not really important during this phase because I will talk about it later one in the next step, but to get the hang of things, create companyname.blogspot.com, if you can.

Pick any theme for now (you will work on it later on). After you get it all working, go to your Dashboard, the place you write all the material for your website.

You have two things to think about: Do you want a standard informational business site? Or do you want to keep it casual and create content on a daily basis? I advise you pick the latter – constant blogging is one advantage that distinguishes you from the rest of the crowd in your industry. If you stick with it, you are good to go. Play with the content and styles, and take this time to look for the perfect design that best clicks with you.

If you want to use a traditional layout that does not include all the hoopla, you can use the Content Management System. Just make a new post that will work as your main page. Name it for that reason, and write something about your company.

In Blogger, click on “Design.” The “Add and Arrange Page Elements” is where you organize things that show up on your site. In the “Blog Posts,” click on “Edit” to see a bunch of settings. Now that you are the only who will be creating a single blog post to act as your main page, uncheck all the boxes on the “Main Page Options” list except the “Show Share Buttons.” This gets rid of things like date, who posted, comments, and changes the page to act like a home page, rather than a blog post. Since this will be your first and last entry, it will always show up on your main page.

If you want to create fixed pages (FAQ, News, Employee Profiles, etc.), select “Posting” and then look for edit link. These are usually shown as your normal posts, but the blog feed does not show it. Instead, they can be organized like your regular navigation bar at the top of your website. You can also change the way they line up, and what pages are linked in the process.

Remember that Blogger saves your images to Picasa. You can easily upload images and logos right from Blogger, but if you prefer to work with your web albums page, you can log in from there to see your Blogger album(s).