Q:I know it's important for me to market my business online. How do I get started?

A: Getting your website in front of customers is important for every business. One way to market yourself is to consider having a blog or even a podcast, which is basically a video or audio blog. You can set these up for free at websites like Blogspot.com and MSN Spaces. Many web-building sites will also help you set up your own blog.

If you're not the only one updating the blog--your employees may help, too--that will invariably make it more manageable and fun to read. If you can attract some diligent, devoted consumers who read it frequently, you will probably have those customers for life, but even people who read it just once will be able to get a sense of what your company is about. A blog also helps your venture feel like a live, vibrant place of business rather than a static, never-changing company, which sometimes can be the feel of a website.

And then, of course, there's pay-per-click advertising. The three leaders in this field are Google AdWords, Yahoo! Sponsored Search and MSN Keywords. Advertising on all three is a cost-effective way to drive shoppers to your website.

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