With the recent publication of my children’s book, it’s back to ecommerce for me. I wasn’t anticipating the need for so much self promotion. Thank goodness I am somewhat accomplished at promoting my businesses, especially online.

I am having a great time rediscovering tried and true online venues and tools as well as learning about many new ones. The first thing I did was to join FaceBook and Twitter. Gather is another good one for writers, photographers, and artists. Social networking is extremely important these days for promoting yourself and your business. One caveat, however. Do not just run ads on your wall. People will get tired of that quickly and they will stop visiting your pages. You really do need to socialize on these sites.

Next I joined an ecommerce forum, The Selling Lounge. The members there have been extremely helpful at keeping me motivated and informed.

Through them, I discovered two excellent free website template and hosting companies. I was so excited to learn that you really can have a FREE website and FREE webhosting these days. These are ideal ways to get started if your budget is tiny like mine. Yola is ideal for small sites where you don’t plan on offering a wide variety of products or services. It can also be used as an online portfolio for photographers, artists, and writers. I especially like it for its simplicity. Even if you know nothing about html or website design, you can have a nice looking site. It’s the one I decided to use for my promotional book site.

For larger sites with more inventories in several categories, VStore is probably a better choice. They offer Free Shopping Carts amp; Ecommerce Website Solutions.

Yet, another free possibility, especially for authors, is a blog. I’m using Blogger also known as BlogSpot. Once again, it is easy and fast to set up. You can keep your fans updated about your current projects and events such as book signing tours. You can use the blog as a way to share writing and publishing tips for aspiring writers or to give your fans a sneak peak at your latest book. You can even use it to sell your books by providing links to where they are being offered for sale. Some authors use their blog instead of a website. Some use it along with their website, and some just use a website.

For any business, a blog is an invaluable tool for daily, weekly, or monthly communicating with your audience. If you allow comments, it is also interactive. I encourage frequent and consistent postings to keep your readers interested. Be sure to keep your articles interesting, helpful, informative, and useful for your readers.

Once you have all of this in place, you will need to lead people to your website and blog. That’s where your FaceBook and Twitter pages come in. They will help you get started along with other social networking sites you may have joined. An easy way to share your links to your newest blog entry or website product on Twitter, FaceBook, Blogger, and your email is to use shareaholic. Shareaholic lets you easily share interesting things you find on the web in addition to your own pages.

You will also want to use Google and directories to increase and drive traffic, but for now, I don’t want to give you information overload.