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By: Sylvie Fortin

Does this sound familiar? You've set up your home office and you're ready to start telecommuting. You've gone through your checklist: you have fancy business cards, a good computer, sharpened #2 pencils, but it feels like you're forgetting something. Do you have your website up and running?

“My website?! I'm supposed to have a website? Uh oh.”

For many telecommuters, having a website is the difference between feast and famine, projects galore and idly twiddling your thumbs in front of game of computer solitaire. If you want to be a success, it is vitally important to have a professional website — a good-looking, informative site that represents your skills, talents, and showcases your service offerings.

If the idea of creating a website makes you break out into a cold sweat, don't worry. The truth of the matter is, whether you make it yourself or have a professional take charge, creating your website can be a fun and satisfying experience. Before you start stressing about it, let's take a look at how easy a website can be by reviewing the basic elements your site will need to catapult your home-business into the black.

The first step you'll need to take is to either design your site layout or purchase a professional template at a very low cost. The Web is filled with reasonably priced templates and services. Let your fingers do the walking and you'll quickly find that a template or web designer is much more affordable than you might have feared. With template or designer in hand, you'll like want to include the following pages on your site:

Home: This is your home page or the main leading page of your site. You should include a couple of brief paragraphs about you and focus on making this an introduction of who you are and what you do.

Services: This page will be another doorway page that links to each of your service offerings. On this page, you will briefly describe and link to each of your service offerings. For many in the telecommuting world, your Services page is the heart of your website. For that reason, you'll want to think about including answers to the following types of questions on your Services page:

  • What benefit will this service provide to your customer?
  • Why would they need this service?
  • Why hire you to do it instead of getting someone who is already on staff to do it?
  • Do you have client testimonials to make your service more appealing to your prospective customers?
  • Do you have a price list for your services displayed? No one likes to hunt for prices, so be clear about how much you charge for your services.

Resume: This page will feature your resume in web format. You should also upload your resume in plain ASCII text format and Word format so your prospective employer can download it.

Contact: This page will provide your contact information. If you are uncomfortable about giving out your address online, no problem! Listing just your city, state, telephone number, and email address will do the trick.

Products: This section is optional and only applies if you sell products. If you do, then use a Products section to feature whatever products you sell. Use the doorway page method for best results.

Congratulations! You've just finished creating your first website. You have just also just guaranteed yourself a greater chance for telecommuting success! However, simply having a website is not enough to assure yourself of success. In addition to your hard work and dedication to the client, you'll now need to start promoting your site to the world. Take it one step at a time and you'll find your dot com success in time at all!