August 02, 2007

Business owners can learn online selling techniques

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Business owners can take steps to improve their chances of successfully selling online through a workshop sponsored by the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The center’s small business workshop series begins Aug. 24 with “Maximize Your Online Presence with Google!” The workshop will feature informative tips for prospecting for new customers, offering customer service or order fulfillment from a Web site, and assuring a business Web site will easily be found by popular search engines.

“This series of small business workshops is based on topics that our clients have been asking for us to provide,” said Robyn Laur Russell, director of the Illinois Small Business Development Center. “While we don’t have specialists in all these topics, we are working with a service provider in our region who is an expert. This co-hosting of sorts allows us to bring top-quality, expert consulting to our clients in a group setting at a minimal charge. I think these workshops will really help our client base take their businesses to the next level.”

The workshop offers an overview of search engine organization and details on how to get high ratings on Google, including Web site readiness, keyword strategies and link strategies. Participants will also learn about search engine marketing and how to obtain targeted traffic quickly. They’ll learn more about pay-per-click programs, Google local, Google base and other strategies.

Annette Vaillancourt of Girl Geek Web Designs ( will be the instructor. The class is from 9 a.m. until noon, Aug. 24 at the center, which is in the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center, 150 E. Pleasant Hill Road, in Carbondale. The cost is $45 per person.

Seating is limited and pre-registration is required no later than Aug. 17. To register, call 618/536-2424, e-mail or go online to

Laur Russell said the small business workshop series will continue with a variety of other topics. Plans call for workshops about financial management, web development and legal and human resources issues.

The Illinois Small Business Development Center at SIUC receives funding in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity as a service to Illinois small businesses.