[Today’s post comes to us courtesy of JoAnn McKimpson from the SBS Marketing Team]

Is your business online? In today’s business environment, a business without a Web site may be virtually invisible to potential customers. Businesses with Web sites must also pay close attention to keep up with the latest trends in Web design. With all the hard work and passion that goes into a typical small business, losing customers because your business does not have a professional online presence would be tragic.

Would you be surprised to find out that you can create your own professional-looking Web site for free? Included in Windows Small Business Server (Windows SBS) 2008, Microsoft Office Live Small Business provides your company with everything needed to create and maintain a professional web presence for free:

  • Free web hosting
  • Free templates and easy to use tools
  • Free email accounts
  • Free online support

Windows SBS 2008 also automatically includes an extranet, called the Business Applications Web site, which you can use to do the following:

  • Store all of your important company documents in one location—instead of sending them around in e-mail.
  • Access and share important information with customers and employees by using password-protected Web sites.
  • Keep up-to-date on important projects, easily share calendars, and synchronize with Microsoft Office to keep you and your employees working together more effectively.

Office Live Small Business also gives you a free suite of professional business applications that will allow you to manage customers, projects, and documents and easily share information with employees, customers, suppliers, and vendors. All of this is security-enhanced, managed, and maintained by Office Live Small Business. Microsoft Office Live Small Business offers comprehensive (all-in-one) and affordable online services that help you build your company’s credibility and fuel growth with a professional-looking Web site, effective online marketing, and online tools that allow you to access and manage your business anytime, anywhere. You can purchase additional features at affordable prices; see the pricing details page for more information.

Even better, Windows Small Business Server (Windows SBS) 2008 server software smoothly integrates with your Web site to simplify setup and management of professional Web sites and extranets. Windows SBS 2008 easily integrates with and manages Office Live Small Business Web sites through the Windows SBS Console, Remote Web Workplace, and the Desktop Links gadget.

The Set up your Office Live Small Business Web sites Wizard in Windows SBS 2008 enables this integration, and the wizard helps you configure the Office Live Web Business Web sites as follows:

  • Helps you create a new Office Live Small Business account, or allows you to sign up with an existing Office Live Small Business account.
  • Configures your server with links to the Office Live Web sites in the Windows SBS Console, Remote Web Workplace, and the Desktop Links gadget. These links enable you to browse to your Office Live site to view and manage these Web sites from your Windows SBS network.
  • Updates DNS settings with your domain name provider, if your domain name is managed by a participating domain name partner and if you choose to redirect your domain name to the Web site that is hosted by Office Live.

In this post, we will walk through the wizard, exploring how you can set up a new Windows Live account and Office Live Small Business Web site or sign up with an existing account and Web site. For the purposes of this post, let’s assume you’re Jeff Phillips, owner of Contoso Inc.

Note: Before starting this wizard, you must have completed the Connect to the Internet and the Internet Address Management wizards.

1. In the Windows SBS Console, click Shared Folders and Web sites and then select the Web sites tab.

2. Click anywhere in the area below Office Live Small Business Web sites, and then click the Set up your Microsoft Office Live Small Business Web sites Web sites task.

image 

A welcome screen displays.

3. Click Next.

4. On the Choose a setup option page, click Sign up for a new Office Live Small Business account.
Note: For the purposes of this post, we'll assume that Jeff Phillips has never created an Office Live Small Business account. If you have an existing Office Live  Small Business account, follow these steps:

a. Click Use an existing account. The Do you want to redirect the Web site traffic from <DomainName> to your Office Live Small Business Web site? page is displayed.

b. On the Choose a setup option page, click the appropriate setup option:

    • If you want to redirect visitors from <DomainName> to your public Office Live Small Business website or if you do not have a public website, click Redirect the Web site traffic from <DomainName> to my Office Live Small Business Web site. The DNS records change to redirect visitors to your public website, and your current Web site is no longer viewable on the Internet.
    • If you want to let visitors continue viewing your current website, choose Keep the Web site traffic at <DomainName>, where <DomainName> refers to your domain. The website traffic to <DomainName> will be maintained separately from your Office Live Small Business websites. If you later decide to redirect your website traffic, you can do so by following the step-by-step instructions in Manually redirect a domain to Office Live Small Business website.

5. A new browser window launches. Click Sign Up Free.

image
 

6. Fill in the form, and then click I accept to agree to the Microsoft Service Agreement and Privacy Statement.

7. A welcome page displays informing you that you’ve completed the signup process. Close the browser window. 

image

8. Return to the Set up your Office Live Small Business Web sites wizard.

9. Enter your Windows Live ID and password and then click Sign In

image

The wizard configures Office Live Business and Windows SBS 2008 with your new account. A confirmation screen appears informing you that the links to your Office Live Small Business Web sites have been updated successfully and, if applicable, that your site has been redirected.

10. Click Finish.

Congratulations: you have created your public and business applications Web sites! You can now manage your Office Live Small Business Web sites from the server by using the Windows SBS Console or from any Windows 7 client computer using Remote Web Workplace or the Desktop Links gadget.

The new site is added to the SBS console with their respective tasks associated:

image

Selecting either of the new Office Live sites will display several management tasks:

image

These tasks are shortcuts to the Office Live for Small Business management site. The management tasks are also available in the Remote Web Workplace and the Sidebar gadget. See Manage Office Live Small Business Web sites (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc626251(WS.10).aspx) for a table that lists the available tasks for managing your Office Live Small Business Web sites and the task locations.

Click below to watch a demonstration on how to get started with your Web site:

image

Conclusion

Microsoft Office Live Small Business makes it easier and faster than ever for you to project a professional presence on the Web with easy-to-use online marketing and management tools. You can easily manage your Office Live Small Business Web sites from the SBS console or from any Windows 7 client computer, making it even easier to keep your business running smoothly.

For more information: