Online Presence: What Is It and Why Should You Care?

by | Aug 9, 2009 | Marketing & Selling

There are many ways to express what the term “online presence” means. These are three that are most important to you and your business:

  • A website.
  • Your ability to be found easily on the Internet by others.
  • The collection of all online mentions of an individual or organization.

Let’s go over each one individually.

A Website

What is a website? Depending on its purpose, it can take on many forms.

  • A traditional static website.
  • A blog.
  • A squeeze page minisite.

When the web was just getting started, most websites were merely a collection of pages coded with HTML. As things got more sophisticated, navigation was added and, eventually, content management systems helped keep up with sites that had a continually growing number of pages.

Then Web 2.0 came upon the scene and the interactivity of blogs was added to the mix. Blogs were initially an easy way to create an online journal, but have gone way beyond that now. In fact, this website (and most of my others) all use a blogging platform as a content management system.

Squeeze page minisites are, in a way a throw back to the traditional site, but they are much more focused. Their purpose in life is to collect visitor information and/or make a sale.

Your web presence could have any or all of these types of websites.

Your Ability To Be Found Easily on the Internet by Others

This meaning of the term “online presence” looks at it from a search engine optimization point of view. It asks the question, “How easy it is to use a search engine to find your main website?” Does your website come up on high on the first page of search results for the key words you are targeting? Also, if someone is looking specifically for you or your business, can they find it using your name?

The Collection of All Online Mentions of an Individual or Organization

This is the zeitgeist of “you” on the web. Google your name and you might be surprised by what you find. Once, when I did that, I found that my name was on a JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) web page. Turned out they posted all the names of people who had their signatures sent to Saturn aboard the Cassini probe.

Such a search of your name will not only bring up your own websites, but the websites of others that mention your name, such as organizations you belong to, social networking sites you have joined, professional directories such as Ziggs, article directories, other people’s blogs and websites and much more.

And this is where you need to be careful. Things you post in forums, on blogs and on social networking sites can come back to bite you on the butt. So, before you make that biting remark, make sure you wouldn’t mind if a potential client found it.

Why Should You Care?

It is now pretty much to the point where people go online to search for the things they once looked for in brick and mortar stores or printed directories like the Yellow Pages. If you don’t have a way to be found on the web, you will loose business. But it’s more than that, too.

As I mentioned above, people will search for you on the web to see if you are the type of person they want to do business with. Your online footprint is a way of defining your brand. When I finally realized that last point, I gave a heavy sigh of relief. The vast majority of what I’ve posted on the Internet is just fine. So, when my Mom Googles me, I won’t have any explaining to do!

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