Sep 14 - 20, 2009

Web presence is the impact an individual, commercial and non-commercial organizations, or corporation has on the World Wide Web.

WWW is a place for your business on the Web. Whether you use that place to share information about your business or choose to sell online, web presence is a key asset for many businesses.

Getting your business online is about reaching out to and connecting with millions of potential customers, buyers, and partners. Web presence expands your market significantly and immediately. Increasing numbers of consumers are using the web to find everything. It is their first step to locating a business around the corner as well as around the globe. A sound organic search strategy should be the core of every business's marketing efforts.

This goes back to the old proverb of running a business (location, location, location). You must be where people are actively searching for your product or service offerings.

However, imagine that you had the perfect retail location and yet your storefront was dirty. Perhaps, once you get into the location, not a single item has a price tag and the salespeople are nowhere to be found.

That traffic coming through your parking lot is not going to help much, is it?

There are three basic rules that you need to follow to have a successful web presence; the look and feel matters, usability and search engine optimization matters.

The look and feel of your web site is a key component to get success on the web. For example, no one would like to drop his credit card info on a poorly designed and developed web site. No one will trust it. If I were a common searcher, I would probably spend about five seconds on the page that I landed on, then hit the back button and check out the next result.

Business must build a web site that shows credibility and trust with the target audience. Because when you are online, a competitor is always next door to your perfect location. And, next door to them is another competitor. Do you get the picture?

Once you get people to your site, what do you want them to do? Download a white paper? Sign up for a newsletter? Complete a lead form?

Now, be honest with yourself. Are you making this action obvious to your visitors? People on the web have very short attention spans. One important point is, how long does it take your web site to load?

Now, just because I put search engine optimization last on this list, it does not mean that this is the last thing you should do. Your SEO team should research (or at least approve) the content management system and coordinate the design and site development. SEO is the foundation of your efforts.

Have you ever put yourself in your customer's shoes and searched the web for your own services? If not, you should do. This will be a reality check for most small businesses. To rub salt in the wound at least one of your competitors will be in the search results.

The more search engine friendly you make your web site, the more usable the site will become. If your content is good enough, people might want to link to your web site.

So, next time you are trying to determine your SEO goals, stop for a moment and think about the big picture. SEO is just one part of web success.

Web presence could also be translated into "Google Presence" as well. Many professionals who I know have very few references that point to them on Google.

I regularly advise people to increase the volume of their Google references by publishing and producing material for at least two reasons. First, the population at large (your potential clients) can find you easier the more Google entries you have; and secondly, there is a certain perception about the value that you bring to your end-user population based on the number of entries that are found in Google. Somehow, your competence and your credentials are reinforced by having a significant Google presence.

So, what is the easiest way to create a Google presence?

My students know that because of my blog and because I have columns in various Internet newspapers, that I effectively have the keys to the backdoor of Google. Anything that I publish lands on Google within five minutes.

Unbelievably, the fastest and easiest way for you to get yourself instantly recognized by Google is to provide comments on other people's blogs. If you write a comment at the bottom of the blog entry, you will be picked up nearly immediately by Google. If you get in the habit of writing comments regularly, Google will find those comments easily and your numbers will begin to add up.

Make sure that you use your e-mail signature, including your name, address, and phone numbers at the conclusion of your comments if you want people to find you easily. Get in a habit of making comments; comment on this piece. Review past entries that I have written and comment on those too. The more comments you make, the faster and the heavier your Google profile will become. It is an easy trick that will work for you like a charm.