Do you have a web presence? Do you know how to build a strong web presence for your business? You might not understand the importance of a web presence, but it plays a vital role in your online world. As a business, or a solopreneur, you need to understand the term web presence 101 in order to properly capitalize on the internet. And not to forget to rock the web!
So if you’re unsure what web presence is, what types of web presence there are, or the advantages of web presence, then you need to keep reading. In this guide, I’ll explain to you what it all means. Welcome to Web Presence 101.
What is Web Presence 101?
Alright, so what is a web presence? What does web presence mean, even? Well, traditionally a web presence is anything on the internet where you, your business, or your brand can be represented. So, for example, a website, blog or social media profile can all be a web presence.
That’s the simple explanation. The more complex explanation is that there are a few different types of web presences – owned, shared, earned & paid media. They’re quite different from one another so it’s important to know the differences.
Your owned media is the platforms and places you own that represent your web presence. So like this article, on this website, that’s my online presence, but it’s also a piece of owned media. Contrastingly, earned media are the hits you don’t own. These are things like the media or your customers talking about you on their blogs. On the other hand, shared media covers everything from partnerships, to community engagement and organic social sharing. And then there is paid media which basically means you drive traffic to your website with ads, sponsored content, etc.
Web Presence Analysis
So, you know there’s different types of web presence. But how do you tell which bits of your web presence 101 are effectively connecting you to the internet? How do you measure performance, efficiency, and overall effectiveness?
Well, you’d need to do what’s called a web presence analysis. This is a comprehensive analysis which takes a look at several key factors. How well your keywords work, how visible you are on search engines, the structure of your website, your online listings, how well your content is performing and if it is optimized, an analysis of your social media, your reputation, and your competition are all factors called into question.
Ultimately, the hope is that you glean enough information from this analysis to make practical changes to raise your online presence to a more visible state.
How to Create an Effective Web Presence
So, you want to make an effective web presence. Knowing how to create a strong web presence for your business can be tricky, so here’s a 10 step guide to finish off the discussion.
- Be engaged and present online
It may seem silly to have to say this, but the first step to an effective web presence is to have a presence at all. A Facebook business page is a start, but ideally, you want a website. This website should have a real domain. Ideally the URL should also not be an obvious extension of something else (like a free WordPress site has “sites.wordpress.com”).
- Stay engaged and present online
You need to keep this website updated. Make sure all information is up-to-date and accurate. If you have a news or blog section, post to it regularly because an abandoned website is almost worse than not having one. Basic maintenance of the site is what proves there’s someone alive behind the site and gives you a real web presence.
- Connect with the real world
You don’t have to build an online store to effectively market yourself online. What you do need is contact information. Where are you, and how do customers reach you? Be sure to provide an address, phone number, or other contact information in a prominent place.
- Answer frequently asked questions
Next, ask yourself what people call you up and ask most often. Is it hours? Services? Pricing? Menu? Whatever your most frequently asked questions are, can you answer them on your website?The key to an effective web presence is to make your site truly useful to your web visitors.
- “Dress” your website to impress
Content is queen, layout is king! Design your website to look clean and uncluttered. Stylize to express the character of your business, but never sacrifice usability. Make sure all important content is findable and readable. The most important points should be in the header and/or on the home page.
- Be flexible with your web presence
Your website will be viewed in many different ways — be sure your layout is responsive to support both web and mobile browsing. It should be working no matter what operating system, browser choice, or screen size your potential customer has.
- Expand your reach
The next step is to reach out and bring visitors to your website. Remember that Facebook business page that wasn’t enough on its own? Now’s the time to set up all the social media channels, and don’t forget to take advantage of Pinterest to drive traffic to your website too. These are a great way to interact with customers – but if you get it, maintain it!
- List your business everywhere
A lot of sites will list businesses, with web links and/or phone numbers, for free. Take advantage of these! A good place to start is Google Business. Taking the time to maintain these listings can literally put your business on the map — Google Maps, that is.
- Stand out from the crowd
Now you’re actually well on your way to a truly effective web presence, but to optimize, use Google Analytics and Facebook Pixels to track your website‘s performance. Make sure you include meta data on your pages, and adjust content as needed for SEO (search engine optimization).
- Be visible, even if it’s paid
Finally, it’s time to advertise. Advertising online will increase your reach once you have a good website with useful landing pages. But don’t waste your money if you don’t know how it’s done right. Hire an ad specialist so you can rock the web in no time.
There is no time like NOW!
No matter what you do, if you want to be an established online business owner you must have a web presence. But no need to rush it all, take your time! Start small with a single-page website that contains all the important information about your business/brand. Slowly add one social media channel at a time, but remember if you do it then do it right. And don’t forget to consider the latest design trends in 2021.
After all, less can be so much more. Design a client-winning website that has “rich” user experience to turn your web visitors into raving fans, be social and commit to growing your community by creating valuable content for your blog. Share your expertise on social media with engaging posts, always give more than you ask in return, and you’ll surely be on the way to rock the web in 2021!