If you’re frustrated in your efforts to build a better, more effective web presence, you’re not alone. Some people might refer to a web presence as their “online presence,” or “Internet presence” – but they’re all one in the same. So, with the definitions out the way, let’s get right to the meat of the subject.
We can talk about things like online metrics, SEO, social media marketing, optimization and more. But at the end of the day, what do you really want? Most likely, you want to connect more customers or clients, build your business and have more money in your pocket after all is said and done. That’s the goal of building your presence online.
With that in mind, an effective web presence (at least our definition of one) will –
1. Continually attract the type of people who are interested in whatever you’re selling.
2. Cause people to join your mailing list to get more information about whatever you’re selling.
3. Open their wallet, take out their credit card and buy whatever you’re selling.
4. Return on a regular basis to repeat #3.
5. Increase your bank account balance month after month.
That’s the end result I”m looking for from a business perspective. Having an effective web presence is what will help make it happen.
Launch an Online Presence Around A Community
My first online “hit” grew out of a conversation that began in an online forum back in the late 90s. Within the forum, I connected with people from around the world that shared similar interests. It doesn’t matter what the topic or niche is. This simple approach still works today. After a period of time, I launched a website and built my first mailing list. By the time I announced my first “product launch” in the group, people were so familiar with me, everything clicked. I sold products and my new list grew overnight.
This Works In Any Niche
In 2009 I repeated this process in another niche and another forum. The results were the same. The only difference was, my skill set in 2009 was significantly better than it was in the late 1990s.
In my experience, it’s much easier to develop your online presence this way. When you’re already engaged in conversations with real people, you’ll also have a much better idea about what products or services would benefit the community. Also, when they join your mailing list you’ll find they’re also responsive to your mailings because they already know, like and trust you.
Building Your Web Presence Around Your Blog
If you don’t mind writing, I suggest a blog and focus on content marketing to get your site ranked highly on Google, Bing and Yahoo. Over 80% of the people who come to my websites do so after finding them while doing a search. Usually on Google. If I have information to share, I create it within a blog post and then email the link to my subscribers.
Everything I do centers around my domain and my blog. Do you see how that works?
That’s not to knock social media. It has its place. Even so, I can’t control the changes that can occur overnight with Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. On my own domain, I can control just about everything.
If you build your online presence around Facebook, for example, what happens if your group or page were suddenly shut down? I’ve actually seen this happen. The wrong kind of complaint – even if it’s bogus, can result in your page or even your account being shut down.
Also, if you focus all of your efforts on another platform and that particular platform becomes obsolete, then what? Imagine if you had a huge following on MySpace… only to see dwindle down to nothing?
I know people who’ve built large YouTube followings. Instead of giving the subscribers a reason to go to their main website, sign up and build their own brand and presence… they focused too much on YouTube. Then, one day YouTube takes down their channel on a copyright infringement and their business is never the same again.
This happens more often than most people realize.
Don’t Be Too Scattered
I know it’s easier said than done, but focus is critically important. With all of the competition out there today, if you want to get noticed, you have to create a meaningful connection with an audience. What’s meaningful to one group of people is just noise to another. That’s why you need to focus on a single objective long enough to grow roots in your marketplace.
I wish I could say that’s the way I did it. I didn’t. I bounced around like most people and wasted quite a bit of time in the process.
I tried a lot of different things and if I didn’t see results quickly, I moved on to other things. Unfortunately, that’s a well-traveled path. You can spin your wheels for years online and get very little results. Even with good products this can happen because without focus – people will see you differently than you see yourself.
Specialize, Don’t Generalize
Without focus, people will see you as a generalist. Generalists are a dime a dozen. They are the “me too” people in every market. I’ve come to the conclusion that most of us (myself included) start out as “Me Too” business-people. Then, one day we realize what we’re doing isn’t working so well. Hopefully, it doesn’t take long before you truly realize that what you’re building may have similarities to other businesses, but that’s where the similarities end.
Then you realize, something really has to change.
The prospects of starting over aren’t very appealing. You’re basically rebooting your web presence. But here’s the thing; all the time, energy and effort you put was part of the training that made you the person you are today. Compile that experience, boil it down, identify your greatest strength and become a specialist. In other words, be the very best version of who you ALREADY ARE.
Be the tried by fire entrepreneur you really are.
Sandi Krakowski is a good example of someone who not only stood the test of time, but also reinvented herself a bit over the years and adjusted to change.
Things change quickly today, but you have to build your foundation first. So whether you’re just starting out or have come to the conclusion that it’s time to reinvent yourself – you need to settle on your ONE THING and start moving forward with it.