httpThe future of every business is online. That’s a prediction that most businesses believe in and work towards fulfilling. At this point, the majority of businesses have an online presence. The online world is constantly changing, so companies will naturally reassess their online presence from time to time.

In most cases, when you review your online presence you’re looking for improvements. But there are a lot of pitfalls to avoid as well. To illustrate one of those pitfalls, we have a question.

What businesses do you think the following websites link to?

–          penisland.net

–          expertsexchange.com

–          therapistfinder.com

–          whorepresents.com

If you’re a fan of the TV show QI, you may already know. If not, we can assure you that none of them have any connection to male body parts, medical procedures or anti-social behavior. It’s just a list of address that represent the online presence of four real businesses. Some of them have, understandably, been changed but they were chosen as addresses for fairly standard businesses. Let’s look at them again.

–          Pen Island is a custom pen retailer. Their web address is still penisland.net.

–          Experts exchange was set up as an online community for experts to exchange ideas. It’s now moved to experts-exchange.com.

–          Therapist finder was a Californian tool designed to help people find a therapist. Its web address is now counselingcalifornia.com.

–          Who represents is a service for finding out what agent represents what celebrity. It still uses whorepresents.com.

Funny Web Addresses Affect Reputation

This list should provide more than a cheap laugh for marketers and businesses. It should act as a lesson in online presence and branding. You may see a web address as a small detail. Especially in a world where people share links or search through Google more often than they type URLs directly into browsers. But remember, brand is built on reputation and mistakes like this can affect your reputation. Think of it this way, do you want to be seen as a serious company, or that place with the funny address?

You may think this doesn’t apply to your company; you don’t work for a nursery in mole station so there’s no danger of a URL slip up. The lesson here is not just about URLs, it’s about detail. Your online presence needs to look and feel professional from top to bottom. Which means your URL, your twitter name, your Facebook URL; all of your branding needs to make the best impression. They’re selling your company, so they need to represent everything that’s good about it.

When you plan an online presence, you should consider how a prospective customer will view your branding and read your content. Just because you understand your content, or know how to read your URL doesn’t mean your prospects will read the same thing. So you need to take care over every detail, all it takes is one mistake to affect how people see your brand.

Once you develop a bad reputation, it can be difficult to shake. So it’s best to avoid making the mistakes in the first place. Which comes back to one of the most basic lessons in content production. Check, check and check again. Then when you’re sure it’s perfect, check it again. That lesson relates to every part of your online presence, URL, blogs, landing pages, even tweets. The better the details are, the better your brand will look.