Building your personal brand takes a lot of hard work and dedication. One of the most difficult aspects, and yet perhaps the most important in this digital age, is increasing your online visibility.

Once you have your website and blog in place, your next step is to direct people toward them. What good are they if no one is reading? To lead people back to your website, you must first step outside your comfort zone and visit with other blogs and websites within your particular industry and niche.

Before you step out, be sure you’re prepared with this list of five tips. These will help you increase your visibility online so that readers will know who you are, what you represent, and where to find you later.

1. Register with websites before you comment.

Image credit: Biznology Blog
Image credit: Biznology Blog

Your blogging platform may offer a gravatar that is recognized across several different sites. WordPress and Blogger are two that provide a profile and image for heightened visibility.

If your blogging platform doesn’t offer this type of identity service or you wish to comment on a blog that doesn’t recognize your gravatar, make sure you register with the website. This will allow you to display your name, website address, and perhaps even email address.

If registration isn’t available, at least be sure to leave as much information as the site allows. Always include your first and last name, contact information, and your website address.

In some cases, you’ll also be allowed to include your industry or specialty. The more information you can include, the easier other visitors will be able to find you.

2. Use the signature feature in emails.

Don’t assume people will know who the email is from by looking at the email address. In fact, the busiest people will forget by the time they finish reading the message. Always include the signature, as well as an image of either you or your company’s logo. You’ll also want to include links to the most important sites, such as your company website, online portfolios, and social profiles. You may need to check a box within your email client to ensure the signature is visible on replies and forwards, too.

3. Participate in niche forums every week.

If you provide useful information in a forum, you quickly become recognized as an expert in your field. Harness that power by also including relevant links within your comments that lead back to your website or blog, particularly if the topic applies to articles or blogs you’ve written in the past.

When you dedicate two to three days per week to seeking out niche forums, very soon you’ll have appeared before many of the professionals in your field and a great many more potential customers. Just be careful not to appear spammy by contributing comments that have no bearing on the discussion as a means to include your links.

4. Participate in user-driven websites.

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Reddit is a very popular user-driven site that reaches millions of people on a daily basis. You’ll likely find several subreddits that fit your particular industry and niche. Spend some time each day both contributing content and commenting on others’ articles and submissions.

Remember that Reddit is certainly the most popular, but it’s not the only website out there driven by users. You may find some that have been created specifically for your particular industry.

Take the time to research the available sites and then create a contribution calendar. Forgetting or letting the user-driven websites sit on the backburner for too long happens very often, so you want to go in with a plan.

5. Be the king or queen of follow-up.

Always respond to comments and replies to your blog posts, user-generated content on Reddit, and forums. Too many people simply drop in, leave a link, and then disappear until next time.

Image credit: Imgflip
Image credit: Imgflip

Other users of these sites will quickly identify those who are only there to spam everyone with links and begin ignoring—or worse, aggravating—the members who don’t actively contribute.

The worst thing you could do is gain a reputation for selfishness and spamming. Engagement, on the other hand, will quickly endear you to other users.

You’ll instead build an audience based on your knowledge and willingness to provide quality content.

Building and maintaining an online presence takes time and dedication. You’ll need a calendar and a task list to ensure you stay on top of all your online activities, but the reward is certainly worth your trouble. In no time, you’ll build an enviable online presence that will quickly boost your business.

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