Is Your Online Reputation a Business Asset?
All businesses and entrepreneurs want their website to enhance their professional reputation. After all nobody develops a web presence to make themselves look foolish. Do they!? A credible website, with great content and with plenty of loyal visitors will repay its’ investment many times over.
Here are some tips for establishing a professional online presence.
Yes there are other platforms out there, Blogger, Typepad, Tumblr, but as far as I am concerned WordPress.org is far and away the best platform for any entrepreneur to develop an on line presence. This blog is a WordPress blog and it serves me very well.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of templates that even those with no online skills can adopt and make their own. Plus, due to the popularity of WordPress there are many great sites that provide “how to” video tutorials on everything from creating menus, adding your first post and changing the size of an image.
If the thought of widgets, plugins and footers brings you out in a cold sweat then there are many experienced and skilled web developers who will be able to help you develop a professional looking website.
Keep it simple and professional
Just because other websites have flashing images or fancy colour schemes and font types it does not mean that you have to. Keep in mind your audience, and design and develop your website around what they would expect.
A simple web site that helps establish who you are and what you do will build trust with your readers and make your business look good. Make your site clean and simple, with just a couple of bold images per page. Keep it easy-to-read with well optimised text and a tasteful colour scheme.
Social networks such as Twitter, Google+ and Facebook are a great way to increase the awareness of your brand and build a community of interested ‘followers’, making your business and your website more popular and more trustworthy in the balance.
Social media is not something that needs to be taken lightly and does require an investment of your time each and every day to build and enhance relationships to the point where you have fans who are willing to share your work with their friends and following.
Think back links
A backlink is when another web site refers back to your site. This referral acts as a positive vote that what you are writing about is good and therefore people should go and take a look because it is useful.
When this happens the search engines look at this referral and rate it based on factors such as site authority and relevancy. If there is a good match then this link is seen as a positive affirmation and over time the search engines will reward you with an increase in traffic.
For search engines, links from other sites to yours (called ‘backlinks’ or ‘incoming links’) act as a sort of ‘positive vote’, building credibility. The more relevant and well-respected the site that links to you, the greater the effect.
Methods to build backlinks,
- Issue a press release when you have juicy content to share about your business.
- Become a valued contributor in topic related forums using your website link in your bio.
- Provide content for other blogs or websites in your industry. This is known as Guest posting.
- Use Social media and post your content in Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn
- contact site owners who share relevant content and ask if they could link to you in return for you linking back to them
Write outstanding content
Finally, the best way to build credibility, popularity and to enhance the online reputation of both yourself and your website is simply to provide outstanding, educational, informative or entertaining content on a regular basis.
Yes, outstanding content is in the eye of the reader but if you commit to providing great content then over time people will take notice and spread the word.
Establishing an online presence is not easy, it takes consistency, hard work and dedication but if you do it the right way then you will build credibility and enhance your business reputation making you a prime contact when people need your services or expertise.
Grow as your business grows
You may find that after a certain amount of time your business outgrows your existing online real estate, and just like in the real world where you might move to bigger and better premises, you can change and enhance your online presence by updating what you have or quite simply by developing a new website that supports and leverages your existing efforts.
This a position that I am pleased to say I’m in at the moment, and although I will be continuing with my Big Thinking Online blog at JamesDebono.com I am currently in the process of developing a new website to support my business as I move in a slightly different direction. Needless to say it’s a very exciting time and I shall update you all as soon as I can!