Web Presence - What, Why & How...

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Web Presence. What (is Web Presence?), Why (do I need Web Presence?) and How (to build a solid Web Presence?)

Valentine's Day is coming up, you want to give your wife, girlfriend or whoever a good gift, but you have no idea. What would you do? You need to get your carpet cleaned but do not know the local cleaners in your area. What would you do? Its your anniversary, you want to take your wife to a nice Italian restaurant, but want to know what are your options as you want the food to be good, price be right and location be convenient. What would you do? You need affordable health insurance but have no idea who to go to? What would you do? Many more such situations come in our day to day life, what do we do?  Answer is, we look for information, and we ask friends and colleagues, we call companies who sell those products or services... Really? I thought we just GOOGLE it...don't we? Folks, my conservative guess is 90 out of 100 times we Google it first before we do anything else. Why? Because we need all the information, we need to know what's available at what cost and what are other people's reviews... What does this tell us?

It tells us that our customers are looking us up on Google and they are trying to find more information about the product, the process, the price, the business, the reviews and everything else they are looking for... Question is do they find us? May be, may be not... May be they find us but are not happy with what they see and go to our competitor or may be they do NOT find us at all and go to our competitors... So either ways, unless they find us and like what they see, we are giving all our business to our competitors... Good for them.

What can we do about it? Simple, all we need to do is improve our online presence with the help of all the tools and technology available today, websites, blogs, facebook, linkedin, myspace, plaxo, twitter, squidoo, hubpages and the list can go on endlessly...

I assume that by now you realize and agree that you need a solid web presence in order to be successful today... You see, web presence is not that difficult to create and maintain as most of us think. If you do NOT want to spend the money on designing and developing a website, how about starting a blog? Its FREE, its self managed and a great way to share your knowledge and set the credibility amongst your target market. If blogging seems like a lot of work because you don't write or do not want to write, how about using other FREE tools like squidoo or hubpages to create a few webpages about your business and services and creating accounts on networking websites like linkedin, myspace etc where you can talk all what you want about you and your business, best of all you get links to your own pages on these websites that you can promote and maintain some online presence. Of course they are FREE (or almost free) but they do need your time and efforts in order to be informative and successful, so, count that in.

You can get the FREE versions or paid ones, you can get one or many or all what's out there...Do as you wish and feel comfortable doing. The best strategy however, is to have as many of them as possible (you never know where your customer is looking for you)... A well designed and optimized website is a great lead generation tool by itself, a well written and frequently updated blog can bring you more traffic than you can imagine as the search engines love the fresh and relevant content and accounts on the above mentioned (& more) networking websites will connect you to people all over the world, who can be your customers, vendors, coopetitors (that's a new one, huh, these are the folks you can cooperate and collaborate with and have some mutually beneficial relationsships to help each others business grow), or even competitors and if they age old saying "its all about who you know" still holds any value, then these network connections can prove more beneficial than any other place you invested your time in... All (websites, blogs, networking websites and social media applications) these together make a good web presence portfolio.

I understand it's a lot of information and a time taking process (can be overwhelming at times) to develop a solid web presence and my suggestion is nothing new - one thing at a time. Don't get into all of these and get yourself into a mess where you do not see any value coming out of your time and efforts and finally give up. Take one initiative at a time and finish it before you start another. If it's a website you think is important, get the website done, before you start blogging (much more time consuming than website or networking), if you feel more comfortable starting networking and building a connection base before getting into anything else, take one networking website at a time, avoid connecting to same set of people on each website, diversify as much as you want, be an open networker...Point is, its better to start slow, learn the ropes and then speed up the efforts to get ahead of the game instead of trying to find a short cut or speed-up without any knowledge of what lies ahead and fail...

You can't afford to have what I call "ZERO Web Presence". With a little bit of each - time, money and efforts investment you can build a pretty decent web presence in a short period of time, that makes sure that your customers find you when they are looking for you and more importantly they find what they were looking for and like what they see...

Good luck!

Devesh Dwivedi is a successful Management Consultant, Entrepreneur, with a diverse professional background, consulted and worked for a wide range of businesses from start-ups to Fortune 50. One of the all time Top Experts in Small Business & Startup category on Linkedin and an open networker available to help entrepreneurs and businesses. For more information please visit www.idea2inception.com

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