Create an online presence

Do you have an online presence? Expand your brick and mortar storefront or your home-based business with these tools:

A domain name
You want your domain name to remind people of you and your business. Ideally, it will match your company name. Like your company name, it should be short, easy to spell, and easy to remember. Keywords, trade names, and clever phrases have all been used successfully as domain names. If your company name or domain name is frequently misspelled, consider domain names with the misspellings. You would purchase these domains and redirect them to your primary site (the domain name you publicize). You can do the same with variations like .net, .org, and .biz of your primary name.

A Web site
Unlike a sales clerk in a store, your Web site will be working for you around the clock including when you are at work on another project, away for the weekend or a holiday, spending time with your family, sick, or asleep.  Like a sales clerk, you want your Web site to ask and answer the “How can I help you?” question and provide value and easy-to-access solutions. The focus should be on the visitor’s needs with a small portion reserved for telling about you. Your online presence here is not so much an autobiography as it is an indirect statement that you care and want to help. 

A blog
You want a blog for multiple reasons. A blog gives people a glimpse at your personality and your expertise so they will come to know, like, and trust you. It gives your clients an opportunity to offer feedback so you can make improvements and corrections before a problem becomes a crisis. It also allows you to easily record and share innovations and discoveries. 

Membership on social networking sites
You want to participate in conversations that build relationships with prospects, clients, and other professionals. These people aren’t just attending face-to-face networking events. They can be found at virtual conferences and Webinars. They ask questions and seek answers on forums. They may be looking for your help or input on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or an industry-specific site. Go where your interest takes you. Participate and add value.

A profile
You can and should use the same profile for all your social networking membership sites. This makes it easier on you and keeps people from becoming confused over who you really are. Besides specifying your name, your company name and Web site URL, briefly describe what problem you can solve for a prospective customer. Be sure to add a picture of you to enable recognition at live networking events.

Submissions
Submit your name, a short description of your business, an e-mail address, and your Web site URL to directories. These can be related to your Chamber of Commerce, alma mater, or industry. Read blogs and posts and submit insightful comments. Write articles and press releases and submit them to online sites.

Start now to create or increase your online presence.

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