Take Control of Your Web Presence: You DO Have One

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I’m always surprised to hear businesspeople and professionals say, “I don’t need a web presence”. This attitude is short sighted for a lot of reasons, but its biggest problem may lie in one simple fact: whether they know it or not they already have a web presence. All businesses do. It’s impossible to avoid having a web presence nowadays. You may be able to slip through the cracks if you’ve never been online, have a common name, and have pretty much done nothing in the last decade, but even then it won’t have been easy. If you own a business or have an office you’re name and information about you are online, period.

Google Yourself

That may sound odd, or vain, or even a bit risqué, but it’s a useful business tool. In fact, you should google yourself regularly. You need to know what’s being said about you and your business online. Don’t make the mistake of thinking nothing will be there just because you don’t have a website or a Facebook page and you think a tweet is how a bird says good morning. Go ahead and have a look. You may be in for surprise.

Land of the Walking Dead Directories

Way back in the early days of the internet everyone had wonderful plans for fantastic, easy, wave-of-the-future ways to get rich quick in the newly opened gold fields of cyberspace. Some did. Most were bitten in the hindquarters by reality while the internet moved off in directions they never expected. One idea that led to a lot of starry eyes followed by disappointed frowns was the online business directory. In theory, everyone would rush to these directories to find businesses and businesses would gladly pay a fee to be found. Reality chomped and things didn’t quite work out. Even so, plenty of these directories are still online telling your potential customers your business’ location, phone number, and hours of operation,…..as they were five to ten years ago. Last week I saw one that listed all that, plus the owner’s name and e-mail address. He died six years ago, but whoever started the directory didn’t stick around to make updates. Probably went on to greener pastures as a social media maven or an internet marketing guru. Doesn’t matter. The outdated information is still there.

The Reviews Are In. You’re Out

This one really might make you yelp, so to speak. Unlike some of the directories, online business review sites are booming, and regularly updated. I read several reviews, this morning, for a natural foods store. Some were very good. Others mentioned a lack of inventory, sky high prices, and a staff that sounded like they could have got jobs as prison camp guards if it weren’t for the fact that they seem to be unaware of the existence of soap and water. True? I don’t know but I’m not going to go out of my way to find out. I might have been willing to give them the benefit of the doubt if the owners had a nice welcoming website with lists of merchandise on sale and pictures of fully stocked shelves being tended by freshly laundered employees. They didn’t, so I won’t.

Take Control

Like it or not, your business has a web presence. That’s not something you can avoid. Maybe you can avoid thinking about it, but that’s not going to help. To keep your web presence from being old information on outdated directories, anonymous reviews by people who may never have given you a chance to address their concerns, and who knows what other flotsam and jetsam might be riding the tides of cyberspace, you need to take control of the web presence you already have. The best way to take control is to have a well designed and competently built website, presenting your business as YOU want it to be presented, along with an open and receptive social media campaign. If you don’t take that control, you only have yourself to blame if a customer goes elsewhere.

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