A web presence is a location on the World Wide Web where a person, business, or some other entity is represented (see also web property and point of presence). Examples of a web presence for a person could be a personal website, a blog, a profile page, a wiki page, or a social media point of presence (e.g. a LinkedIn profile, a Facebook account, or a Twitter account). Examples of a web presence for a business or some other entity could be a corporate website, a microsite, a page on a review site, a wiki page, or a social media point of presence (e.g., a LinkedIn company page and/or group, a Facebook business/brand/product page, or a Twitter account). Every web presence is associated with a unique web address to distinguish one point of presence from another.
Aspects of Commercial Web Presence
- Website: The first, and often the most critical, aspect of web presence is the business’ website. The website needs to be written in a manner that will ensure people are able to find it when searching for the goods or services you provide through search engines. Not only does this include the readable text, but the tags and meta data of the website as well. This culminates in a site rich in search engine optimization (SEO) that is also reader friendly.
- Blog: Another component of your web presence, which is often integrated into the website, is a blog. A blog ensures that there is constantly fresh material being loaded onto the site. This in turn keeps the site properly indexed in search engines, helping to boost search results.
- Paid Search Advertising: Utilizing paid advertising for search results, such as Google AdWords, is a surefire way to keep your business listed at the top of results. It is important that AdWords campaigns are managed by someone highly trained in the platform, so you do not waste any time or money.
- Video Marketing: The use of video is key in capturing additional SEO as well as allowing your business to be found in non-traditional mediums. Video, which can be surprisingly inexpensive, is great for distributing through multiple video sites, including YouTube. Websites that have relevant videos on their homepage that are hosted on YouTube are much more likely to show up near the top of search results than sites that don’t.
- Social Media: Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are three sites your business needs to be active on if you want to maximize your web presence. Social media posts are a great way to stay connected with current, future and past clients. Additionally, the posts and pages themselves can be indexed and found in search results on Google, Bing, Yahoo and so on.
- Online Directory Listings: Your business needs to claim and maintain the many online profiles set up for it automatically by sites like Yelp, Yellow Pages, Angie’s List and others. What is very important about your business’ listings on these sites is having coherent and accurate information across them all regarding your phone number, business name, address and so forth. Inaccuracies could hurt your business’ placement in search results. A directory cleanup service can be used to make sure all information is correct.
The Importance of Having a Web Presence
- An Online Presence Enhances Accessibility
Having an online presence increases accessibility for your clients or consumers. It’s an effortless way for them to browse prices and hours and compare all these factors with your competition with a simple click. And it’s important that it’s effortless—nothing should take too long to load, and nothing should be difficult to find.
- An Online Presence Garners a Wider Audience
An online presence also allows the customer to come to you. Even when you’re closed, customers will be able to purchase goods and services online. Enabling your business to reach the widest audience possible will only be beneficial. The best part? When customers like what they see, they’re willing to share the news of your products and services with others. Allowing these secondary customers to see that your site is up-to-date will ensure that you come across as professional.
- An Online Presence Builds Relationships and Consumer Trust
The beauty of having a site, blog, and social media accounts is that they enable reviews and comments about your products. Any glowing praise that is publicly available will build your online presence and show even brand-new customers that you’re a reputable business. Even where there are less-than-kind reviews or comments, you can reach out to unhappy customers and resolve the issue so that your good name stays intact. It’s better to know about an unhappy client so you can make amends and carry your name forward, rather than having an angry customer sharing their distaste for your business without you even knowing they were unhappy in the first place. Being able to right wrongs only helps to build customer loyalty.
- An Online Presence Enables Effortless Marketing
Marketing yourself online can cost as much or as little as you decide. You don’t have to mail out coupons or flyers; you can simply share them with the click of a button. You can advertise your products and services for free across your social media sites and on your blog. And, if you focus on improving your SEO, then the search engines will work in your favor.
- An Online Presence Shows You What Works—And What Doesn’t
Finally, an online presence allows you to see the effects of all these efforts. Tracking the metrics of your site and social media accounts is quite simple. You’ll be able to see numerical proof of what works and what doesn’t. If you share a new blog post and see a huge spike in visits, then you’ll know you’ve hit on some content that your audience likes to see. Being able to see the results of your efforts will allow you to make improvements in every aspect of your business.