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BLOG: You’ve Got Presence

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Last time we talked about why you need to think about getting online, and why your site needs to look good when you do. Today, we’re going to break down one very specific aspect: When you have a presence, suddenly, you have presence. Now that sounds ridiculous, we’ve got it, but bear with us for a moment. When you build a site, and you’ve never had one before, you’re now reaching not just the folks who heard about your practice from Mary and Joe across the street, but, instead, the 300,287,577 internet users in North America alone.Sound better? We thought so, too.

So, you’ve got your site, which means took you our advice. Now that you have a site, you’re now google-able, which means that people now know you’re actually a thing, and that means your practice exists to that 8.5 of 10 North Americans who rely on the internet for virtually all of their information. Don’t take it from us, though, here’s what the folks over at Small Business Trends have to say:

You stop being invisible.
I’m not trying to be flippant, but by creating a website you stop being invisible to the people trying to find you online. More and more studies are telling us about the ROBO effect where customers are learning to research online before buying offline. They’re typing their problems or needs into the search engine of their choice and are researching the companies that appear for those queries. If you don’t have a Web presence, there’s no chance of you showing up and you never even enter into their thought process. In 2011, you can’t afford to be invisible.” –from5 benefits to having a website for your small business by Lisa Barone on smallbiztrends.com

If that doesn’t drive home that you needed your new shiny site, allow the date to inform you of just how outdated not having one truly is. It was unacceptable to not have a website in 2011… In other words, without one until now, you were 3 years+ past being obsolete. Ouch. (Smarts a little, doesn’t it. It’s ok though, we’re here for you.) With all of that in mind, here’s the bright side:

The top benefit of a good website is that it provides another avenue for customers and prospects to find your company. Having a good websiteshows professionalism and provides customers and prospects with an easy way to engage and share your business online. In essence, your website is available and ready to promote you when you are not. It’s self-sustaining and a great way to attract customers.” –smallbusiness.yahoo.com

So, that’s a thing to feel good about, right? You’re online, people have new exciting ways to get to you. That’s phenomenal, right?Absolutely, but you’re skipping ahead of yourself a bit, so let us help you with that.

You’ve made it to the 21st century, and now you’re going to get all of the internet business ever, because that’s how the internet works, right? Not quite. The internet is fickle beast, and to tame it, you have to utilize one tiny (read: massive) piece of it: SEO. What’s that?

SEO: Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”) search results.” –Google

Basically you have to manipulate the internet with your web wizard powers to make search engines recognize that you’re worth paying attention to. Here’s an article to one of the best ways we’ve seen it explained:http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/beginners-guide-to-seo-best-practices-part-13/ SEO is important, because, without it, you won’t show up in the base-line searches performed by the clients you want. You’ll still show up in searches across the board, don’t get us wrong, but you’ll be really far back on the list, unless google is including location data in the user’s search. There are a lot of algorithms and huge amounts of information that could be divulged upon for days, but we’ll leave you with simply this: You want the search engines to know you’re there, so get on the SEO as soon as you can. It’s vital.

Now, you’ve stepped out of a small world of a few thousand potential clients, into a world with billions of potential clients, and all the while made the world itself a lot smaller for your little practice. That is the power of the internet. You’ve joined a very large community by opening up your office to this grand endeavor of communication technology, but you’ve also opened yourself up to a lot of competition. How do you get past that, and make your site the leader of the pack? We’ll tell you next week, but for today here’s to you, you’ve got presence, kid, you’re gonna be a star!