Friday, July 19, 2013

Top Five Ways to Build an Online Presence

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Everyone knows the importance of having a website, but we're all becoming aware that it isn't enough to have a simple page live on the internet. Customers and service users expect more than a page announcing the basics.

Here are five ideas to help you to boost your visibility, raise your profile and create a richer user experience.

1. Interact

Social media is a tricky thing to get 'right' and yet it's becoming more and more important. If you're on social media sites, get a feel for the tone and frequency of your peers' and competitors' pages and feeds before you dive in. Then make yours your own, with your organisation's individual voice. It's not just Facebook and Twitter out there, though. Use the technology at your fingertips to create relevant Wiki pages, blog posts and other platforms to get your brand out there and your name known.

2. Invite an action

Use the technology available to you. A flat page that never changes isn't going to do you a lot of good in the current fast moving market. Creating more dynamic content using options such as a Sharepoint website gives you much more control over your site and lets you create a much richer experience for your user base. You could put an interactive brochure online, add quizzes or any number of things that invite your readers to take an action and interact more deeply with your content and brand.

3. Be both familiar and exciting

Update your website regularly, making sure that your content is current and yet ensuring that you have a unified tone to the site. People become used to the 'feel' of a website and the human imagination is powerful. Familiar sites can feel like little homes, or rather favorite places to visit online can feel like a comfy cafe you frequent. Change is fine, even complete overhauls, but make it a positive experience for your return visitors and create it to make sense.

4. Know your niche

It's a temptation to write content in the hope that everyone will take a look, but realistically, you have a particular market to appeal to. Watching similar organisations or individuals will help you determine what that market may be, although yours may be slightly different. Create your content with those readers in mind. They are the people who will be your bread and butter and it is to them that you need to appeal. Once you've connected, keep interacting and make sure that your corner of the internet is a place that's of real value to them.

5. Connect

Connecting with the wider internet can bring more visitors and also more connected visitors. Adding content that's of real value, whether it's blog posts, forum comments, Facebook or Twitter interactions, adds to the other site or organisation and to your own internet presence. If you connect to a handful of sites connected to the same readership you're aiming for, you both benefit from sending readers to one another and watch your own readership grow organically.


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