Today every business is talking about how important it is to have a ‘web presence’ and to be searchable on the internet. To most people that means having a website that can act as a virtual flier/advert/point of contact for your company and draw people to your service. However a web presence is also more than just a website, but can be generated over a range of different sites and web services. Some argument has been made that today there are so many ways to have this ‘presence’ that a website is not even necessary. While that may not be the case just yet, companies who only have a website will certainly be missing out, and the most successful businesses will definitely be those who give their business a voice on the net in several different ways.
So what else is there for your company that is not just owning a website? Well for one example there is Twitter. Twitter is a new phenomenon that is quickly swept the net and become a house hold term, already with many of its own abbreviations and slang.
Basically anyone sets up an account, and then throughout the course of the day they post little ‘tweets’ through their computer, phone or PDA which act as little status updates or amusing anecdotes to let visitors know what they’re doing. For a business this might be a mix of amusing insights into the managers’ day (‘Burnt the toast which revealed the face of Bono. Ate it.’) along with industry news and news of offers and changes to their own business. This way your company has a very real presence that is automatically updated (and the ‘tweets’ can be viewed on your website via a ‘widget’ whether or not the viewers have Twitter) which will make them feel more like they know the company and make you seem more ‘human’ and ‘accessible’ (‘Twitter king’ Stephen Fry believes that MPs should Twitter regularly to let people feel like they know them more) and at the same time to make their ‘followers’ and visitors to the website more aware of breaking news (which will be highly convenient to update). At the same time as your Twitter page gains prominence, so links to your website will be worth more to Google helping it to rank more highly in their searches.
Another similar way to get a web presence that doesn’t involve creating a website is through Facebook. Here a business can have a Facebook profile and amass groups of friends (who will be informed of your news and updates on their home feed – free marketing) and a group or fan page, which will again allow you to attract more visitors to your website and to email all of the members of your group making it similar to owning a mailing list. Again links to your website from your Facebook will not only drive visitors to your site, but also encourage Google to rank it more highly. And again like the Twitter updates you can encourage people to add you on Facebook on your website. Then why not have a MySpace page and a Bebo page on top?
Another good way to build up a web presence online is with a blog which will give visitors regular updates again regarding relevant news, information and anecdotes. These get set up through websites such as Bebo and Livejournal among others and are very simple to update and maintain.
This way you can again build up a following that takes little time to update and can drive more traffic to your website for no cost and use this as a means to promote goods and services.
Another good option that will be appropriate for a lot of businesses is YouTube, which allows users to upload videos of themselves and others to again get subsribers who will automatically get informed of updates. These videos can contain links on the information section back to your site to generate more traffic and can also be embedded in your website to help give it an interactive quality and help raise the profile of the videos in a kind of symbiotic relationship.
Through all these methods you can then begin to build a network of viewers and followers to get more traffic and followers which will begin to grow exponentially on its own. This way you will also be spreading a ‘brand’ throughout the net and be raising awareness for your business as well as showing that your company is on the cutting edge and has kept up with the current technological means of spreading the word.