Saturday, September 6, 2008

Your On-line Presence DOES Matter

beauty salon
Originally uploaded by kevin russ

At any given moment your site could be viewed by anyone on the planet. What will they see? What will they read? What will their first impression be? What brand (if I may use a marketing term) are you presenting?

These are all very relevant questions you should ask yourself. Whether your forte is a website with a product to offer, blogging, or simply social networking you should be somewhat concerned about the impression you are making.

When I first started blogging I was like many others. I was unsure of what I wanted to blog about. I knew I liked to write and I wanted an outlet. I had very little direction and no objectives. Hardly anyone was reading what I was writing anyway. The further back in my archives you go, the more random and incoherent I seem. I didn't consider the traffic I would receive either. When I posted Jesse James, Heath Ledger, and Flashbulbs I had no idea I would be attracting people on a daily basis who want to view the dead body of Jesse James. Just today I've had hits from South Africa, the Bronx, and L.A. searching for a peep at a man's body who died nearly 130 years ago. It's not exactly the type of traffic I desire, nor is it the first impression I want to make.

As my purpose has grown (as well as readers) I find myself recognizing the importance of providing content worth your while, a site that isn't too cluttered, and one that is easy to navigate. I admit, I still have some tweaking to do. I'm always open to suggestions.

You should be tweaking your brand. You should be concerned about the look and feel of your site. If you are not, it will show, and odds are it will drive your readers (except for the most loyal friends and family) away.

When it comes to social networking (Facebook, MySpace, etc.) it amazes me how little people think about how they are presenting themselves. Some of the most ridiculous and condemning photos are uploaded for all to see. Here's something you should always assume: Your employer and especially potential employers will search for your on-line presence. What will they see? Who will they see? What brand are you portraying? Don't fool yourself into thinking they won't or that it doesn't matter. My employer (various managers, fellow co-workers, etc.) follows my blog, yet I never promoted my site at work. I had always wanted to keep my on-line presence separate from my job. I kept it to myself, but they found me (and I'm okay with it) and your boss will find you. Will you be okay with it? Will they be okay with what they find? Thom Singer has an excellent post on this. He asks the question What's On Your Profile?

At any given moment your site could be viewed by anyone on the planet. What will they see? What will they read? What will their first impression be? What brand are you presenting?

Consider those questions carefully.


Ryan said...

Look at my comments under the short piece I wrote on Lynwood a few months ago. Proof that someone is watching...someone you may have never heard of!

Randy said...

click here

Andrew Weaver said...

Ryan - proof positive that you just never know.

Randy - thanks for the link. Let me clarify for those who may be hesitant to click on anything in a comments section of a blog that says, "CLICK HERE". That is a link to MSNBC and a story on how many businesses are running checks on their employees and prospective employees. Thanks for sharing!