You Are Not Your Website
Something you will do well to accept as you use the Internet to promote your business is that you are not defined by your website. In fact, a company’s website ranks well down the list when people rate what sources of content they use to build a trust level with a given product, or company.
Do you need a website? Yeah, probably. A website can be seen as the authoritative content benchmark for your company. It’s like a stable backbone from which a wealth of information springs, feeding the diverse avenues on the information highway. And it’s a resource for someone to best weed fact from fiction while they are out there gathering information from more trusted sources. In this day and age, every business needs a website. But it is critical to understand that a website is not a web presence, and your web presence defines you far more than your website ever will.
Frustrating? Sure it is. But when we start to see studies pointing out how social media, opinion sites, profile ratings, and the way people desire to see a company meet them in these venues all factor into the way we interact with companies online, there is no denying that a business (and even a person) must build a web presence even more so than a website.
Think of it like this: Your web presence is like a garden full of vegetables and flowers. It requires planting, watering, weeding, tending, and pruning in an ongoing cycle that is never dormant. You must pay attention to it, and constantly nurture and protect it. Your website, on the other hand, is like a statue or fountain placed in the garden. Far more stationary, it does what you want it to, and beyond occasionally repositioning and cleaning it, once you add it to the garden, your done.
When your company becomes present online, it provides as much the ability to get your message across as it allows you to receive messages. And, this bi-directional communication is vital to business success. When you effectively push out your marketing message, you will attract customers. When you listen to what people are saying to, and about you all over the web, you become open to many more things. You could solve a customer service nightmare before it actually happens, or gain insight into a new way your product or services could be developed to meet client needs. Listening is handy that way.
So, accept that being online happens on a continuum. You won’t succeed by building a site and saying you’ve made it online. Successfully being online is an ongoing, ever-evolving experience that requires your presence and persistence.