Developing Your Personal Brand Online

Understanding the importance of taking your personal online brand seriously.
by: Jim Warholic
Brand ImageThere are some things that are important to note in the world of online personal brands.

No matter what happens in the news, your name will likely appear in some form or another online. If you have a common name, like Joe Smith, your name will likely be linked on many websites. On the other hand, if you have a unique name, then you will likely see your name on but a few websites, but the brand image on display might not be to your liking. I am not talking about a picture of yourself, (although that may also be not to your liking). What I am talking about is the image businesses or consumers that are searching on your name, have in their minds about the person of who and what you stand for.

With the numbers of new websites being published on a daily basis for all types of groups and organizations, it is very likely that you will find your name online, and in more than one location. Think about all the different correspondences you have had over the years with things like soccer and baseball groups, local business community groups, and donations at public events that were recorded and then published online. All of these are tapped into by the search spiders. We can’t really get away from the search engine spiders, and it really isn’t the search engine industry’s fault for the information on the Web, since many of the items are simply a matter of public record. All of this is important to understand that your name has a brand image, and there are two choices that a person can make in building up their brand online by either, doing nothing, or taking a proactive approach by developing your own brand on the Internet.

How Do You Develop Your Brand Online?

Are you a small business owner? If so, you should consider having a short biography about yourself on your business website. It doesn’t need to be an in-depth bio., but it could feature a little history about your business and the background information about yourself. The real estate industry and specifically Realtors for years have understood and developed their brands. Typically it is the Realtor’s name that someone identifies as the person doing business with. Likewise, small business owners should develop not only their business brand names but could also develop their personal brand image for a better representation and brand recognition in the market place.

Another way of expanding your personal brand is to start your own domain name website. Corporate CEOs from the fortune 500, down to the smaller organizations, from all over the world are getting involved with creating their own unique brand images in personal websites. They are taking an active approach by making sure they can say the things, the way they want to say them, and not leaving everything to how reporters report it. Many times a reporter will only give snippets of quotes in an online news article, and then write a story of what he or she thinks instead of what the individual had to say. Editors then get a hold of the story and cut out additional information, then slap on a catchy title that may or may not be to a person’s liking. Corporate people can now set the record straight with and in their own websites.

Not an owner of a small business or large corporation? Then, you can still set up your own website, or online blog for free. Consider and get started today, creating the brand image that you want the world to see.

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Jim Warholic the online marketer.

The Most Important Question(s) on the Internet

20/20 Business Glasses
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Are potential new customers seeing your website online or finding your global or local business with the search engines? Are you getting sales leads and customers from the Internet? Do you want more customers now?

By: Jim Warholic

Learn how Internet marketing and online advertising with Google, Yahoo!, and Bing Search (formerly named Microsoft MSN Search) engines can drive new customers to your online doorstep and even deliver them to the inside of your store, where they can shop and buy the products or services your business provides. Take the next step with Professional Web Services today.

In the competitive business world we live in, a business must be proactive with 20/20 business vision when it comes to marketing their company online. Any business that is selling products or services to other businesses in the case of B2B, or selling to consumers in the case of B2C would not dream of going without hiring some good sales people. Many times these businesses will be paying top dollar to get the best sales person they can. But, some businesses will neglect what I would consider the most important salesman for their company, their corporate website.

Presidents And CEOs

The buck stops here, with the president and CEO of a company. I am going straight to the top on this one. These are the people that are the ultimate decision makers. They provide the guiding force and direction for a company. While a president and CEO does not have to be a marketing genius, they do have to understand the marketing basics, at a fundamental level, for the health and well being of an organization. In essence a good president and CEO knows the importance of hiring the right people for the job. They know that good marketing is key for business success.

Many of the presidents and CEOs know hiring good people is key to corporate growth, but have not really grasped the importance of the Internet search engines, Internet marketing, and online advertising. They themselves use the Internet on a regular basis for searching all sorts of things but there is a disconnect between the searches they personally do and other people searching for what their business does. Small business company owners seem to be especially guilty of this Internet shortsightedness. Simply put, they are not seeing 20/20 business vision, and sadly they don’t even recognize their poor business vision and the need for good business glasses. They have the misplaced idea that a website is just something you are forced to have in business, instead of wrapping their arms around it, promoting it, and realizing that the website is, or should be, one of their most important assets a company can have. This business mentality is not strictly limited to small businesses. Corporate America has a certain segment group that is just as guilty as their small business counterparts. They have gotten fat and happy doing business the old way and have not adapted to the changes taking place online.

Embracing Internet Marketing

More Sales For Your Business: Internet Marketing ServicesGrasping the potential the Internet has for your business is absolutely paramount to focusing a fair amount of your marketing and advertising dollars online. A salesman can not be available 24×7 but the website can operate round-the-clock, and be accessible to customers that are looking for those frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the products or services your company provides. In addition, detailed information can be available to your customers at their browsing finger tips. Information such as application notes, drawings, manuals, material properties, and type specifications can be made available to customers.

The website is so powerful that it can do most of the work of all your sales force combined. This allows your sales force more time to concentrate on closing sales and building better customer relations. The fact of the matter is the website can help support the structure of the company and provide excellent tools for the sales department to use. Simply having the information at both the customer’s and your sales department’s fingertips will make everyone’s job much easier and will result in more sales. Email’s written can then be linked back to the specific information being requested. Customers will come to rely on your company’s website as being a good source of information. This helps promote your brand and keeps the customer’s focus on you, instead of the competition.

B2B, Business-to-business customers are becoming much more demanding in what they want from a source provider. They demand the information now. If you don’t provide that information, it is just a matter of time before they go somewhere else. Maybe you have worked hard to build up customer relationships in your business. But in today’s business climate, where the weather changes quickly, and customers are likely to get blown off course quickly by the competition, it is imperative to set aside a marketing and advertising budget and focus this toward providing a solid online presence.

Forget the smoke and mirrors approach with the website design. You must have substance, and that substance involves work, time, effort, and a fair amount of financial investment. To be sure, the website is really only the starting point from an Internet marketing perspective. The website must be promoted in the form of quality link building, continued website development in the form of new content and regular site maintenance updates, along with regular detailed evaluations and analysis. With billions of pages online, not to mention the online directories with sometimes hundreds of competitors lined up and down the pages there has to be marketing focus with ongoing keyword development and targeting of new market segments to really standout online.

The businesses that standout on the Internet, and standout first online with the search engines for their specific industries’ keywords, will be in a position to capture those early sales leads and new customers.

As the owner, president, or CEO of your organization, you can do only so much yourself. Start today, set aside an Internet marketing and online advertising budget to promote your business on the Internet.

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Staying on Top of The Internet

Understanding The Online Web

The Internet is becoming much more interesting in our life and times as time ticks on. Staying up to date with the latest technologies available is most important for the B2B – Business to business, B2C – Business to consumer, and the C2C – Consumer to consumer world. Most small businesses today are not taking advantage of even a fraction of the power available through the Internet. The Web has created a solid foundation for marketing, advertising, and sales for all types of small businesses.

Large corporations for years have been using the Internet as a means of having their websites be a supplement and in some cases the main tools for bringing products and services to the market place. Large corporations have worked hard to establish their brand with the consumer or in the case of B2B; other businesses. For the small biz community however, many have not even thought about how they can establish their brand online through Web traffic on the local Internet markets.

Even with the advent of the Internet, consumers still purchase goods and services locally which supports businesses, stores, and service providers in their local communities. However, marketing and advertising in the past was through a Yellow Page Ad or the local newspaper. Things certainly have changed in how consumers and buyers find things. Now, because of the behavior of consumers and buyers, there is also a need to market and advertise a local business using the Internet.

Consumers and businesses continue to push the big Yellow Page books off to the side. In fact, if you haven’t looked at a recent Yellow Pages book; the publishers are trying to reduce the costs to print these books by making the text type so small that you need a magnifying glass in order to read it. I have become most disgusted with our local Yellow Pages for this very reason. I am now much more inclined to go to Google Search and do a local search in my community rather than pull out the fine print. I suspect that the younger generation (post Internet) uses the Yellow Pages printed book even less.

Millions of consumers are using the Internet daily to search out small biz. These figures are growing, especially as High Speed Internet has become more popular. Local directories are sprouting up all the time. These directories are becoming a way of providing a link to your B2B or B2C website that can support your business. Having information related to the specifics of your business can be an excellent way of being able to market and advertise 24 x 7 x 365 days a year. See information about various small biz strategies and expanding market reach online.

We have heard the story from some businesses having had a website for years that, “no one ever comes to our website.” In their mind they have written off the Web and their website as being, “a waste of time and money.” These business owners have placed very little effort into marketing their business online through good search engine marketing strategies or what is known as SEO, Search Engine Optimization.

Search Engine Optimization is actually a misnomer. The term SEO or Search Engine Optimization and another term often used is SEM or Search Engine Marketing are actually terms used to describe optimizing a website for the particular keywords and keyword phrases to be found in the search engine searches for industry specific keywords related to particular fields of business. The search results pages for keyword queries can be a boom for sales on all types of products, services, organizations, and brands if a company starts being displayed in the search results pages. The SEO and SEM needs to be much more than just an optimizer of the company website. There are hundreds of onsite variables that affect the ranking of a website. Additionally there are countless other offsite variables that directly affect a website showing up in the results pages. For example from a Search Engine Algorithm, the quality of, and the topics of other websites that link directly to another Web site is a key variable. Certainly as Search Algorithms have been improved over the years has had a direct impact on the value of links from other sites. See: Search Engine Optimization Question

The process of marketing and advertising online is in a state of flux for B2B, B2C, and C2C. But, that is no different than having to battle the competition in other media outlets for any business. The Search Engine Companies are looking for the best results possible. Search Engine competition is good for the consumer. If there was only one search engine on the horizon, with one group of search engine results, and only one online advertising model, then they would have a monopoly online. The search engine company could make it so no other website could ever get into the natural or organic search results. A monopoly search engine company could force everyone to start paying for online advertising. This however, would be very foolish indeed. Consumers and businesses are free to use Google, Yahoo, Bing or any number of other smaller search engines that are starting up.

Trust is the key. Without trust and another all to often forgotten concept, Internet ethics, consumers could very easily migrate to other search services. Search as we know it is quite new. In just the past ten years we have seen Search develop into what has become an Internet marketing facilitator. The whole process of search can be summed up for the business world as a Marketing Middleman. The industry for business is about connecting buyers to sellers; matching up the needs of some with the products and services of others, and focusing on the transfer of information from one entity to another. If everything was Black and White it would surely make for a very dull colored world. That is why we will continue to see innovations, new technologies, and powerful online programs that will provide a great benefit to all business in the world.

The future of Search is limitless. I suspect in another ten years that we will be blown away at the power at our fingertips. Consumers and businesses will continue to embrace the Internet for eCommerce, research, and a host of other solutions that have not even been invented yet. The only question is; will you be on the forefront of the solution and embracing the Internet for your business?

To get your business found online contact Professional Web Services today. With powerful solutions for your B2B, B2C, or C2C business through Internet marketing services, Online advertising strategies, and Web branding solutions. Get the Business Solution today.

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Glib On Privacy – Use Online Tools to Check Now!

I have seen the Internet grow from its infancy to where it is today with billions of pages of information.

Many individuals, both older and younger take online privacy very lightly. The younger crowd is using the, and other areas online for sharing way too much personal information in my opinion. This younger group of people haven’t a clue how this could possibly affect them in the future when prospective employers will be doing online background checks on these prospective employees. The older group of individuals also are unaware of the power of online search and what type of discovery can be attained by advanced searches using the search engine tools available.

To really understand the implications of privacy online, one only has to do a Google , Yahoo, and Bing Search on their own names. To do this may require a little advanced search engine search techniques, especially if you have a common name like, Joe Smith.

Here are a few helpful insights into doing a search for yourself.

We will use Joe Smith as our example for Google Search.

First try just doing a search for Joe Smith. In this particular example it shows a large number of Joe Smiths. To filter it further try doing a search with “Joe Smith” in quotes as shown. This will bring up the exact results for the name in quotes. This produces less search engine results but does not exactly break it into just one particular individual. Try adding a middle initial or middle name to the search criteria. Then filter it down even further to the area of the country or world. For example, let’s say that your are a Joe Smith, living in Washington. Then just add the word Washington after your name in the search box. “First I. Last” State

Most people are surprised by the number of online results for their names. This might be OK for individuals that understand the privacy aspect, but have chosen a high profile profession. Others on the other hand might not understand the implications of writing online, publishing personal content, or having their names posted in an online company directory, or postings in forums, or being a member of a local soccer or softball club in which their name is picked up by the search engines.

A little advice for those wishing to maintain as much privacy as they can. Consider carefully where you post your name online. If you are a member of a club or if your company has an online directory ask that your name or even your email address be kept offline. Do regular background searches on yourself to verify your brand image online. Use all of the major search engines to double and triple check the results.

Writers and journalists, be careful of who you quote, even in newspaper reporting. Consider the privacy of individuals. News stories are picked up and published online. Consider the ethics aspect when reporting information in news stories. Bloggers too should follow ethical standards when publishing information online.

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It Pays to Fight the Good Fight

In a victory for privacy, Google stands up to the government

Google Wins Ruling on Turning Over Search Queries to Government

March 18 (Bloomberg) — Google Inc. won a partial victory in a battle with the government when a federal judge ruled yesterday that the company didn’t have to turn over customer search queries to the U.S. Justice Department.

As far as I am concerned, this is a major victory for everyone.

As time went on, the government’s demands for search information had dwindled down from asking for billions of urls and a entire week’s worth of search results, then “1 million Web addresses and a week’s worth,” then “50,000 Web sites indexed by Google and the text results of 5,000 random search requests,” and finally they wanted “10,000 of the Web sites and 1,000 of the search requests.” Fed’s Google Search Limited

In the ruling the only thing that Google has to give is a random sample of 50,000 web addresses.

US District Judge, James Ware, San Jose, California ordered Google and the Justice Department to come up with a method to randomly select the 50,000 Web addresses in a way that would not force Google to disclose any confidential information. He gave both sides until April 3 to raise any problems with the confidentiality requirement.

This is a win for Google and online privacy rights. No other search engine even considered standing up to the government and say No. The other Search Engines simply handed over all the data requested by the government a long time ago.

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A Threat to Privacy on The Internet

RED FLAG: The Government Wants Your Searches

A story came out today from the San Jose Mercury News via Techdirt about the government having subpoenaed Google and other Search Engines to turn over a week’s worth of records to see what is being searched for online. This all in the name of a Web fishing trip from US government lawyers trying to make a point about the Child Online Protection Act (COPA) being necessary. The law was struck down in 2004 because of it being too broad, but the courts gave the government another shot at trying to prove their case.

To date, Google has initially refused to comply with the government subpoena; vigorously defending its position. Techdirt has reported that, “Google is defending its decision by saying that it’s both a violation of the privacy of its users and that turning over the data would reveal trade secrets.”

Additionally, the Techdirt report also stated, “It’s now been confirmed that Yahoo, MSN and AOL were all asked and complied, though it appears that some (such as Yahoo) simply gave search terms with no identification information.”

These reports are very troubling for a number of issues. Certainly the first of which is Internet privacy concerns. The other major issue which quite frankly is a potential for more problems is the ease at which the other search engines have complied with the subpoena. It appears as though there was very little opposition given by Yahoo, MSN, and AOL. If this is true, then this is extremely troubling because they are not defending the privacy issues at all. Yahoo, MSN, and AOL should all be making the same bold moves for defending the privacy of their users.

Google has done the right thing in fighting against this government move. While the information that the government wants at the moment is not each individual’s search results, they are attempting to get the details of the totality of the searched for keywords. This all in their Web eFishing trip to try and give the courts the information to pass a law. The government has in essence made a supposition and is trying to use Google, Yahoo, MSN, and AOL to try and prove it.

These steps taken by the government are also very troubling. It seems as thought the government is using its powers to subpoena other companies for information that is not directly related to a problem. After all, none of the search engine companies are directly involved in the legal action.

Nicole Wong, an associate general counsel for Google, said the company will fight the government’s effort “vigorously.”

“Google is not a party to this lawsuit, and the demand for the information is overreaching,” Wong said.

This will certainly be an interesting story to watch.

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Business Marketing And Advertising Internet Empowered

Empowering Businesses With Internet Marketing, Online Advertising, And Web Branding Services Strategies and SolutionsThe Internet Is An Empowering Media Form For Customers And Businesses Alike

Take a look at how the Internet is providing a form of online customer service feedback that can both be good and bad for your business depending on the customer service you provide.

Consumer Experiences

Years ago, before the Great Expansive Web Landscape >> before the Mozilla and Internet Explorer and high-speed internet came along, a dissatisfied customer would maybe complain to management or write a letter to the President of the company about poor customer services or false advertising. Now, that has all changed. Customers that become dissatisfied are fighting back.

To be a reporter does not require going to four years at a university or getting hired by the local newspaper. No, anyone that has a beef about something is free to report it online through a free blog service. Make no mistake about this though, falsely reporting news and information can hold serious consequences for individuals online. See: Internet Ethics

With that said, people can and do document information related to businesses online all the time. In fact blogging has changed the face of how the large media giants respond to news stories. Many times the networks are slow, very slow at jumping on a breaking story and it is the blogging community that is the first to share the story online. With technology, through the form of automatic news feeds from every single blog, the story can be picked up by thousands of individuals that then turn and share more information online. Once the chronicled account is published, search engines catalog the information making it a matter of historical public record for all times sake.

Businesses, from local, national, and international companies need to be more aware of the new technology that is creating the Internet landscape Where There Is No Place To Hide

In an article written by Chuck Mckay, from his Fishing For Customers website the following is quoted:

What happens when your ads brag about your customer service, and customer dreads going on hold with your automated call center?

What happens when your customer finally understands that your “money back guarantee” is actually pro-rated for the number of weeks that she owned your product?

What happens when your angry customer makes the evening news carrying a placard which declares you to be a crook?

Where do you hide when there’s no place to hide?

From the customer service standpoint it makes sense to follow good B2B, B2C, and C2C ethical guidelines. Fraud and other different unethical activities will become exposed. It might not happen overnight but with poor customer service, fraudulent activities, advertising scams, and even copyright infringement there certainly is no place to hide online.

Empower your Business for Marketing And Advertising

Blogs are not just for individuals. In fact blogs are being used more and more for businesses everyday. I just received an email update from Google about how their AdWords blog is becoming more of a newsletter in their thinking than just some place to post thoughts and updates. Click link to read more on this perspective.

Inside AdWords

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? That, just maybe, a blog might prove to be an effective newsletter for your customers as well?

Imagine it: A place where you could easily tell your customers what’s new and interesting about your business, and where you could even show them photos of your latest collection of high fashion widgets from Paris. Perhaps you’d also like to get some useful feedback from your customers? Yep, you can do that too.

Executive Platform

This type of e-business marketing and advertising works. Customers have been sharing with me the good feedback that they are receiving from this type of executive Internet marketing and branding approach. Many times people are blocking the pictures and images that are embedded in emails, especially in an unethical age with email spam and malicious spyware viruses, but are likely to click on a link to a website to view more information. Information can be posted online for future use. Imagine being able to write a sales and marketing pitch or create an Ad for use in a Pay-Per-Click advertising campaign with a link to a posting targeted to exactly what it is that your company is advertising.

The Internet is still a baby

The interconnectivity and alliances between businesses both vertically and horizontally as well as the mix of Individuals into the broad spectrum of things online will continue to create new opportunities for new businesses, market expansion of existing companies, and the opportunities for private individuals to make a difference, shake up the world, and breath a measure of fresh air to the World Wide Web.

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