1. Why it's important to create a web presence. In today's business world almost everyone who wants to be successful has a website or online portfolio of some kind. Handing someone a business card or a resume that doesn't include a website is like handing them a blank piece of paper. In a world of instant gratification why should they call you and set up a time for an interview when they can just look at your website and tell whether they like your work or not; or if you're trying to start a business selling homemade products than you have to be able to direct people to your website. In this article I will give you the tools necessary to create a web presence regardless of whether it's for a personal portfolio or trying to market that unique product you're trying to sell.
  2. Important website assets to have. The first thing you have to do is create the website and this can be done through a number of different means. For purely personal websites you can make it yourself provided you know the proper coding and software needed or you can have someone else design it for you. There are a large number of free services out there that will allow you make your own website under their large domain or you can pay a hosting fee and have your own URL. Both options have their ups and downs but in the end either will work to create a web presence. When designing your own website be sure to have smart design. Don't try to have too much stuff crammed on the front page but make sure you get your message across. One good header that tells the viewer what your site is about is enough to hook them in and keep them around for awhile longer.
  3. Basic website SEO. Once you gotten your website set-up you need to utilize something called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This allows the search engines to catalog and index your website based on keywords and other criteria. The most basic form of SEO is just to make sure you use keyword rich text on your website that says exactly what you are all about, this can go a long way to create a web presence. This can include a long or short description on the homepage, using META tags for links and pictures and making sure you have a each page of your website properly labeled. These basic things are vital to further success as without them it is an uphill battle from here on.
  4. Getting your website out there. Once you have the basics down it's time to put your website out there through various marketing techniques to create a web presence. The easiest way is to become a reliable member of a genre specific forum. This means finding a forum that relates to your website and post a few times a day, but make sure your posts are relevant and don't try to push your site. Simply have your website in your signature and occasionally mention it if it is relevant to the post. Building small communities like this is important to get residual traffic to your website. If you have a little money to spend you can also pay for some advertising such as Pay Per Click ads and other things but the goal is to generate purely organic traffic, the key to create a web presence. You can also submit your URL to various web directories; these are everywhere and often are free and very easy to gain entry into. This builds a backlink to your site which I will talk about in the next section.
  5. Increasing backlinks and organic traffic. Backlinks are a big key to generating organic traffic and increasing your unique visitors per day. Just like the basics there are numerous ways to go about this. Some people post exclusively in blogs and others in forums, there really is no limit on creativity here. The goal is to get as many other websites, preferably reputable, linking back to your website. This not only puts your website in the path of more users but search engines use backlinks to determine popularity and the quality of the backlinks to determine how reliable a site is and to create a web presence. Having CNN write an article about your website is much more valuable than Tim's Backyard Fishery. Think of backlinks like roads to a town, the more roads you have leading to that town the more accessible it is to more people and the more traffic that town will see, increasing its revenue and size.
  6. SEO upkeep and maintenance. Now that you have a good idea of what's ahead, you have to make sure you keep at it to truly create a web presence. It's easy for someone to notice the gains right away when they see they are on page 4 of Google and just rest on their laurels, but the key is to keep going. It's far easier to slip in rating than it is to maintain it. Now that you've made it closer to the top you have to work harder to keep the other guys from surpassing you. Make sure you always keep your website updated as it will keep your user base coming back if they know you care about your own site, and be sure to always be marketing your site and putting it out there. If you don't put yourself out there you can't expect to get anything back. To create a web presence you truly get back what you put into it.
  7. Final Thoughts. Hopefully this article will help a few people as in today's world you need an online aspect to your business or career in order to get ahead. As an artist part-time I've come to realize that a paper portfolio just doesn't do it anymore and more and more companies are requiring a website so they can take a look at your work before they even take a look at you. The same goes for a business, why check out the store front when you can get an idea of how they operate based purely on what their website looks like. So follow these steps and you can be successful in the online world and you too can create a web presence.

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