It is now 2012 and last year about 245,000,000 were online just in the US. That’s 90.2% of the US population which means that for every 10 people 9 were using the internet. And it blows my mind that a lot of businesses still don’t have any online presence.

People are online on their phones, tablets, and computers, doing everything you can imagine. What makes you think that when they need some type of service, or product, they are not going online to search it? Call me lazy but if I have the world in my hands why should I go around town for something that it is only a click away? How many times have you gone online while hungry searching for a place to get food from and that place you really like doesn’t even have a menu available? It happens every day with every business.

In today’s world it’s not just about having a website anymore. Those times when your cousin built you a website are gone. Any business that wants to succeed needs to build an online presence. The web is evolving and offering more and more tools for businesses to succeed online by attracting and interacting using the Internet. The ones that are adapting to the changes are leaders of their field.

Here is how I see it

Let’s say I build a design shop in town, and I don’t do anything to spread the word about it other than having the shop on 85 Main st. with a sign outside that says Paulo Design Shop. That’s the same equivalence of a business just having a website, how should they expect people to come in when they are not doing anything to attract them?

Now, if I go around town talking to people about my shop, offering my services, connecting to other business, and planting seeds to eventually get some work, that would be the equivalence of a business having a website ,and, using other tools such as social network, blog, newsletters to make a connection with users to become future clients.

That’s actually building an online presence. Where you have a long term connection with users by keeping using social media networks, keep users updated and even more connected to your business by using newsletter and blog. When you get people talking about your business for thousands to see, that’s when you know you getting a pretty good online presence, and, the more people talk about it, the more popular it will get.

Remember that none of that matters if your website totally sucks. It’s the same feeling when you walk into a business and you just want to walk right out. If you want your business to succeed you have to have a good foundation, and, for that you will need somebody that knows what they doing and pay the right price for it. But, that’s an investment you’re making for the growth of your business. So how can it not be worth it?

How I build online presence

A mix of Web Design, SEO, Blogging, and Social Media Marketing is the recipe I offer to my clients which are mostly small business that end up growing a lot by building an online presence. The website is your foundation and the key element of the business. Then comes the need of attraction. That’s when I use SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to attract users free by using search engines like google. Also use Blogging and Social Media Marketing and Newsletter to stay connected with current users and also attract more. That’s the basic recipe and there’s a bunch of other tools that can be used depending on the type of business and every client have different needs but having an extra set of skills that will take your client to the next level is essential.

Further Reading

Here are some books that helped me learn a lot.

To wrap it up, if you are a designer and would like to expand your field and offer some cool new services jump right into it and start learning. Use it first to promote yourself and your services then start building something for your clients. If you have a business of any kind and I have just opened your eyes, get in touch, I would love to help and give you some good advice.