What’s an online presence? this question may sound simple but it is very important to clarify it so we’re all on the same page. What I mean by online presence is your identities and presence that you’ve created throughout the internet world. This identities and online presence could be motivated by personal or business endeavor. Some of you reading this are into blogging or business and how do people find and reach you if you don’t have an online presence. Even when you have an online presence is it a successful one? In the entrepreneurial world it can be very time consuming and even frustrating to establish a successful online presence if you don’t know how to do it. Therefore it is important to establish a successful online presence if you want to increase your brand awareness, your fans, business lead or followers.

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8 checkpoints for a successful online presence

What is the one thing that you want to accomplish by having a website? Sales… without a doubt.

Having a website puts you in a strong position to reach a wider audience and draw more sales to your business. New business is one of the main reasons why many of our customers sign up and use Yola. Still a website is one, albeit a large one, of many checkpoints on the road to success. Here is a list of others to consider.

1. Write down your reasons why
Every great idea must come with a purpose – a reason why. This is to ensure that you always remember why you want to do what you are doing. In business, we call this a mission statement. A good mission statement will always be the bigger picture goal and will help motivate you in times of success and in times of failure.

For example, why does Yola have a free website builder? To provide the tools that allow people and businesses to build awesome websites that help them be independent, creative and get online without hassle, high cost or fear.

2. Define your audience or customers
We’ve talked about audience before, but in case you missed it, defining your audience is all about whom you want your customers to be. Write out who your ideal customer is as well as small and fun details about this person. What demographic (gender, age, location), what hobbies and interests, what needs, etc. that your customer is/has.

3. Define the problems your audience/customer face
Once you’ve got an understanding of who your customer is, the next step is to define what he needs and what problems he has. This is where your product or service comes into play.

If you have a contracting business, then your customer might need an affordable, trustworthy and good contractor to redesign his bathroom or kitchen. The solutions that your customer is looking for is the package of “affordable, trustworthy and good.”

Framing your business in the context of problems and solutions will also help you define your unique value to your customers and in your website copy.

4. Choose your brand
unique value proposition is also part of your brand or brand promise and what separates you from the competition. Having this statement defined will do worlds in helping you make decisions for your business as well as your website.

Ask yourself what colors, fonts and images really drive home the message of your brand and value to your customers. Do you want to convey a feeling of friendly or serious? Emotions and psychology play an important role in how people visually understand your website.

5. Build a website
Having a great website is the single most effective way to drive new business as well as maintain existing and return customers. Your website is available 24/7 representing your brand and your offering. Make it a point to have a great website that is always evolving. There are tons of tools and resources available to help you along the way.

Remember, a website will never truly be finished, there’s always an area to improve upon. Take a moment to learn how you can better serve your customers and prospects through your website.

6. Develop a marketing strategy
It’s time to celebrate. You’ve published your website and set up your business. Congrats! Now it’s time to figure out how to get more people looking at your website and, ideally, buying from your website. There are a few ways to go about marketing your website online. It’s a “choose your own adventure” kind of thing.

We recommend are optimizing your web pages for keywords (also called search engine optimization), paid advertising on search engines (also called paid search) and content marketing, which involves producing content either via your own blog, on other people’s blogs or on both.

7. Track success
Once you start getting traffic or paying for visitors through paid search, you’ll need to find a way to track the success of your efforts. If you are using Yola, you get free access to premium analytics through SiteWit. This will allow you to see who comes to your site as well as what pages are most successful. You can also add Google Analytics to your website for free, if you prefer.

8. Rinse and repeat
Here’s the best part. Let the past be the past, learn from your website, marketing and business failures and repeat the successes as best you can. By looking at your data and matching them with your expectations and results, you can better adjust the pages on your website as well as your keywords, ads and other marketing efforts as you incrementally work your way toward success. The road is ever evolving and you've got to stay ahead of the curve.