You may be asking yourself, “What’s the difference?” Please know that this is a totally common and honest response to the title statement today. As with most things, the more you understand about a topic the more able you are to decide if it applies to you at all…and how.
My aim is to give you a better understanding of the differences between the two. What I really hope that you walk away with today is a firm understanding of the importance of having one verses the other.
A Website By Any Other Name…Would Still Be Just A Website
Most of us have a website, and have had one since the world dictated that it was a necessity for those of us who have a business to run. TrustWorkz®.com for example is our website. It’s the place on the web where we send people that want to learn more about us. We’ll speak more about Web Presence in just a minute, but this site is also the center or “hub” of our Web Presence as well.
I like Wikipedia’s definition of “Website” so I’ll just share that here and we’ll move on:
“A static website is one that has web pages stored on the server in the format that is sent to a client web browser. It is primarily coded in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML).
Simple forms or marketing examples of websites, such as classic website, a five-page website or a brochure website are often static websites, because they present pre-defined, static information to the user. This may include information about a company and its products and services through text, photos, animations, audio/video and interactive menus and navigation.
This type of website usually displays the same information to all visitors. Similar to handing out a printed brochure to customers or clients, a static website will generally provide consistent, standard information for an extended period of time. Although the website owner may make updates periodically, it is a manual process to edit the text, photos and other content and may require basic website design skills and software.
In summary, visitors are not able to control what information they receive via a static website, and must instead settle for whatever content the website owner has decided to offer at that time.” – Wikipedia
Let me be clear in saying that a website is not a bad thing in and of itself. Quite the contrary, it is the one piece of real estate on the web that you own and have complete control of. This alone makes it your most valuable online marketing asset. I would consider it detrimental and less than competitive though if your website were your only online asset. I’ll go one step further and say that if you still have an older static website (perhaps you even built it yourself) that never gets updated, this too can be a bad thing.
In the online space of today, websites need to be much more versatile and malleable than the sites of yesteryear. If you’ve paid any attention at all to what’s going on then you’ve heard at least a whisper about WordPress and other Content Management Systems (CMS). Content Management Systems are much more dynamic than static websites and they also provide a higher level of functionality. I’ll speak more about this as it relates to Web Presence shortly. Just remember what CMS stands for.
Web Presence = Command Presence…Digitally Speaking
As I said earlier, our TrustWorkz® (WordPress) site is just that, our website and nothing more. In contrast to this one destination, if you were to Google TrustWorkz® you’d find many different touch points, our website would be just one of these. This is representative of our “Web Presence”.
Somehow, Wikipedia has a very lame definition for web presence. They do associate it with “Digital Footprint” though, and this is a fair synonym. Your digital footprint is the aggregate total of every single file, destination, or touch point on the web that is either owned by you or that mentions, links to, or refers to you – the bigger the footprint, the better.
Your Website (a CMS hopefully) is the centerpiece of your web presence. ALL other touch points should ultimately lead here. From there you can implement calls to action, publish regular blog posts (Content Marketing) to establish yourself as an authority in your industry, and effectively optimize your site for search engines (SEO), and build up a rapport with the community that you build around your brand. Some of the ways that you can build up your community and drive more awareness are:
- Social Networks – Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Etc.
- Review Sites – CitySearch, Trip Advisor, Yelp, Kudzu, Urban Spoon, Etc.
- Bookmarking/Sharing Sites: Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon, Del.icio.us, Etc.
- Directories – Local and national niche or geo-specific directories.
This is not about being prolific; it’s about being effective and pro-active. We can no longer pick a single channel or medium to simply broadcast our message to one audience and expect it to be effective. With the planet’s mass adoption of social media as a preferred method of communication comes an ever-growing mountain of social networks. People pick and choose from among them and everyone has their favorites. We have to also pick and choose where to participate.
Easy enough would be a resolution to building a profile on every single site or network that we can find, right? Wrong. Abandoned profiles and neglected channels where you set up a profile actually work against you. Suppose someone finds that Twitter feed you built but never managed? They will see that you’ve only tweeted twice, like, a year ago. What if this is their favorite channel and this was their front door to learning about your company? There goes whatever credibility and authority you could have had. Better to have not been found there at all.
Today’s Internet – Will You Embrace Or Ignore What’s Happening
Your web presence is the living and breathing essence of your business on the web. Build and manage it accordingly so that the world will find a vibrant and healthy presence when they bump into you online.
- It’s about having a CMS website that you have complete access to and control over.
- It’s about fresh and relevant content on your website in order to A) build up your authority and grow your audience and B) pleasing the search engines so that you gain better placement in search results.
- It’s about being communicative and engaging on as many channels as you decide are prudent and manageable.
- It’s about having a solid and overarching strategy for your online marketing efforts that meets your business objectives.
- It’s about having better insight about your existing and potential clients and how they behave and communicate online.
- It’s about being nimble, innovative, progressive, and aware as the world continues to go through the most incredible shift in communications and technology the world has ever known.
It all comes down to a pretty simple choice for business owners. We can either turn a blind eye toward what is happening online…or we can choose to embrace it and become pro-active in order to learn more about it and become a better participant.