A Small Business Resolution: Focus on Online Reputation in 2011 and Beyond

As the Internet becomes more ingrained into everyday lives, Web sites and search engine play an integral role in the reputation of businesses and entrepreneurs to their clients and future clients.

As consumers tend to decide on services by the information found online, owners should be careful of information that is available online and work on building an online image.

The important thing to remember while thinking about an online reputation is the amount of control a single individual can have on the web content on your business. Here are a few ways an online reputation can be well maintained:

Be aware
A business owner should be aware of information being spread online about their business. Using search engines to look up your business name or owner name can lead to blogs, comments, and other posts made by authors online. By being aware of the negative information, a business can use comments to rebuild a reputation and to offer a different viewpoint. Comments can also be useful by leaving them on sites where customers are looking for services like your own or are disgruntled about another service.

Get some help
Busy business entrepreneurs may not have the time or technological know-how to deal with work to build an online reputation while also maintaining a business. Thankfully, there are companies that will do it for you, and they have the resources to allow your attentions to be elsewhere. Reputation management services not only deal with creating positive content for social networks, and blogs, but these use search engine optimization tools to put your business at the top of searches on engines such as Yahoo and Google.

Be proactive
Become involved in the Internet by creating a blog that links to your Web site. Also, create pages on social networking sites. By creating social pages that link to your site, you create a trail that allows customers the interactive experience that they are used to with research. However, in this case the business gets to control the content.

An online reputation is an ongoing task that requires persistence and planning, however there is no way around the necessity for precautions to protect the name of your business.

By carefully building a reputation, the continuation of profit and the creation of a steady client base will be the reward for understanding marketing in a world of online convenience.

About the author

Chris Birk, a former newspaper and magazine writer, works for Missouri-based GrowthPartner.com, a unique firm that provides angel investment and online marketing expertise to emerging companies. He is also a principal with SuretyBonds.com and a part-time college professor.