March 3, 2009

Create Your Web Presence: Three Easy Steps For Advisors

I still haven't found what I'm looking for --- U2

Where's the first place you look for people, companies, and just about anything? Online. So do your clients and prospects. Can they find you?

You need an online presence to become more successful.

Yet very few advisors have one. Why? Too much work? Too expensive? Too much maintenance? Too many excuses. The process is mostly free and easy enough that you don't need a webmaster or web designer. You won't have prospects buying online but you'll certainly build your credibility.

The Three Steps
Here's what you do
  1. Get on LinkedIn (you can stop here)
  2. Register a web address
  3. Create a website or blog or both

LinkedIn (free)
LinkedIn is a business networking site that grows in value as you complete your profile and add quality contacts. See Get Foundin Linkedin To Keep Growin.

You can set a meaningful web address, such as (you pick the part after the final "/"). You can then publicize this link.

This is an ideal place to show recommendations because visitors can quickly gauge the credibility of the person who vouches for you. There's a whole process for requesting recommendations too.

As a bare minimum, get on LinkedIn. If you know me, we can connect.

Register A Web Address
Register your own name as a web address (domain name) --- if still available. A .COM still has the most cachet. You can stop here and redirect this website address to your LinkedIn address. Better still, you can create your own personal website (like

You can also register other names. Here are some I tried (in order)
  1. poor --- not found when searching for "Spark Insight" ... the words are too common
  2. good --- ranking has increased over time ... thanks to you readers
  3. excellent --- unique ... but can people remember it?
If you don't know where to register a domain name, see what I did in the "Your Personal Website" section.

Create A Website or Blog or Both
Websites are easy to create and edit online if you use a wiki and select pre-defined templates. All changes get tracked and you can undo them. The Wikipedia online encyclopedia is an example. My sites use You can keep your site private until you're ready to show the world. Don't wait for perfection. When you have something reasonable, launch. Make enhancements in small steps as your time allows.

Instead of sending general emails, switch to a blog (or multiple blogs). Emails get lost. Blog posts get archived online and can be found again and again with web searches. People can find you when you're sleeping or on vacation. How great is that? I use Google Blogger. You can keep your blog private while you experiment. You'll quickly see that writing a blog post is much like writing an email. You can send links to your posts by email or you can have articles sent to subscribers automatically using Google Feedburner.

Going Further: Add Tracking
What matters gets measured. What's measured gets better. Except for LinkedIn, you can easily track your visitors in detail using Google Analytics. Here is an example from Riscario Insider. With tracking, you can't fool yourself. You instantly know what works without guessing.

Why Use Google?
Since Google is the leading search engine, using their services probably makes you easier to find. Besides, the services are free, easy to use (a single sign-in), and continuously improved. And ad-free too (though you can easily add ads).

The Real Work
Your real work takes the form of creating content for LinkedIn or your personal website. This is something a web designer can't do as well as you. If you're not comfortable with your writing, at least prepare a draft. Then get a writer you like to edit.

If you start blogging by using content you would normally email, you've got little extra work. You can even create posts by reusing your old emails. For new content with little effort, you can use Google Alerts as your secretary. You can create posts from the interesting links found.

Let clients and prospects find you online. Then encourage them to stay in touch by subscribing to your content. Familiarity breeds business. An online presence breeds credibility.


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