Developing an Online Presence in 5 Easy Steps

As we begin to concentrate on the development and expansion of our garden websites in anticipation of Spring 2011, I have decided to delve into the social online world, and begin making use of the variety of social bookmarking and communication tools. My first action is to create a persona of an avid gardener whose main enjoyment in life is to get his fingers dirty as he gets down on his hands and knees and tends his own backyard garden. To make this believable I will use a variety of social tools online to create and give a real face to this man, albeit not mine.

Some may wonder why I would go to the trouble of creating a persona instead of using my own name and likeness? I think it really depends on what your future intent is with the websites you are developing. If your intent is to develop a website to own and run for the foreseeable future then you may want to brand that website around your real name and likeness – like I do with Webified Development. However, if your plan is to create and sell the website, then you would likely not want your own name tied to the website, as once it leaves your hand, your identity could be assumed by the new owners. To prevent my identity from being assumed by a future owner, I’ve chosen to create an identity online, which will become the face of the garden sites created by Webified Development. I can then sell this identity to new owners, along with all of the social accounts tied to that identity, without risking my personal identity being taken.

You should completely plan out your new identity before initiating its creation. Not to have it mapped out in advance, may have you rethinking your strategy as you go, and cause you to do twice the amount of work. Here’s some ideas to think about in advance:

  1. Email Presence
    You will first want to create an email around this persona, hobby, or company. Yahoo, Gmail, and even Social Shake can provide you with a choice of email addresses. Using social shake might actually be the better bet, as it also enables you to create an online identity that can then be found and indexed by Google, and there’s less competition for keyword rich names. It merely serves as a redirection to your existing email account.
  2. Create an Image
    You will want to use a likeness image of your new persona. You can download stock photography from a variety of websites online. I use I suggest you find a variety of photographs using the same individual, hopefully in different outfits, to increase the effectiveness of the persona.
  3. Create a Life
    Now that you have a set of photos you can use which reflect the identity of this new persona, you can create a set of facts concerning this person, such as age, location, marital status, etc…. in this case it was important that my gardener reflect the location of the area he is photographed gardening in. It would be easily seen if I presented photos of my gardener in a desert that he didn’t live in Florida! Now that you have those life facts, you’ll be able to fill in the fields at the social sites!
  4. Use Social Sites
    The next step is to choose a list of social sites that you can register with and begin to utilize. Don’t rush this process… but build up your list of social activities over time, devoting 15-30 minutes a day for this sole purpose. Don’t approach this as an SEO purpose, but as a social exercise where your persona is establishing contacts and followers in the field of interest.
  5. Join Only Wire is a tool that can be used to post snippets, and bookmarks to a variety of Social media websites online. There is a fully functional free version, and a paid version.¬†I use it in simplifying the process of submitting bookmarks of my articles to a variety of social sites dedicated to bookmarks. As you create your accounts with the Social Bookmark Sites, you can register them with OnlyWire, so that when you make an article post, it gets distributed to all of your bookmark sites at once. Don’t forget to also continue the creation of your Social Shake¬†account by providing the social sites to your identity there.