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Judy Vorfeld by Judy Vorfeld

Do you ever feel over-saturated with Internet marketing and design ideas as you strive to build a business presence? Have you searched through self-help books and articles, attended seminars, bought tapes and videos, even visualized ways to market your business successfully, yet your heart and your bank account remain empty, unfulfilled?

In the final analysis, all words and ideas must be filtered through the screens of our character, personality, and goals. We must have well-designed sites, but to fully, accurately reveal ourselves as professionals, we must not only have something to give, but we must provide information about ourselves.

Most of us don't fit in the same category with amazon.com or disney.com. We are more in the province of NewKidOnTheWeb.com. Whether you sell 3,000 products, a service, or one-of-a-kind toothbrushes for people ages 35-50, you want to build a unique Internet presence. How can we do this effectively? By filtering through all the online information and find what is important for your business.

I've visited some stunning sites: perfect balance between graphics, text, navigation, and content. Only one thing missing: character. As a potential client, I want more than knowledge of the product or service: I want to know "About Them." Further, if the site has graphic links and text links, the "About Us" should be on both areas of each page, and just as prevalent as the e-mail address (which should both be linked and spelled out for best results).

"But talking about myself is bragging!" you might say. Not with appropriate presentation. You can do a simple text summary of the business and/or the owner, or offer a business profile similar to a résumé. If you volunteer in your community, or on the Internet, mention it. If you belong to any professional associations, make note of it. Create a page of testimonials from satisfied customers/clients. All or any of these paint a picture of who you are and what customers or clients can expect if they decide to transact business with you.

Another method for completing your portrait is to give away either an item (e.g., holding contests and having drawings) or information. Are you tired of hearing about "giving first"? Wait a moment. We benefit enormously from the many free tutorials, tips, articles, discussion boards, and e-zines, right? People giving so generously of their time probably helped enhance you as a professional. Why not do the same for others?

Take time to create something that will act as a gift for your visitors, even if it's a page of resources on a device that stretches nasal passages. Think of the nose-related subjects: sinusitis, allergies, anti-snoring devices, sneezing suppression, a listing of respected ENT specialists, soft paper tissues that say "I love you" when you blow your nose, makeup, even plastic surgery!

You are unique. One way or another, you're going to have to find ways to reflect your distinct characteristics. Visitors may not need this data, but they may want it, and if you're not willing to provide it, they may simply leave your site. Hey, you started your business because you have courage, intelligence, and ingenuity. If you haven't already done so, go build some (or more) credibility.

Article by Judy Vorfeld, owner of Office Support Services.
Judy, a.k.a. Webgrammar, owns Office Support Services, a home-based secretarial service and Web design/renovation business. In addition to typing, design, editing, research, and analysis, she mentors others, and offers free resources on her Webgrammar pages. Reach Judy at
oss@ossweb.com or visit her site at http://www.ossweb.com.

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