Today, I want to talk about what I consider as the most important thing that you can build on the web. What do you think it is?
A new web application?
No, it is none of these, although creating any of these could lead to creating what I am talking about, though!
What I am talking about is your personal profile! Or, you may call it your “brand.” Your personal brand, or your profile is more important than anything else you do on the net. Why? Because your profile can either enhance anything else you do on the net, or it can be the downfall of your other projects. Remember one thing, though, you have some profile on the net! And you need to know what your profile says about you. It is something you need to manage, cultivate, and sometimes manipulate.
How can you find out what your profile is currently? First step would be to do what is called a “vanity search.” All that means is to go to Google and search for yourself. See what you find. If you have a very common name, you might need to include some keywords along with your name. For example, if your name is “Jim Jones” and you do a Google search for yourself, you will likely find a bunch of information about the Jim Jones who had a cult back in the 70’s, where they all killed themselves by drinking koolaid. So, if you are Jim Jones, and you are involved in motorcyle racing, maybe you should search for “Jim Jones motorcycle” or something of that nature. Of course, do both searches just to see what comes up.
When you do this search, you will undoubtedly find lots of links to websites that mention you, websites that you wrote, etc. Start looking at these sites to see what they are saying about you. Sometimes you will find information on a site which is incorrect. Write to the site owner and get this fixed. If the site owner is not cooperative, you might need to threaten (and even take) legal action, if the mis-information is egregious enough. You can’t afford to have negative (especially un-true) information floating around the Internet about you.
Generally speaking, by participating on various websites, having sites of your own and such, you can build your profile. As you become known, your profile will continue rising more and more. For instance, in my case, almost any foreigner who is thinking of retiring or even traveling in the Philippines most likely knows about me. It would be hard to search the internet about living in the Philippines without finding one or more of my websites. Hopefully, through my actions on those sites, my profile is not only high, it is also positive. I like to think that most people who browse my sites come away with a positive image of me. Make sure that when they find you, they also leave with a good opinion of you!
Having a high profile is very advantageous to you. When you apply for a job, many employers check the Internet Profile of the applicant before hiring. If you want to build a business online, having a following online is a great way to kick things off! There are just so many up-sides to having a good profile!
So, your first step in this area is to check what your profile is today. If it is not good, you need to do some profile management. Fix it! Then, start building your profile to new levels!