As Web 2.0 takes off and everyone who’s anyone is taking part, it got us thinking about how important your online profile is. After all, this is just like handing out your business card in a business meeting – if you leave information off, how serious do your prospects (or clients) take you – our guess is not!

So we thought we’d give you some hints and tips, or just some food for thought when putting together your online profile (actually it’s probably the most important part of your online presence so take some time over it)

So your profile needs to establish a few things for you

1) Trust and Credibility – if all your profiles on different websites don’t convey the same message, how do people know and trust what you do?
2) What you stand for – Think about your brand, do you want to create a personal one or a business one, consistency is the key and please make sure you can deliver what you promise.

Most profiles will allow you to upload a photo, an online bio, contact information, website details, etc. so let’s tackle these one at a time:

  • Your Online Photo: Get yourself a photographer booked and have some professional photos taken, honestly its money well spent. After all, people buy from people, and so they are interested in the personal touch, but a ‘home-made’ one looks just that, especially if it’s taken in your garden after an afternoon of beer.
    People want to know you’re real so a clear professional photo is the first step.
  • Your Online Bio: This is the area of your profile that might be limited to a few hundred characters, we recommend that you spend a bit of time creating some different length bios that you can easily copy and paste depending on the space you have got. Please remember to try and weave some keywords into your Bio, after all, if people are searching for you, they’ll start with your keywords  – best they find you first and not your competitors.
  • Contact Information: Do fill this out, especially with your website address (a valuable inbound link for SEO), after all, if people are searching for you and then can’t get hold of you the whole exercise is pointless. Make sure they can get hold of you using one of your contact methods.
  • Other Details: Some sites will allow you to put in your experiences and education. Do take the time to fill this out, most of the social networking sites use these details to put you in touch with former colleagues that you are no longer in contact with; it can be a very valuable way of extending your network. The more you put in, the easier it will be for people to find you.
  • Customer Reviews / Testimonials: If there is an opportunity for your clients to write something great about you encourage them to do it – a third party endorsement is probably the strongest sales tool you have – use it!

And the final point, don’t just see this as a one-time exercise, make a diary date in the future to review it and make sure its still current, after all in 6 months time will you have another accreditation to your name, or taken on another product or service?

You never get a second chance to make a good first impression, so make sure your profile delivers the right one!