If you’re like any modern business, you have an online presence. You probably have a Facebook page and Twitter account as well as your own website. But what good does any of this do you if you’re not using these elements effectively?

As Chris Brogan, CEO of Owner Media Group, points out, there is a simple presence framework that businesses should follow to see these parts work well together. Brogan calls the center of the framework your “home base,” which should be your website. Below, we take a look at this presence framework and how you can effectively build your online presence by using your website as your hub.

What is a Presence Framework?

In Brogan’s simple presence framework, he outlines three parts:

Passports

As Brogan defines it, passports are “profiles to use on various social sites, meaning that it’s important to have an account/profile there, but you might not necessarily have to participate as a full-fledged community member.” Examples include:

  • Flickr
  • Stumbleupon
  • Yelp

Outposts

Outposts are sites you use to maintain an online presence; where you interact with people and point them toward your home base. Most of these outposts will be your social media accounts. Examples include:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn

At Main Path we consider content distribution and outreach to be another outpost that drives traffic and builds authority for your website. By placing authoritative content on third party websites, you establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry and build trust with your target consumer. Building relationships with high quality third party websites also expands your network and will give you even more opportunities to guide right kind of consumers back to your home base.

Home Base

Your home base “is where you focus the most of your presence time.” Well-crafted and SEO optimized onsite content and a regularly updated blog are the best platforms to build your home base, although your business goals will influence how you build up this space. If you’re one of the 55 percent of small businesses that don’t have a website, believe us when we say that you need one to stand as an effective hub center of your presence framework.

Why Should Your Website Act as Your Home Base?

So if you have a presence online through social media accounts, is a website still necessary in 2015?

The answer is undoubtedly yes!

Using your website as your hub gives you more control over your online image. As David Burkus points out at 99u.com, social networking sites like Facebook ultimately have control over how you appear and interact with your fan base on your profiles. With your own website, you have the freedom to tailor the experience toward your audience.

Not only that, but you can also present more information on your website than you can on your outposts, meaning it can add credibility to your business. For instance, if you’re running a bakery and customers are wondering about the nutrition contents of your products, you can post them on your website and point customers to that web page.

How Do You Get the Most Out of Your Website?

If you’ve chosen your website to act as the central hub of your online image, the question arises: How do you get the most out of this platform? Here are just a few tips to consider:

  • Consider your audience and how they expect to interact with you. Are they looking primarily for the products and services you offer, or are they coming to your website to check out your latest blog content? Build your site around these expectations.
  • Show how your business is unique. With complete control over your website, this is your one chance to show how unique your business is—something that’s tough to do on social media sites where your profile is practically identical to your competitors’. Start with a theme that shows your brand’s personality, and give clear insight into your business’s unique selling point (USP) and products/services on your about page.
  • Use analytics to measure success. Traffic on your website is generally a good sign, but you won’t know what aspects of your website are most successful or which need more attention unless you use analytics to measure your traffic, conversions and relevant marketing indicators.
  • Share your contact information. People come to your site to learn all they can about your business. When they find they want to order a product or service, they’ll want to get in touch. Make it easy by sharing your phone number, customer support email address, physical location, etc. in an easy-to-spot area, such as the header, sidebar, or under your “contact” tab.
  • Allow feedback. Your outposts should offer a form of two-way communication, but they shouldn’t be the only places your business can interact with customers. Place a contact form on your site, and/or enable commenting on your blog posts.

While your outposts help improve your business’s image and customer reach, they should not act as the central hub for your online presence. Instead, build or refine your website in a way that makes it the center point-of-contact for customers looking to learn more about you. How will you use this information to build a better presence framework?

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