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Building Your Reputation on the Internet

February 24, 2011 Destroy a life with your keyboard - Part 1" This is the background story behind the need for reputation management on the 'net, published by Dave Chappelle, of IT In Canada

For most people, their 'reputation' on the Internet doesn't matter to them, or does not affect their daily lives (or, at least, that they are aware of). However, for those who are more publicly exposed as a part of their daily life, or those looking to have their name be associated with positive things in a Google search, reputation on the 'net is important, to say the least.

Understanding the Basics of Your Reputation on the Internet
So How do I Take Advantage of This ? Getting Started
How Do I Get the Rest of the World to See Me ? How Do I Get People to Link to Me ?
How Long Will it Take to See Results ?
This Looks Really Hard and Time Consuming...

Understanding the Basics of Your Reputation on the Internet

Basically, your reputation on the internet is all about how many things are linked, or attributed to you. Whether this reputation is good or bad is more or less simply a matter of more "good stuff" than "bad stuff" linking to your name.
So, picture two pages: One that says "John smith is a great guy" and the other that says "John Smith is not a great guy". If there are three other websites that link to the one calling John a great guy and only one linking to the one that says he is not, the first page will appear higher in the search results.

So How do I Take Advantage of This ? Getting Started

The first step, obviously, is creating content with your name associated to it. This means getting a website, a blog or a social media site that is accessible to the public.1

While it is easier, more tempting and cheaper to use the free web hosting, social media or blogging sites out there, if you are truly serious about promoting yourself on the 'net, you really should get yourself your own website.2
A domain name of your own should cost you from $5 - $30 a year and you will want to register for five years minimum. This is because many search engines consider a domain/site more "serious" if it is a long-term registration, rather than a quickie, one-year site.
There are a ton of good web hosts out there. You can get reliable web hosting from a number of places costing anywhere from $2 to $50 per month, depending on your needs. You do not need to go all out - A basic website is all that is needed to get started. MasterHostList is one place to start to look for reliable web hosts.
Above all, you do NOT want to use a free web host with ads showing up all over your content - Not only does that detract from what you are trying to do - in some cases, it can mess up your search engine ranking, as well.


  1. A domain name
  2. A website
You're all set, right ? You're just getting started. Now, you need content.

So what to put up ? Simple! Write about what you know. You can either write about your professional knowledge (This is a good choice if the reason for your reputation building is for your career) or your hobbies and talents.

Many make the mistake that no one is interested in what they're good at - This mindset could not be more wrong. People will search for ANYTHING on the 'net. Don't believe me ? There are 17,600 results for a Google search for How to sweep a room.

If you do not know basic HTML and how to write simple web pages (And believe me, HTML is really easy - You can literally learn the basics in under an hour), you can use your word processor, like Open Office or Microsoft Word to write your articles and then "save as" HTML. There are also many HTML editors classified as WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), where it looks just like a word processor, but is specifically for makeing websites. You then upload3 them to your webserver for the public to find, read and benefit from.

As you continue to build your site, you will learn how to make it more readable and easier to navigate. One quick hint up-front, though: It's what appears on the first page that counts: You do not want to create a massive, scrolling document with hundreds of articles in one page. Ideally, your welcome page will briefly describe you, the overview of your site and a linked list of your articles.

How Do I Get the Rest of the World to See Me ? How Do I Get People to Link to Me ?

Most search engines will find your page automatically after a few days, using a process called spidering. Their automatic programs will crawl through your site, looking for keywords and content for display on relevant searches.
One method for getting other people to link to you is to find other websites with content that is similar to yours and ask them to link to you. You can also offer them your articles, so long as there is a link back to your site, crediting you as the author.
In fact, finding good, relevant content is always the number one priority for many websites, so finding people willing to link to you, or host your articles with a link to you as credit is a lot easier than you may think (It's a lot easier than trying to get your articles published in a traditional magazine, for example).
There is nothing wrong with asking friends and family to link to your site/articles in their own blogs and social media sites as well - After all, that counts as link back popularity and will help you establish yourself even faster.

Once your website is up and running, it then makes sense to run similar content on the free blogs and social media pages, but with excerpts, rather than your full articles, always linking back to your site for the full versions.

Running this type of site is not only rewarding in terms of increasing your visibility and reputation, but it can also help you in your job search or career advancement. Being able to put the fact that you have an established website with thousands of visitors on your resume is almost always a plus.

How Long Will it Take to See Results ?

This, of course, is one of the most frequently asked questions. The answer pretty much depends on how much your are willing to invest, time-wise, into this venture. As with any popular website, barring spending millions on a PR campaign, it will start slowly and, if your content is interesting and useful, snowball after that. Remember, even Facebook started off as a college experiment between a couple of friends.
From my own experiences, not only with my own sites, I have seen popularity grow as quickly as six months ( is my project and was actually taking paid advertising in the sixth month since inception) whereas some other sites can take a little longer, especially if they are focused more geographically ( is another project of mine, but is more focused in the Ottawa Valley of Ontario, Canada, so it took about a year to really gain traction). Personally, as of this writing, I am running another project, that I am following these same principals. This is a for-profit project, which I expect to be able to make money by September of 2011 (It is August, 2010 as I write this) - Why a year, when CanadianISP did it in six months ? Because MasterHostList targets a global audience - There is a lot more competition for "eyeball time" than just a Canadian market.

This Looks Really Hard and Time Consuming...

This is the most frequent reason people don't do this: They think it's too hard or will consume their life.

The reality is, if you are already somewhat familiar with setting up websites, this process (domain registration, basic website setup) can all be done in an afternoon. If you are starting from scratch and have to teach yourself a few things (basic HTML, how to upload web pages), you can get it all set up with a few evenings of reading and experimenting.
After that, the "hardest" thing is creating the initial website. It doesn't have to be super-fancy (though it doesn't hurt if you have a friend who is able to whip up a nice, clean and aesthetically pleasing design). After that, you add articles as the mood strikes you, although a committment to yourself to two articles a week would be a good idea, if you are serious about getting recognized online.

Boot notes

1 "Accessible to the public" is an important pointer: If you are using Facebook as your social media page, but have all the privacy settings turned to "on", then the content will not be archived. This being said, however, if your Facebook page is filled with pictures of you in "questionable" situations, leaving those privacy settings on will benefit you far more.
2 Before paying for your webhosting, you should first check your possible webhost in various spam blocklists to make sure it is not a known spam supporter - You could find out that your site ends up not being seen by anyone if the entire webhost is being blocked because it is a host for "FastCashNow" types of sites. Spamhaus, UCEProtect and AHBL are three of the most popular - and effective - RBLs (Real time Block Lists).
3 Some word processors will allow you to upload directly to a website, however you will often need an FTP or File Transfer Protocol program to send your files to the server. There are too many to list, but your web host will be able to tell you what to use. Personally, I use WS_FTP Professional

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