Monday, March 24, 2008


It has become a well known fact that companies and recruiter will search Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and even Friendster for information about you online. (Or you could use the one-stop stalking search engines like It is simply assumed that with any level of technical competence there comes a level of technical presence and if you want to get involved with the Internet Tubes Google better find more than what college you went too.

There have been a ton of discussions about not putting to much information about yourself online for either fears of Identity Theft to embarrassing drunk photos of yourself online, but what people don't realize is that there is some serious leeway here. Certainly you shouldn't be advertising your SSN or bank accounts and you certainly don't want any picture of yourself doing illegal drugs, but you're not exactly running for the Senate either.

If someone has taken the time to scour the Internet for your name then you've already got them hooked. If you want to impress someone, get your name in the first couple of results. Not only that, make sure there's something relevant or interesting for them to find, even if it is just a rehash of your resume it's at least something that can either 1. confirm the information that got them interested in you or 2. something that gives a little bit more information about a detail that caught their attention.

It's not just people that need visibility, but companies as well. What's the point of having an awesome product if no one knows about? What's the point of having an awesome staff if no one knows about it? What's the point of being a company at all if no one knows about it? So in lies a second truth, not only do you need to make sure you can be found, you need to position yourself to be seen.

Nothing frustrates me more than trying to figure out what the heck a company is doing. It's one thing if you don't want to blurt out critical information to your competition, but if you want to snag good employees and prevent the best and brightest from going to the competition than you better give the viewers of your site some solid content to sink their teeth into.
  • Give a sense of personality. Put the CEO and VPs on the website so we can get to know who runs the company. People don't need to know what you're future plans are if you've got a stellar CEO or a VP with some legendary ideas.
  • Show the value add. If you're website doesn't distinguish yourself from the competition than forget it. If the technology your competitive advantage is built on is that short lived you better have either a patent or some serious marketing skills.
  • Give several forms of contact. Always, always, always have an email, phone number, and mailing address. Bonus points for detailing the best ways to do so. Nothing irks me more than trying to figure out whether is located in an area I want to live. Make sure this is real easy to find so they get the message that 'We want to talk to you'.
  • Update the site regularly. Gain users respect by showing them how much blood, sweat, and tears you're putting into this product. If product B has surpassed expectations bring it front and center. Start a company blog, even if it does contain basic press release information, it's much easier for users to circulate a url than it is a pdf. Respect your users by giving them information on updates or new features as soon as their available via some sort of RSS or email subscription. (Preferably the former as users can peruse it when they want versus it falling away in their inbox)
  • Good Design is an Art. Don't kid yourself, if you have more than 30 employees, you can afford contract someone who studies this stuff to build the website for you in under a few short months. Unless of course part of you're value add is part of this design in that case you should already have some capable hands on full time.
With that you give everyone from industry conferences to family friends something to get excited about. I mean seriously, you know how sick I am of saying "I'm a Software Engineer" and that's it?