You’re busy working with your website designer, discussing graphics, working on your page content and navigation, deciphering your site’s all-important keywords for search engine success.

As a result of considerable planning and decision-making, you’re now focused on launching a magnificent sales-generating website to represent your business online.

Your web design company has certainly performed enough of its technical and artistic magic to make that website a reality.

But at the same time, the last thing you gave any thought to is how you and your business might already come up in search engine result pages before you set out to design that official business website.

What you should think about first

For instance, in terms of internet searches others out there are conducting and bringing up in those searches:

*Your name

*Your existing brick-and-mortar business’s name

*Dissatisfied customer complaints

*Any resolved and unresolved issues with contractors, loan companies, etc.

*The names of your spouse/children

Yes, this is easily accessible information on the Web.

While working with your website designer remember:

Of course it’s important to keep yourself focused on your business’s web design as you prepare to launch a new site for your business.  However, you also need to know exactly what’s out there about you and your business including customer service complaints and even information about your own family members which can draw a distinct connection to you, personally and professionally.

It’s important that you make it your business to conduct a great deal of online research to find out exactly the kind of information available on search engines that could potentially blemish the new website you are paying your web designer to so  handsomely build for you.

For instance, any comments you’ve posted on other websites or message boards in the last several years using your real name.  Those comments will still come up in search engine results.  If you blatantly ridiculed a competitor, if you posted a questionable comment somewhere online, if you simply made an outrageous post on a website – people are destined to find it.

And what about your family members?  Or the business you bought offline that you are now taking online?

Do you know what’s accessible when it comes to your business’s good name and your own reputation?  And what about the people who work for you or the ones you are hiring?  What murky ghosts does the Internet harbor in terms of their reputations and character?

As part of your web design, do research and listen to some experts

David Steen and Scott Allen who wrote, “The Virtual Handshake:  Opening Doors and Closing Deals Online” along with Donna Fisher on About.com say:

The ready availability of information on the Internet makes it easy for people to do free basic background checks on people before entering into business relationships with them. This is something you should definitely do yourself before hiring anybody as an employee, consultant, or contractor.

So what does Google have to say about you?  If you don’t know, you’d better find out.  Those skeletons in your closet may not be as hidden as you think.  Or worse yet, you may have someone else’s skeletons!

It also doesn’t hurt to conduct searches on your children and finding out they are engaging in less than appropriate online postings, as in the case of a friend in the Midwest who contracted with us here at NEXTFLY to build a website for his political campaign.

His teenage daughter had submitted provocative photos of herself to Facebook and other online photo sharing websites like Flickr using her real name and place of residence.

In such cases, the web design company can’t be blamed when surfers on the internet discover such a strong search engine connect to her father running for office.

But there are ways to combat the effect of  such negativity where your business pursuits are concerned as you prepare to develop your website with your designer.

Start with these internet reputation repair tips:

  • * Maximize Your Visibility and Monitor Your Reputation
  • * Google Yourself!
  • * Protect Your Online Reputation

NEXTFLY can help

If such emergency repair work seems to be too time consuming, tedious or beyond your own internet capabilities, don’t despair.  There’s an abundance of “internet reputation repair” companies out there  – or you can talk to us to coincide such tactics with your new website design.

We can do the Googling, the search engine research, even the necessary article-writing for you  at a very reasonable cost.

The bottom line is that as you launch your new website, you have a serious need to know what’s out there on the Web about you and your business.

We’re here for you at NEXTFLY to help you not only build a business website but also to make your business a success online.  Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation on web design, search engine optimization and internet reputation repair.

Debi Ketner is a professional internet marketer.  Read her here each week on nextflywebdesign.com and share your thoughts!