Strategies for Creating a Positive Professional Online Presence

Every time I log onto the Internet, I leave a mark.  It’s time to make sure my mark is building a positive digital trail. 

1. The first step in creating a positive and professional online presence is to simply search for my name in all the main web browsers. Seeing the information that appears in the search engines and identifying my current digital footprint can help me ensure that the news, images, and web search contain factual information about me. I definitely do not want any inappropriate information posted about me nor do I want any information that could be misconstrued as negative.  Jean Dumais (2013) suggests that searching for your name can reveal the following:

  • How common your name is
  • How much information you have provided on the web (Facebook, LinkedIn, online forums or discussion groups, other social networks)
  • How much information has been written by others about you (mentions in newspapers, professional publications, employer’s website)
  • How much public data exists about you in general (public records ranging from marriage license, real estate transactions, legal actions)

2. When choosing a strategy for my digital footprint, I need to first begin by examining my strengths as well as my weaknesses as an online participant and professional.  This is because it is important to match my strategy with my online presence.  For example, I am a better, blogger, Youtuber or Facebooker than I am a Tweeter, so in order to maximize my digital footprint, I will want to focus on building my profile on those social networking cites rather than spending too much time on other cites I might not use very much. (Mitch, 2009)

3. In keeping in line with this idea, I really need to have the philosophy that quality is always better than quantity; therefore, even though more posts may help “get me out there,” of course I want anything that is out there to be my best work.  So I need to consider this always, and edit material as necessary(Mitch 2009).

4. In order to optimize search engine hits or the occurrence and the size of my digital footprint, I need to increase my blogging and my comments on others’ blogs.  One goal would be to write a blog of about 250 words per week.  This will allow my blog to pop up in the top spots when my name is Googled. (Ratcliff, 2011). In addition, I need to focus on using key words, tags, or relevant titles.

5. I need to utilize my own digital radar by setting up a Google Alert and entering my own name in the Google news alert tab. This way, I will always know what my online presence is, and that will allow me to manage my digital footprint (Nelson & Simek 2008).

6. One thing I need to remember to do is to update my profile on all of my social media sites.  This will allow the viewer to have access to the most recent and relevant information about me (Joel,2009).

7. Next, I need to consider blocking anyone who reflects poorly on my reputation.  In other words, if I am “friends” with someone on Facebook, and he or she posts an inappropriate response, I need to delete it and potentially “unfriend” the person.  It is just not worth it to damage my reputation and jeopardize the integrity of my digital footprint over someone else’s views (Jorgensen, 2012).

8. Another site that I am going to join to enhance my digital footprint is LinkedIn.  According to Dumais, 2013, “this networking site is a good choice for putting your professional foot forward on the web.”  She also states that this social network will change the priority of my name when conducting searches.

9. I am going to make it a habit to search my name about once every month.  Even though I am signing up for Google Alerts, I think it is a good idea to continually monitor what comes up in various search engines (Jorgensen, 2012).

10. I am not going to post status map updates from my phone; I haven’t done this very much in the past, and I am not going to do it in the future, unless I am at a conference or somewhere that reflects my profession.  (Bernard, 2013)


Bernard, D. (2013, August 27). Increase your online presence. Retrieved from

Dumais, J. (2013, March 20). Have you googled yourself lately? control your digital footprint. Retrieved from

Joel, M. (2009, March 05). How to build your digital footprint. Retrieved from

Jorgensen, M. (2012 October 1). Your digital footprint. Available from

Nelson, S., & Simek, J. (2008, September). Watching the digital radar with google news alerts. Retrieved from law_practice_archive/lpm_magazine_articles_v34_is6_pg20.html

Ratzlaff, C. (2001 June 17). Creating your digital footprint with social media [Web].
Retrieved from


3 thoughts on “Strategies for Creating a Positive Professional Online Presence

  1. Cynthia, Your strategies are outstanding. I especially liked the first strategy where your bullet statement are kind of a “rule of thumb” to follow sort of a mantra.


  2. I enjoyed reading your thoughts. Your second strategy is different than information I had found in my research. One of my articles says that I should create as many profiles as I can to help show my footprint. It can help to push any negative links to the bottom of a search and also to show that I am well versed in technology. I do like the statement “quality is better than quantity,” but I think if I use my time wisely all of my profiles can be the best I can create them. This just takes a lot of time, which I’m unsure if I have right now with teaching, family, and school. Maybe sometime in my near future I will be able to find more time to spend on all of my profiles. Great job!

  3. Rebecca says:

    Hi Cindy,
    I share many similar strategies in my plan. I, too, want to include the use of Twitter, share more in blogs, and keep tabs of my digital footprint through Google searches. I also see the benefit of connecting on LinkedIn and have an account I never look at. Definitely want to change that!
    I appreciate the specific goals you set for yourself. This is part of the criteria for effective goal setting! I would like to refine my own plan with more specific goals in order to ensure I am actively making progress in my online presence and reputation. Nice work!

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