Due to the fact that in today’s world almost everyone goes online to meet both their personal and business needs, it has become normal for many first impressions to be made on the internet.

Whether you are on the Google search engine looking up a restaurant review; are an employer glancing through Facebook posts for future hires at your business; or simply just a client looking for someone to represent your company – your first impression of these people and businesses is going to be made online, without personal contact.

Because of these encounters being made solely based on information, photos and posts made online, it is vital for business owners, customers, potential employees and entrepreneurs alike to be very conscientious of what they put online.

The following are a few scenarios and tips on how to make sure that you represent yourself in the most professional way possible.

1~ For Your Business Website. It’s very important to have an updated website that is both professional looking and easily accessible for all users.

It has been proven that it only takes someone three seconds to form an opinion of your business once visiting your website. Because of this short time span – constant updates or complete modernization is a must, and should be one of your tasks as a business owner.

Business websites should focus on several areas that stimulate the senses, thus boosting the visitor’s brain to want to pursue more, and to  make a good first impression. If you don’t catch someone’s attention immediately – both site visitors and potential clients can be bored or confused – thus going to a different website to conduct their business.

To grab attention, your business website should have good color and images, for stimulation – and should contain your company logo and all social media icons. The site should also have photos and an easily accessible menu bar for navigation.

Take the extra time and money to have your business website represent your company both simply and professionally – making a good and lasting impression.

2~ For Your Personal Accounts. Since we live in a world powered by social media sites, it is no surprise that your Facebook page can be a first impression of you by a future employer or colleague. In fact, many managers will look you up on social media sites before even meeting your personally for an interview.

Knowing these facts means that what you post online, even on personal accounts, should be thought out, and represent you well.

Because of this, your cover photo and profile picture should both be safe and conservative. Unless you change your settings on Facebook to “private”, anyone can view these pictures. Try to choose a nice landscape picture for your cover photo, and either a simple picture of you smiling, or a family picture for your profile picture. This way you have clean and happy photos for others to view, and are well represented for those viewers that you haven’t met in person.

It is also a good idea to go back and clean up your posts and pictures that you were tagged in years ago. Things that you participated in during your college years may not be something that you want others to view today – as you have grown and changed. Although those photos may be from long ago, they can still be accessed by potential employers today. Take a few extra minutes to keep your Facebook page professional and up to date, so that you are ready to impress all viewers.

3~ Finding Business Reviews. With easy access to the internet at our fingertips at all times, it’s now never been easier to find business reviews before hiring someone. Also in the past are the days when you had to try out a new restaurant before knowing anything about the establishment.

Because of websites like yellowpages.com, the public can now have access to reviews on local doctors, personal businesses or restaurants, helping to make our decision making process much easier.

Want to hire someone to start lawn care work around your home, but need recommendations? Visiting one of these sites will not only offer suggestions for businesses in your area, but also provide several reviews from individuals that have used the businesses themselves.

The same type of information can be found about restaurants, hotels, and even local doctors that you may have been inquiring about before making an appointment.

Although this helps the public in their decision making process, it can be detrimental to the business if they get bad reviews – as once again the first impression made of the company is online. For that reason, businesses must constantly be updating their websites and striving to meet the needs of every customer, in order to achieve those good reviews.

First impressions in person may be intimidating, filling us with worry about appearances and body language, but in today’s high tech world, the majority of first impressions are made online – and are just as important as you never know who, or how many will be reached. Stay diligent, clean up your personal sites, and be professional, and you will move forward with today’s technology and social networking era.