The mental business card

The ultimate goal of flyers, business cards, clubs and directories is that people connect. So the ultimate goal logically is a mental business card, mental flyer, mental club and mental listing.

There are two streams of contact: ‘Can those who search for me find me quickly on the Web?’ and ‘Can people come across me who were searching for something or someone else me on the Web?’. The goals of traffic may be the same but setting out the trail may require different strategies and resources.

Pop stars at the top don’t need reminders. They can shorten their name to Elvis or Madonna as their mental business card. If your name is uncommon like Ebenezer Geheuchenschtein you may have little competition. An internet search will quickly find any page with the distinctive phrase ‘Ebenezer Geheuchenschtein’. But if you want people to find you by your nickname ‘Eb’ a search on that pulls up over one billion pages with those two letters (including popular eBay).

My own situation is a good example. The logical ultimate mental business card goal for my name ‘Tom Benjamin’ would be that you only needed to remember ‘Tom’ or ‘T’ to find me via search engines. But those bring up some pretty stiff competition. The letter ‘T’ brings up 24 billion search results. ‘Tom’ narrows it to a mere 2 billion. A logical approach would be to buy a rhyming domain name like, which indeed I did. I bought and  So all you’d need to remember was ‘that guy Tom in Australia’ to logically find me. So it’s a good start as a mental business card but even that is no guarantee. Someone else may have bought the name. Or you may leave off the ‘au’ or ‘-‘ and get someone else’s site. Nor does it guarantee the search engines will find me.

The search engines will be looking for links to my site from other people. If I want people to find me who weren’t particularly searching for my name I need to link my name with their searches.

For example, common searches are “How can I use the internet to make money?”, “personal brand” and “making money with …”. So you would try and find a tasteful way of getting these key words into a page (as I’ve just done here by putting these words on this page!). The search engine will look to see if the words are used in a logical way that follows from other parts of the page and links. The engines rely on search robots for this vast scale indexing so it requires some care to get the right mix of words so that the algorithm doesn’t regard it as an attempt to mislead.

So understanding the psychology of the internet is a good start. It changes rapidly. Methods that worked last week can become tomorrows Myths of the Web. For example –

  • Do you need more followers on Twitter?
  • Do you need an exact match domain name?
  • How important is ‘page rank’?
  • Do you need a groovy hi-tech web site?
  • Do you need to be popular: friends & hits?
  • Will buying ads help your search rank?
  • Should you comment prolifically on blogs and forums?
  • Must you submit site to search engines?
  • They say ‘Content is king’: does that mean ‘professional-quality’?

The answers to such questions change over time. People make a living offering you a service to keep up with these changes.



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