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Beyoncé launched her new website to an avalanche of media buzz. Most of the attention went to the collection of intimate photos featured on the notoriously private star’s Tumblr blog launched on the same day. However, the real news is the superstar’s savvy in recognizing the importance of having an online presence that reflects her brand.

Before the revamp, Beyoncé’s web presence consisted of a Twitter page she never used, and a website managed by her label that offered news and photos a day late and a dollar short. Beyoncé decided to do something about the problem last year when she issued an urgent brief to agencies – she wanted “a site that looks like who she is an artist, someone who likes fashion and art and photography and travel,” said an executive close to the Knowles team. “She has all sorts of interest and wants to communicate that.”

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Some may wonder why Beyoncé even bothered. Awareness isn’t a problem for her. But, revamping her website isn’t about awareness; it’s about giving access to her fans while maintaining control over her image. Beyoncé has long showed signs that she wants to be the only one running the show when it comes to her image – from ending her father’s management of her career to releasing the first photos of her daughter through a personal blog. Her new website is a hub for her to disseminate information.

Beyoncé’s seeming perfection on stage and in interviews has brought her criticism for being robotic. Her website addresses these concerns as well, creating a sense of intimacy, complete with hand-written notes. The photos she includes on her Tumblr show her at her most human – no makeup, surrounded by family. The site also features a peak at what inspires her via her blog, and a fan section allows her “beyhive” to see themselves on her site, and show that their Queen Bey sees them.

The pop diva is off to great start. She’s already updated her blog – and garnered headlines – with penned notes to Sade, Basquiat, and the First Lady. Hopefully she’s in it for the long haul, because building a website is only the first step to creating an effective online presence. Here are 9 easy steps you can take to build an authentic web presence of your own:

  1. Start with a solid strategy: Define the goals of your website and what components will be created to address these needs.
  2. Build a Website: Your website is the hub of your online presence. Be sure to include an “About” page that clearly explains what you do, and a “Contact” page so you can be easily reached.
  3. Create an Effective Homepage: Visitors should be able to gather who you are and why they should trust you within moments of coming to your site.
  4. Start Blogging: Don’t be intimidated, blogging simply means continually updating the content of your site. It gives readers a reason to come back.
  5. Be Social: If your website is your hub, then social media channels like Twitter and Facebook are your outposts. This is where you reach clients and customers where they are. Be sure your strategy addresses your social media presence – you don’t need to be on every channel, just where your audience is.
  6. Be Consistent: Utilize the same design elements (color, logo, etc.) and language wherever your company is referenced. This way your visitor has no doubt they are in the right place when they find you online.
  7. Participate: Setting up your web presence is just step one. Keep updating your content and interacting with your visitors to keep your presence interesting.
  8. Be Relevant: There should be a strategy behind every piece of content you post on your site or through social media.  Keeping your content focused ensures you attract and retain the right audience to your site.
  9. Optimize: Your website, social presence, and content should be optimized for search engines. How else will anybody find you? A beginner’s guide to SEO (search engine optimization) is available here.

Cortney Cleveland is a freelance writer and content strategist in New York City. You can follow her on Twitter @CleveInTheCity.

via. Madame Noire.