The best kind of personal branding combines real-world communications with virtual visibility and community-building via social media.

Online brand-building enables you to reach beyond the people you can connect with in person and allows you to measure the impact of your actions.

Since online personal-branding efforts are easier to track and measure, you can see how your brand pervades the World Wide Web. Here are five easy-to-use Web tools to help you get a handle on how powerful and prevalent your virtual personal brand is.

1. Google Alerts (

Google Alerts notifies you via email when your name shows up on the Web, and it provides links to the reference sites so you can see exactly what's being said. That is a great way to stay on top of all references to your name.

When you establish your alerts, remember to put your name in quotes (e.g., "william arruda") so you get accurate results. You can receive alerts in real time or in daily or weekly digests.

Use Google Alerts to track Web happenings related to your area of expertise, too. For example, I have a Google Alert set up for "personal branding" so I can stay on top of the latest articles and conversations related to my passion.

You can also use Google Alerts to stay on top of what's happening with your close professional contacts.

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image of William Arruda

William Arruda is a personal branding pioneer, the founder and CEO of Reach Personal Branding, and the author of Ditch. Dare. Do! 3D Personal Branding for Executives.

Twitter: @williamarruda

LinkedIn: William Arruda