Web 2.0 is NOT New: Discover How This Impacts Your Small Business Website(s)

Posted by Alan / on 01/22/2010 / 1 Comment

Most People Think Web 2.0 is New Even Though It's Been in Discussion for Over 10 Years

Web 2.0 According to Wikipedia.com back in 2004 and coined in 1999, Web 2.0 is:

...commonly associated with web applications that facilitate interactive information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design, and collaboration on the World Wide Web. Examples of Web 2.0 include web-based communities, hosted services, web applications, social-networking sites, video-sharing sites, wikis, blogs, mashups, and folksonomies. A Web 2.0 site allows its users to interact with other users or to change website content, in contrast to non-interactive websites where users are limited to the passive viewing of information that is provided to them.


What most people (even industry professionals) don't know is the term "Web 2.0" was coined in 1999 by Darcy DiNucci. In her article, "Fragmented Future," DiNucci writes:


The Web we know now, which loads into a browser window in essentially static screenfulls, is only an embryo of the Web to come. The first glimmerings of Web 2.0 are beginning to appear, and we are just starting to see how that embryo might develop. The Web will be understood not as screenfulls of text and graphics but as a transport mechanism, the ether through which interactivity happens. It will [...] appear on your computer screen, [...] on your TV set [...] your car dashboard [...] your cell phone [...] hand-held game machines [...] maybe even your microwave oven.


In 2004, the term began its rise in popularity when O'Reilly Media and MediaLive hosted the first Web 2.0 conference. In their opening remarks, John Batelle and Tim O'Reilly outlined their definition of the "Web as Platform", where software applications are built upon the Web as opposed to upon the desktop. The unique aspect of this migration, they argued, is that "customers are building your business for you". They argued that the activities of users generating content (in the form of ideas, text, videos, or pictures) could be "harnessed" to create value. (Excerpt from Wikipedia.com)


Let me ask the question...


Are All Web Service Providers Created Equal in the Web 2.0 Space - And How Do You Compare Apples to Apples Versus Apples to Oranges?


I believe this can be answered very simply - when working on the web, whether as a service provider or small business person - there's a lot to know. I liken it to needing work done on my car - I don't know the first thing about car engines or the computers running them - so I go to the automotive shop and trust the mechanic will enlighten me without fleecing my wallet.


In my 13 years in web development I can honestly say there are very few development companies truly serving their clients for immediate and long term success, thus wasting time and overspending on website design and development.


Meaning, there are two types of web developers and designers.


Those who stay with what they've been doing for years and continue to sell antiquated development and design without upgrading their knowledge and never consider a focus on marketing...


Or


Those who can be recognized as "life learners" and build upon a solid foundation where the client realizes REAL return on investment by way of USING the website as a tool - not a book on the shelf... so to speak...


So what does this have to do with Web 2.0?


EVERYTHING


Internet growth and innovation runs on dog years... things evolve and change quickly... Web 2.0 has been in transition for over 10 years (or 70 years if you're a dog :-)


The remainder of this article will give you guidelines to follow when seeking Web 2.0 solutions for you and your business.


First and foremost, the innovations of web tools have been incredible to say the least - use the following guidance when seeking a website solution for your business.


  • Find a Web Partner: Business consultants always speak about building THE TEAM (accountants, lawyers & industry relevant professionals) around you and your business. This is clearly because we can't know or do everything required to run a successful small business. This goes to with a Web Partner - not a "webmaster" - webmasters are employees who can manage your site tasks - a Web Partner is a person or group who provides the tools and knowledge to grow and succeed.

And most importantly your Web Partner leads by example - if you go to a website of a web development company and all they do is tell you "what they do" without an upfront clarity on how it will benefit you - they're clueless about marketing and will do the same for you, with lack luster results.

Your Web Partner will not have services in multiple tech spaces - working with a company who offers web design, development, and IT solutions, and then marketing as an after-thought - they're likely not going to be the best at all of these services - you don't want the Walmart of online solutions.

Consider the website company's website you are looking at - is their message clear about who they are - do they have obscure images that are irrelevant to you attaining a successful set of web tools? Pay attention to these things - if the website is saying, "here's what we do" RUN. 


Another clear indication of a half-baked web designer/developer is their work- does it look like they use the same template for many of their clients sites - this is a clear indication of a cookie-cutter operation not genuinely spending time on each clients products, services, market and they're certainly not thinking about marketing.

 

I'm shedding light on these things simply to share what a Web 1.0 web company looks like - even if they're using content management systems to update the site - most often lack luster development companies will use open source website frameworks and produce cluttered sites without a true focus.

 

The opposite and clear Web 2.0 player tells you what's in it for you and shows you upfront what you get in terms of tools without jumping through hoops or listening to geek speak industry terms.


  • Build a Strong Foundation: Most web development companies or freelancers build websites for unsuspecting small business owners without a long term growth mind-set. For example, can your website take on new marketing and design strategies without having to spend more money on development and design? This is critically important - it's like getting the printer for free or cheap and then paying premium on the ink cartridges - it never ends. Be sure when you have your website built or over-hauled you consider the long term growth and scalability without being held hostage by added costs for the life of the site.


Web 2.0 website tools rely on the community who use them - the community provides feedback and takes ownership of the tools. Having a proprietary website system built from the ground up is so 1990's. Find a set of integrated web tools you can use where the advances, improvements and additions don't cost you over and over - this totally exists right now and has been proven to be a very successful and affordable model for small business owners.


You must realize that three years ago most small business people didn't even know what a blog was - now it's an instrumental piece to marketing, communication and interaction within the market - it's required for online success with things like search engine optimization (SEO), lead generation, promoting products, traffic generation and greater reach and exposure in your market.


A current ever growing set of web tools as the foundation to your small business website positions you to successfully evolve with the advances in Web and Business 2.0 - without it, you'll always be playing catch-up, likely miss the bus and over spend on design and development, not to mention wasting valuable time.


  • Your Website IS Your Marketing: Most web designers and developers rarely, if ever think about marketing when building websites for their clients - this is why you see most small business websites without the capability of successfully generating targeted leads and creating a consistent following, ultimately converting to sales - they don't have the website tools to do it, let alone grow- so you'll see old ideas like a small box in a corner of the site saying- "sign up for my/our newsletter"


In today's Web 2.0 world a newsletter opt-in is like trying to get the attention of a loud and over crowded room of thousands by whispering - it doesn't work or only attracts a tiny fraction of the market. I'm not saying newsletters don't work - but they are certainly not an effective lead generator. It's only after you have the trust of the site visitor you can ask them to receive your newsletter - its most effectively used AFTER they're a client and bought services from you.


Lastly, your Web Partner isn't an independent web designer, freelance web developer or a web company who doesn't "get" how to market online.


So I ask you, Why Bother Marketing without The Right Web Tools?


The right web tools are holistic, integrated, and scalable. And they don't require ongoing development or design costs over the life of the site providing quick and immediate ROI for the production and saving you tons of money long term.


Web 2.0 is about doing daily, weekly and monthly web marketing and business with speed, consistency and reliability. The growth of web-based applications on the user side (both site owner & site visitor) has allowed for successful integration of design and development coupled with marketing.


Attempting to build a successful small business using the Internet is senseless without considering all three elements. And all three elements have the available advantages of Web 2.0 innovations.


Consider this: A product and service, no matter how amazing it is - no matter what problem you may be solving in the market is useless if your website doesn't capture targeted leads, follow-up with leads and convert leads into sales - what's the point?


In our overcrowded markets using Web 2.0 as it is intended will save you time, money and aggravation - Web 2.0 equals efficient and results producing design, development and marketing - you'll be hard-pressed to truly build a profitable successful business without all three.


It won't matter if you're on Facebook, Twitter and a community site if you're not utilizing the Web 2.0 advances on your business website.


Let me know if you see things differently or disagree with what I wrote here - let's flush this out together and collectively improve our website results using Web 2.0 technologies.


Thank you for reading :-D

 

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Comments

  • Stewart says:

    We cannot NOT communicate and whatever is out there about you or under your name is a marketing communication!

    January 25, 2010 at 1:44 PM | Permalink

 

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