How 2.0 Are You?
In other words, what “version” of the Internet experience are you providing visitors to your Web site? Is your content static or dynamic? Are you preaching, teaching…or interacting? Are you creating a dialogue, or are you simply telling your company’s life story, as if anybody cares?
Just by going through that little exercise, I’m sure you already have a clearer idea of what Web 2.0 is all about. It’s about being visitor-driven, instead of ego-driven.
The Internet is 25 years old already, so it’s about time we got beyond the basics. While you’re pondering that thought, take a minute to have a little Internet trivia fun. Click the answer link on the right to find the answers.
1.0 is publishing. 2.0 is participation.
Think of it this way. Web 1.0 is publishing. Web 2.0 is participation.
A Web 1.0 site just lays out the information and doesn’t give the visitor much ability to pick and choose, let alone save and share. On the other hand, a 2.0 site allows visitors to interact with your content.
Now some of you may look back on the good old days of 1.0 and say, why? Why not keep it simple? After all, having a Web presence was so easy when all you had to do was write a few pages of copy about your company and give it to a Web designer to pretty up and put online.
Put your customers in control.
But if that’s your mindset, you aren’t seeing the enormous potential of Web 2.0 — because the quality of your customer’s online experience dramatically impacts your sales success. Simply put, if your customers and prospects feel in control when they visit your site, they’ll stay there longer, and come to better appreciate what you can do for them. That translates into greater brand loyalty and increased sales.
An added bonus is the fact that Web 2.0 implementation is enormously cost-effective. Instead of spending thousands to spread the word about your company and its offerings through conventional means, a viral strategy will enable your current customer base to do it for you.
Set your sites on Google’s front page.
Another significant bonus is the fact that Web 2.0 delivery mechanisms, by their very nature, significantly enhance your search engine exposure. Blogging, for example, can have extraordinary impact on your ranking, if you use the right phrases and keywords. And if you keep your content fresh with incoming links and comments, you could wind up on Google’s front page some day.
However, don’t be too hasty. If a blog doesn’t make sense for your business, don’t do one. It all depends on what you’re trying to accomplish with your Web presence.
A few steps to take between 1 and 2.
Here are a few additional ways to progress from 1.0 to 2.0 in the Web world.
First off, “microchunk” your content. Trim it down to a point where it is still usable, relevant, but highly sharable. After all, word-of-mouth advertising is still the most efficient means of growing your customer base, and Web 2.0 applications facilitate the process beautifully.
One way to encourage content sharing is to provide a “Tell Others” or “Invite Others” page. You may also want to use permalinks to uniquely identify content items on your Web site, so that users can easily e-mail, bookmark, and pass the address of your content around. And consider allowing visitors to access whatever new content you provide at the time of their choosing by offering it as an RSS feed, (Really Simple Syndication) even if it’s just for your job opportunity section.
How to keep things moving.
Next, move beyond low-resolution GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) and JPEG product images into Web 2.0 media technologies like streaming audio, video demonstrations, and 360-degree product and facility tours. All the while keep in mind that the PC is not the only means of accessing your Web site. You have to design for handheld devices as well.
Finally, use Web 2.0 analytics to guide everything you do. Continually monitor navigation activity and adjust according the what’s working and what’s not. If your Web analytics tell you that visitors aren’t clicking where you want them to, and aren’t digging into content critical to meeting your communications and marketing objectives, make adjustments.