Web 2.0: The Best Opportunities Online Are Social | WebReference

Web 2.0: The Best Opportunities Online Are Social

Web 2.0: The Best Opportunities Online Are Social

By Allen Taylor

Web 2.0. Say it out loud because it's here. But what is it?

In a word, Web 2.0 is the name given to the post dot-com boom and bust of Internet growth. It's been impressive, hasn't it? Companies such as eBay, PayPal and Amazon have proven that business can be conducted on the Web and it can be profitable. Now the rest of us can have our turn.

Internet growth and business management in the post dot-com bust world can be described in one word: Collaboration. If you've been wondering how to tap into this Internet boom you've got to learn how relationships are built online and capitalize on it. There are no lone rangers online. While collaboration is the key to success in the Web 2.0 world, it helps to know what tools are available as you embark upon your new venture in cyberspace. Here's a short list:

  • Blogs

  • Content Management Systems

  • Wiki

  • RSS

  • Affiliate Programs

You can expect this list to grow. You're probably wondering, "What can I do with these tools?" That's a good question and the answer is, whatever your imagination unveils. Nevertheless, here are a few tips:

Blogs ­ If you don't have a blog by now, you're behind the eight ball. Blogs are the first step into Web 2.0. They allow you to start a conversation with your customers and to enter into dialogue with the marketplace. You can update your customers on your business plan, survey or poll your customers to find out what they want and receive feedback from your customers by allowing them to comment on your posts. Of course, you can always have a collaborative blog where more than one blogger makes posts to the blog as several successful and high profile blogs have already done. Example: Church of the Customer.

Content Management Systems (CMS) ­ A CMS is an easy way for you to manage your Web site's content. It's almost impossible not to have one in the Web 2.0 market. Unless you're planning to learn programming languages like HTML and Java, or you have the money to hire a full-time webmaster, then you'll benefit from a CMS. There are three ways to go about this, however:

  • Open Source

  • Purchase a System

  • Design Your Own

Which of these ways is best for you depends on your goals and circumstances. Just know that a CMS can shave off a lot of time in your marketing and business plans. You can upload content to your Web site in just a few minutes as opposed to a few hours. This is something you definitely want to learn about. Examples: Joomla and Drupal are two open source content management systems.

Wiki ­ The ways to use Wiki haven't been fully explored but what you'll need to understand about Wiki technology is it's intrinsically collaborative, unlike HTML. Wiki allows you to build a Web site without spending time uploading content. This is true collaboration and gets right to the heart of what Web 2.0 is all about. One famous Wiki, Wikipedia, allows users to add encyclopedic entries and edit content input by others. This is truly amazing technology.

RSS ­ Another Web 2.0 technology we couldn't live without is RSS. There are several acceptable meanings to this acronym but the one I prefer is Really Simple Syndication. In essence, if you're not syndicating your content then your content isn't getting found. Everyone is doing it, or should be. And anything can be syndicated ­ blogs, articles, Web copy, news, jokes, anything you put on your Web site. RSS allows your visitors to subscribe to your content and receive updates automatically every time you change or add to your content. Yahoo! Pipes is the latest RSS tool to appear on the scene and gives users the ability to mash several RSS feeds into one.

Affiliate Programs ­ It's difficult to fit this one into the Web 2.0 model without a little imagination but it's a powerful tool for building any Web business. An affiliate program allows you to build a sales force that will promote you, your products and your services for you. The great thing about affiliate programs is that you don't have to pay your sales force until they make a sale. You can build a list of business partners, most of whom will become your customers before anyone else even hears about your new products just because they want to try it out first so that they can help promote it and make extra income. Don't overlook this powerful method of building your Web 2.0 business. One of the foremost authorities on affiliate programs is Allan Gardyne at www.associateprograms.com.

Web 2.0 is all about building online relationships and collaborating for maximum growth. To succeed online, you must be willing to shed your lone ranger mentality and develop partnerships. My most successful ventures were a result of joining forces with someone else. I'm confident that yours will be too.

For more information, visit: http://www.taylor-and-associates.com or call: 866-630-1700.

Created: March 27, 2003
Revised: March 26, 2007

URL: http://webreference.com/internet/web2/1