Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Convert Your Website to Web 2.0 and Reap the Benefits

Web 2.0 is one of the newest and hottest buzzwords on the internet today.  But what exactly does "Web 2.0" mean and why should you convert your existing website to a Web 2.0 site?  Well the exact advantages depend on your site and what you want to get out of it, but all sites will benefit greatly.  If you have a basic business website that shows off your business and its products or services, you may not be very involved with your website.  You probably paid someone to set it up years ago and forgot about it ever since.  But I guarantee that you can get much more out of your website and make it a more integral part of your business with a Web 2.0 website.  With a Web 2.0 site you can keep your customers and clients involved and up to date with your organization's latest events and specials.  You can also enable interactivity with your website visitors, allowing them to leave comments, rate pages, easily share content with their friends via social networking sites such as Twitter, Google+, and Facebook, track where your visitors come from and where they go on your site, update content on the fly, and much more.Pretty much anything is possible with the new Web 2.0 technlogies.  Whether you create a website from scratch or convert an existing site, you can make it happen with a Web 2.0 site.

What exactly is a Web 2.0 website and what does Web 2.0 mean?  Well, there is not one specific definition for the term, but it generally refers to a site that embraces new technologies of the internet such as blogs, forums, videos, etc. and allows for interactivity of visitors, as well as letting site owners easily update and add new pages as well as change the look and feel of the entire site as a whole.  In the past, in order to update a website a programmer would have to change the code for each and every page on the site.  In order to add a new page a programmer would have to create all new sourcecode for the new page and add links to it in the navigation area of all the other pages so users can find it.  This is a long and tedious process, and the reason that in the past web programmers would limit the number of pages they would offer you and charge more for adding additional pages.

Perhaps you are a band, entertainer, or motivational speaker.  If you want to let people know where you will be and other up to date information, it is simple with a Web 2.0 site.  With a standard website, every time you want to update the site with new info, you needed to pay your website's programmer and have them go into the source code of the site and update it with the necessary info, a very long and tedious process - not to mention expensive!  However if you have a site created using Web 2.0 technology or converted to Web 2.0 from an older site, updating your site or adding pages is as easy as updating your facebook or sending an email.  Just log into your site with your username and password and with a few clicks you can update your website instantly.

If you want visitors to be able to leave comments on your site, or even if you want to create your own online forum where visitors can create accounts and converse with each other, this is all possible with Web 2.0 technology.  You can set it so you have to approve comments before they are displayed or you can allow guests to post comments on pages and immediatly have them visible to other visitors - whatever you decide is best for your site.  Or you can allow your visitors to rate or leave comments for you to see what they like best, allowing you to see what is working and what isn't.  You can even add a list the highest rated pages to the navigation of your site.

Social networking is huge these days, and if you have a website you should be doing your best to make it easily sharable on social networking sites.  Web 2.0 sites not only make this possible, but make it a no brainer - both for you and your visitors.  Your site can integrate buttons onto each page for Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and more, allowing your visitors to share your site in one simple click.  Research has shown that this alone will make people much more likely to share your site and therefore increasing your audience.  Automated posting on your social networking accounts whenever a new page or post is added to your website or blog is another Web 2.0 feature.  Simply add your account details into the settings of your site and whenever you add a new page, the site will automatically post on your social networking sites with a link to your new page.

A highly overlooked part of website design is formatting for visitors viewing your site on mobile devices.  These days, more and more people are accessing the internet with their mobile devices instead of regular desktop or laptop PCs.  In fact the market share for mobile visitors is quickly approaching that of desktop visitors, and if you don't keep them in mind you are surely doing a large part of your audience a disservice.  Some websites will not display properly when accessing them on mobile phones or tablet devices, and most likely any potential customers will leave and go right to your competitor's site as soon as they encounter a site that doesn't display properly.  However if you have a Web 2.0 enabled site you can enable support for mobile devices, delivering custom designed pages for different types of devices such as standard mobile phones, smart phones with enhanced web browsers, tablet computers, standard PCs, etc.  This means that if a user wants to access your site on their cell phone, they can do so without losing out on all the functionality.  Instead of not being able to load your website at all, the site is customized for their device and lets them have the best browsing experience possible on that device.

Have you ever wondered if anybody is even looking at your site?  What pages are they looking at and where are they coming from - both where they are physically located in the world and what websites are driving them to your site, along with much more information about the visitors of your site is another feature available to Web 2.0 based websites.  This is called analytics, and can be added to any website without extensive modification.  It gives you insight on when and where visitors are accessing your website.  This can be a great advantage, especially if you want to test the ability of your advertising campaigns.  Thats right, you can instantly see if a new advertising campaign is driving more customers to your site by monitoring how many visitors you get, and even what keywords they are searching for in the search engines to find your site.

What other features are available?  What else can your site do for you and your business?  Well ask your questions below for more info or contact me and I can give you a customized quote so you can get a better idea on what is possible with your website.  No matter if you have an established website and you want some consultation on one aspect or you don't have a website at all and your business is new to the online world, I can help you.  Or if you prefer the hands-on approach, check out some of the books below for more in depth information.