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What is web 2.0?

What is web 2.0?

Author -  Allan Kent [Guest]

Surprisingly Web 2.0 is not a technical term at all. It refers to the interactive way we now use the internet. In actual fact a more descriptive definition could well be - “Democratisation of the web”, meaning that it’s not just website owners that have their say on the net, we all do!

The term came about to explain the evolvement of our use of the internet when interactive sites such as Facebook, e-Bay and Trade Me and Friend Finder came on the scene. At about the same time wikis and Blogs suddenly became main-stream. What they all have in common is that they expect interaction – audience participation. Indeed to a large extent, their viability depends on it. This type of internet usage differs hugely from the early days of the internet where websites were generally information based with it controlled by the website owner/administrator. Most company websites were simply online versions of their brochures.

Should you make your site a Web 2.0 one?

That’s hard to say – it really does depend on what you want your website to do for you, i.e. it's role. However, what I will say is – if your audience expects online interaction and you don’t have that ability, you will be at a disadvantage to those that do.

Consider this analogy. You’re selling a new car. It has a good engine, good looks, is well built and safe! That’s all that should matter, right? What if it doesn’t have cup holders or a docking station for your iPod?  These aren’t essential, but people do expect them. If they are not available you will have fallen short of their expectations and will be at a disadvantage – perhaps even against inferior modules, but which do include them.

How can I make mine more interactive then?

Some of the simplest ways are listed here:

  • Add an integrated Blog (Contegros Blog Module) and produce regular content updates that encourage comments and which bring people back again and again to your site.
  • Survey your audience online and then display these findings on the site. Not only does this produce useful market research, people naturally want to see if their opinions align with others. (The Form Builder module will cover all this functionality)
  • Ask very simple/quick questions through a Voting Poll. Again, this is excellent market research and will bring anyone who voted back to see the final result. Subway New Zealand used this idea very successfully in conjunction with a TV campaign where people were asked to vote on a choice of 2 sandwiches. This had an immediate and massive impact on their website traffic and helped grow their regular customer base substantially.
  • Add ‘share’ controls on your site to allow the audience to quickly and easily share it with others. With social media being so active, a Blog article or some new product information can quickly spread way beyond your existing client base creating new business opportunities for you. Find out more
  • Add ratings and reviews – especially to your products area. Peer reviews are very powerful and can be a useful aid to sales growth. Yes, there can be a downside with negative reviews, but isn’t it useful to get this type of feedback so that you can address it?
    Read more about this topic here
  • E cards - These won’t work for every site, but for B2C businesses they could be viable, especially if used in conjunction with social media.

Our final word of advice?

Business always runs smoother if you are able to meet or exceed the expectations of those you want to do business with. Take a good look at websites in your industry and then at yours. If others are actively involving their audience, then you should be too. If they are not, but you can see scope in doing so, then you will immediately be giving yourself a competitive advantage.

As interaction is the name of the game here, please – do give us your feedback below. Do you agree with what we’ve said here?  We look forward to hearing from you.

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