Web 2.0 For The Self-Employed

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Web 2.0 And The Self-Employed

A few naive self-employed business owners out there are actually still wondering if having a robust, Web 2.0 Web presence is really necessary. It is. These days, you simply must rock your website and your social media if you are going to make it.

Any small business that is not maximizing its Web presence is blowing it, big time.

Any small business that is not maximizing its Web presence is blowing it, big time.

First, let’s make sure we are on the same page. When discussing Web 2.0, what we are talking about is an era where websites are more interactive, engaging, and interesting than before. They are not static, as they were, say, 10 years ago, where all you could do was read content. Instead, a Web 2.0 site is one (like the one here ate TSE) where visitors can engage with you, your business, and your site by:

• Posting comments on your blog, or articles, or chatting in a forum.
• Re-tweeting your content, sharing it on Facebook, Stumbling or Digging it.
• Watching a video, listening to a podcast, or participating in a webinar.
• Taking a quiz or responding to a poll.

The essence of Web 2.0 is that it is collaborative and interactive. By creating a site that engages and interacts with people, that makes them want to stick around (hence the term “sticky site”) you give people more of a chance to create a connection with your business.

Three Main Reasons to Have a Great Web 2.0 Website When You’re Self-Employed

1. Credibility: Bottom line: These days, people judge you by your website. Don’t you do the same? Don’t you often check out a company’s site before deciding to use them? A great website levels the playing field; you can look every bit as big and professional as your biggest competitor. Your website is your sign to the world, your brand manager, your e-business card, and your PR agent all rolled into one. Yeah, it’s pretty important.

So, be sure to Play Big.

2. Marketing Gold: Similarly, your website is an incredible opportunity to market your business and brand it accordingly. Sure, simple sites are fine – but who wants to be just fine? By creating a  robust, interactive, gorgeous, professional site, you are creating a bigger and better image for your business.

3. Additional profit center: Ideally, your site should be more than just an e-sign, it should be another way to create business. Either it is so good and impressive that it almost forces people to seek you out, or it actually sells goods and services and makes you money directly. Either way, a Web 2.0 site has a much better chance of becoming a new profit center than does a static, boring, Web 1.0 sort of site.

So How Then Do You Jazz Up Your Website?

OK, so if this makes sense, what sort of functionality should you be looking at adding to your site? Here are some easy ones to start with:

Video: Video is probably the top Web 2.0 tool out there right now, and for good reason. For instance, it is estimated that if you have video on your homepage, upwards of 80% of your visitors will click on it first (so it better be good!).

Your video addition can be as simple as uploading some content onto YouTube and then posting it and a YouTube player on your site, or as “complicated” as creating professional video and search engine optimizing it for high Google rankings. Either way, video will make your site friendlier and stickier.

User-created content: Adding forums, polls, and comments is a fairly easy thing to do these days (depending, of course, on what platform was used to build your site).

And consider adding a blog. It is a great SEO (Search Optimization Engine) tool. Your posts are fresh content, the comments are fresh content, and search engines like fresh content.

Written content:  Content is not Queen, and Content is not Duke. Content is King. Creating short, interesting articles is not that hard, but they do engage the visitor. Or what about creating a free e-book? It need not be long, but it is a nice perk, and again, it means that a visitor will have more of a connection with your business. And don’t forget about your free e-newsletter.

Social Media: All of this should link to your Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook account, and vice-versa.

When you get real good at this Web 2.0 stuff, what will happen? People will share it – via email links, tweets, whatever, and that’s the ticket.

And that is what I call word of mouth advertising 2.0.


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