OK, let’s get the whole smell of new paint out of the way. This is a new blog where I’ll be sharing my thoughts and advice on Digital Communications and Social Media. OK?
So onto the actual content then. At the risk of repeating myself, are websites dead?
2010 was widely predicted to be the year that Social Media takes off. Well, we’re almost 2 months in now and those predictions are being borne out. The stats from the big players make impressive reading:
- Facebook currently has 400m active users globally. Last summer they had “just” 250m.
- Twitter users are tweeting 50m times a day. That’s a staggering 1500% up on 2008!
- LinkedIn has in excess of 50m members worldwide, 1m up from a year ago.
The revolution is really gathering pace and is gaining so much momentum that it’s even making the mighty Google wobble. Facebook is making serious inroads into the search market by driving more traffic to major portals than Google.
So with the social media space becoming the virtual home for many, and users getting much of their content in the form of feeds, websites as we knew them in the noughties are becoming increasingly redundant. Simply buying a domain name and having a digital agency craft you a beautiful looking set of pages is beginning to look like a waste of money.
The add-ons which we’ve been encouraging clients to incorporate, however, have taken on far more importance. The news feed, the blog and the forum, these staples of the web 2.0 revolution, have grown up and are threatening to overthrow the sites on which they sit. The content which they generate is indexed and accessed in many more ways than ever before. As I sit here, my humble iGoogle homepage saves me from visiting 8 websites in order to mine the info that I want. I have mounted my feeds from blogs, news sites and social media alongside news updates from websites I like.
Now, I’m a geek (and not a card carrying one by any means), and I fully appreciate that I do not represent the average user but the point is that Facebook is rapidly incorporating this content as well. As organisations cotton on to social media we are seeing them feed their content directly to their target audience, right there where they hang out with 400m other people.
So, are wbsites dead? I guess that for the bigger brands there’s a benefit from having a site which offers some custom built bells and whistles. But for those smaller operations, the bread and butter for your average SME web development agency, the benefits are fuzzy. Better maybe that they concentrate on some carefully created SMO objects. Maybe a clever viral on YouTube, a Facebook presence and a properly thought out Twitter strategy are a better place to focus your energies. By all means, feel free to support it with a clear and concise website, but remember that it’s the engagement and the conversation that is going to give you the edge.