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"Web 2.0 How Can A Small Business Use It?"


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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The coining of the term ‘Web 2.0' has largely been attributed to the 2004 O'Reilly Media conference. Contrary to a popular notion, Web 2.0 does not refer to a change in technology; rather it refers to the changing trends in the World Wide Web. Simply put, the technology being used has been around for a while; the change is the innovations that are springing up using existing technology as a base.

While the term Web 2.0 encompasses a wide range of applications, two primary ideas form the core. One is to use the World Wide Web to run software applications, instead of a desktop. This possibility of being able to use the Web for more than just hosting web sites, and using its functionality to run applications is now being increasingly explored. The other key idea is participation. Through participation and the user's knowledge, applications now allow for sharing and manipulation of data on the Web.

An increasing number of small businesses are turning to Web 2.0 technologies to have their computing needs taken care of. Listed below are some of the ways that a small business can benefit from Web 2.0 technologies.

  • Marketing: Sending personalized e-mails to all the customers of a small business is often not possible. However, maintaining a blog is a fairly easy process and you can use a blog to provide information about new products, services, etc. that your small business has to offer. Through your blog, you can also establish yourself as an expert in your field by providing your customers with relevant and correct information. For example, if you run a music store, you could have updates about new releases along with reviews.

You can also use podcasts and webcasts as effective marketing tools. Announcing and explaining new services or products simultaneously to a large number of people can easily be done through a webcast. A relevant and informative video or audio podcast posted on your website can result in increased traffic and can also establish your business' credentials.

  • Collaboration: Using online sites for social networking can help promote collaboration between employees, suppliers, partners, etc. For example, for any information that you come across on the Web that you feel needs to be distributed amongst your staff members, you can upload a link to sites like del.icio.us or DiggTM. These sites can also be used to store information to which access can be gained through any internet enabled computer.

Using wikis can also encourage online collaboration. Wikis can be used by users to organize and share information between internal and external groups through Web browsers.

  • Research: There is a plethora of resources on the World Wide Web when it comes to online resources for research. For example, GoogleTM Alerts gives you the options of getting periodic e-mails which highlight Web based references to desired keywords. You can also use the help of specialized blog search engines like BlogPulseTM and TechnoratiTM to know the performance of your blog.

With more and more changes being made in the World Wide Web, making use of the Web 2.0 applications can only help your small business make the best of the resources that are available.

Provided By: Ray Plumlee
Website Address: www.WWWHelper.com

Ray Plumlee, a retired Naval Officer, retired from the Navy in 1994. Since 1996 he has built his online business by providing services and advice to other people desiring to start an online home based business.

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