Monday, 2 March 2009

Website or web presence?

The more I see how web2.0 and social media is developing and being used, the more I am convincing myself that it is no longer necessary to have a "website" in the traditional sense.

Granted an e-commerce based business does still need a site that is optimized for SEO etc. But do smaller businesses really need to be search engine optimized?

The rise of twitter has been astounding as has the development by twitterers themselves of a huge variety of functions to widen it's use. Will we reach a point, or have we already(?) where twits start being written with SEO in mind?

Trying to start this debate online has not proved to be the most pleasant of experiences so far, on one site there was an almost instant tirade of abuse, which concentrated on defence of how one must have your own 'owned' website to be credible, one example of such a post being:

"Things like Twitter only work if you're already well known enough for a sufficiently large group of people to WANT to 'follow you' ANYWAY.

So it works for Obama and Branson and Stephen Fry and Chris Moyles. Unfortunately, no-one gives a **** whether I live or die, but that doesn't stop me having to go out and find work each day. If I paid people to listen to my twitterings they'd give the money back (twice over probably) because they actually want to get on with some work. (Something the nerds who invent these things fail to realise) My website is just a showcase. It will never generate me any business but may be useful to people who have heard of me or had me referred to them. That information could, of course, be hosted anywhere, but I and, I believe, the surfing 'business-public' will have a little more faith in the fact that I own my own web home rather than just lodge on someone else's. Sitting commercial content on a blog is no better than the 'mom and pop' sites which used to exist on homestead and angelfire."

The conversation I am still wanting to have is whether we will see a shift beginning where the 'traditional website' (definition?!) is no more. With a blog, an open source wiki and a forum all attached to my buisness url address, why would I need an owned 'website?'

Can I effectively create a credible 'web presence' with the tools above?

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