Internet Trends for the Green Era
Many economists say the “great recession” ended over a year ago. But unemployment is still high, and consumer spending is still sluggish. This does not mean companies should sit and wait for things to improve. Instead, upgrade your strategy for the economy that exists today and grow your business, even in a tough economy.
10 trends and predictions
This can serve as a guide for online businesses as places to start to prepare for and gain market growth. The following are the top 10 Internet trends.
Companies have moved toward social media in an effort to build their brand and convert visitors into shoppers. The trend toward social media marketing is no surprise because in the last few years, social media has seen explosive growth. But one new trend that is moving toward the front-line in social media is local search SEO. When you follow the recent rise of location-based services like Foursquare or Tripit, it is clear that people want to connect with others by location, as well as share experiences and seek recommendations by those who are well informed.
Many shoppers are looking for websites that they can trust. In the past, online shoppers purchased from websites and companies from anywhere around the globe and location was not really an issue, but with the tight economy, shoppers have become more savvy. Trends have shown that building visitor trust is an important method of shaping your brand and engaging visitors. People will begin to use more local services, therefore, expect location-based search to bloom as well.
What to do?
This Internet trend is critical for organic traffic. Earn visitor trust on your website and cater to local SEO and local marketing. Google Places setup steps are important for your local marketing. Build website trust by implementing trust factors.
2. Mobile – the Next Frontier for Brand Engagement
Retailers are scrambling to implement mobile websites so that shoppers can use their smart phones to purchase their products. Top brands are investing a large segment of their advertising budget on slick, interactive and stylish iPhone apps and mobile websites.
As the social web evolves, attention is shifting away from destinations and migrating towards micro experiences. Mobile websites are self-contained environments and delivered directly to individuals where their attention is focused. Whereas websites alone served this function since the 90s, mobile websites will grow in popularity and cater to the Internet users’ appetite for consumption. Smart business owners can capitalize by developing and maintaining a website that is mobile ready.
What to do?
This Internet trend requires a responsive website. And if you do not have a website that is mobile friendly, you can always setup a mobile website for users who are surfing the web on their smartphones.
Green Host It offers Joomla for free on every web hosting plan. Joomla is an easy-to-use content management system with unlimited free modules and plugins. Use MobileJoomla to turn your website into a mobile website, instantly. Implement mobile website optimization to capture the visitor traffic that is coming from smart phones.
Users are opening their wallets while on-the-go now more than ever before. Mobile websites and eCommerce stores are becoming more popular and mCommerce – the term for eCommerce stores geared towards mobile users – are becoming more commonplace for the simple fact that people are now shopping while on their smart phones. People tend to buy products as an impulse decision while mobile more than while on a desktop computer. By building a mobile website and selling a product that is “liked” and that visitors trust, shoppers will likely come back for more.
What to do?
Again, this Internet trend requires a mobile website. Build your brand. Blog and develop quality content on your website. Mobile website marketing is critical for mobile traffic, but also for search engine rankings. This will help to build visitor loyalty and establish your company as an industry expert. Hosting mobile websites for a business is more important than most know. Did you know that three quarters of smart phone users make purchase decisions based on research they do with their mobile devices?
4. Email Marketing
Yes, email, the apparently forgotten indigent stepchild of social media. But email is alive and well and living in everyone’s in box. According to ShareThis, 46% of people share content by email – larger than any other social platform. And, according to StrongMail, nearly 37% share by email, with 21% sharing by embedded badges.
What to do?
Network, collect business cards, establish a LinkedIn account. Never purchase email lists. Instead, develop a list of quality leads to whom you can send emails in which you promote your recent products, services, or company announcements.
5. Blogging, Content Publishing and Distribution
A new trend in content publishing and distribution will continue to blossom from social media networks. Many bloggers are already extending their platforms from the blog to Twitter marketing, Facebook marketing, Pinterest marketing, and LinkedIn. Sharing your content with others and letting them use relevant portions of your content can actually help you gain more visitors. Blogging traffic is an important source of traffic that should not be overlooked.
What to do?
- Populate your site with good, free content.
- Refer to the Green Host It social networking articles.
6. iPhone Apps
iPhone apps will continue to grow into a more commonplace tool for brand recognition. A new startup, MobileRoadie, gives companies the ability to better interact with brands and personalities by helping small businesses create their own iPhone Apps. It is an incredibly sophisticated infrastructure that places the power of creating an iPhone app and marketing it through iTunes within reach of almost anyone.
What to do?
Consider developing an iPhone app to connect with and engage more customers.
7. Real Time
Many people have started to compare the increased popularity of the real-time trend to the Web 2.0.
Google Wave is an excellent example as it is trying to be a combination of wiki, email, and instant messaging. While the utility of Google Wave has not become mainstream, or completely understood by many, it is an example of what many future technologies will look like.
What to do?
Consider establishing a Google Wave, Skype instant messaging account or installing a live chat on your website. If you are a frequent reader of Green Host It blog articles, you will see a trend in our web design recommendations. Joomla is our design tool of preference, therefore, for a live chat, we direct visitors toward CMSFruit live chat for Joomla.
8. Video Search
Video marketing is more commonplace and almost a requirement for building a business brand. As it stands today, videos are searched and sorted by meta tags, titles, and descriptions. Technology will start to be released that can interpret what the content of the video actually is. This will make videos an even more powerful tool for building a brand and gaining recognition within a community. Google and Bing have already taken small steps towards this goal by adding image-recognition to their portfolio. In the long run, this will greatly affect what is being said in a video. The future of designing and scripting a video may very well follow the same guidelines as SEO content writers follow today.
What to do?
Marketing with video is important for traffic from YouTube video marketing as well as increased rankings in Google index. If you do not yet have videos on your website, PowToon or GoAnimate are easy tools to create videos. GoAnimate is a little more expensive than PowToon. Your company profile is not complete without a video tutorial or testimonial. Viral video marketing involves psychological response and social motivation.
9. Eco Pods
As more web hosting companies scramble to become “green”, the HP Eco-Pod will become more popular. The HP POD can be deployed within weeks instead of requiring months or even years to design. Aging data centers are forced to build new space, with high costs and long lead times. The HP POD is typically 20-40% more energy efficient than a typical data center, reducing energy cost and greenhouse gas emissions.
What do do?
- Most small businesses do not have the budget to develop their own data center or purchase an eco pod in order to go green. Consider the GreenHostIt green data center for your IT needs.
- Large corporate enterprises are moving to quickly upgrade or broaden the capacity of their physical infrastructure with the HP Eco Pod.
10. Website Facelift
If you’ve already spent the money to build a website, it may be time for a facelift. Rather than starting over completely, try designing some new fresh, landing-pages. Most website visitors come in through the back door and through blog posts and landing pages. Be sure that your site is easy to read – not only for people browsing the web through their computers but accessing your site through their iPhones and Blackberries, too.
In this economy, it is more important than ever to avoid becoming a “me, too” brand. Low prices and quality service are no longer enough. Whether it’s a YouTube video, an iPad app or a free event, offer something to make customers take notice. Redesign your company website. With a better website, you can better communicate to your target audience and show them what separates you from the herd.
What to do?
Keep a very thorough list of company names and websites with design architecture that you admire. Browse the web and take notice of those that grab your attention and engage you as a consumer. These sites can serve as a model. Make your website original and never follow the lead of another company. Develop your own niche. A website re-design may be the perfect way to stand out from the crowd and launch your brand above your competitors. New Internet users are getting harder to find . Consequently, a fresh new website may be just what your business needs.