A web business is no longer just a website

monkey artIt used to be that if you wanted to start up a web-based business that would sell, for instance, monkey-based decor (my mom would keep you in business all by herself), you would go out and buy a domain name like http://www.barrelofmonkeys.com, build a website, launch it, do some online ad buys and search engine marketing, and away you go.

That is no longer the reality. Now every web business plan may include, and probably should include, a plan for building a widget that a web user can install on their MySpace or Facebook page (monkey art for your personal profile!). Perhaps another gadget that users can start up on their custom homepages like iGoogle, MyYahoo, Netvibes, or Pageflakes (monkeys in the news!). Oh, and you’ll also need a version of your presence available for mobile devices, and perhaps a custom version for more highly interactive devices like the iPhone (buy monkey items on the go!). For some web businesses, their whole success is based on these extensions.

Your home website is still important, but the internet is changing – expanding in reach and getting more distributed – such that it’s a fallacy to think that your online business can be competitive if all you have is a website.

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3 thoughts on “A web business is no longer just a website

  1. Booo! Down with widgets! Booo!

    I disagree. I think there is room out there for monkey-themed poster sites out there that make the purchase clean, simple and quick. I don’t want to see widgets and other crap on the site.

    Yes, I may use those things on other sites that drive traffic, but I believe those are purely incremental to the core: building a great website that works and allows the user to do exactly what they are trying to do.

  2. You can’t be afraid of the widget, you must embrace the widget! Thanks for your comment. You make a good point about site design, I agree with you. If your website is terrible all of the widgets in the world won’t save you.

    But you have to admit that widgets, MySpace themes, etc. are great new ways to extend your web presence and allow your customers (or potential customers) to participate. My point was only that you should consider those approaches, because the monkey art store on the URL next to you will probably be doing it – and even if their website isn’t as great they will drive so much more traffic that they will become synonymous with online monkey art, and you will be out of business.

  3. Let’s use widgets outside of our site to drive traffic to our site. Tons of examples of this, even before they were called widgets and packaged as such (think: Amazon.com’s Associates referral service).

    But, for the love of God, let’s leave widgets off of our commerce site for as long as possible!

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