As the past decade quickly burns away from our memory, and yes, another year down the tubes. We can only look forward to another year, and decade in the world we call the Internet. We can all look forward to new and exciting challenges and opportunities in binary. Here are the top five trends that you can possibly expect to see this year, and a few tips to hopefully nudge you in the right direction.
Five Internet Trends To Watch For In 2011
The Emergence Of Mobile
It’s pretty much safe to say that mobile has arrived big time, in the form of smartphones and tablets. In fact, some called it ‘The Year Of The Mobile’ in 2010. In 2011, it’s expected to go warp speed fast forward. Every single business, whether home based, small or corporate should have some type of plan for a mobile strategy. That can range from a mobile friendly enabled website, to some type of mobile app, or just an advertising campaign on mobile devices for lead generation purposes.
But proceed with caution, mobile is still in its raw form, and remains in the ‘frontier’ stages. Nobody really knows what type of mobile strategy will work or won’t for businesses. Mobile apps can be expensive to produce, as well as to maintain, and should only be developed when the proper research has been done, and you can bring something that’s really useful to the ‘mobile’ table.
You need to track and understand your target mobile audience. As an example, a recent survey found that certain BlackBerry smartphones were extremely hot and popular amongst teenage girls, who knew? If you think about it, their business parents use BlackBerry’s, so why should they.
Search Is Still Universally King
Search was not exactly one of the top stories of the year. However, search is still a dominant major factor of each and every online business. If you take a look at any site, you will find some type of search bar. The most notable is on Twitter and Facebook, who both have prominent search bars on their sites, and they definitely drive their engines.
Google still rules the Internet, but understand that searches will happen anywhere and everywhere and for a lot of different reasons. So what that means is you should be optimizing for ‘search’ on different formats, as well as for different keywords, all depending on the particular venue.
A mobile search for example, would lean towards location based searches, such as looking for the nearest cafe etc., where you can optimize using location related keywords and parameters, while home based desktop searches may be for product images or downloads.
Social network based searches will begin to increase in relevancy for their users, meaning that your connections to consumers as well as other businesses, along with the information that you share and publish on these social sites, will become an active form of SEO. So stay as relevant and on topic as possible.
The Need For Internet Security
Marketers, buyers and vendors are still worried about the constant threat of online security, and for good reason. Security is not only an issue on our niche affiliate sites, but also on our brands, products and services that can be found freely on the Web. As we constantly increase our visibility across various properties such as: Facebook, Twitter, mobile, online forums, and applications, as well as encourage our users to constantly share information on those sites, we also increase the risk of losing our grasp over sensitive data.
McAfee, the Internet security company reports that mobile, as it’s still in it’s infancy, will be a huge target for cyber hackers and Web criminals in 2011. With the increase in popularity and usage of mobile devices, combined with the fragile wireless cellular infrastructures and its slow strides towards total data encryption, will place the transmission of data on mobile phones at extreme high risk for potential attacks. They claim that Google’s Android OS, Apple’s iPhone, the Mac OS X platform and Google TV, will all be targets. Those easy to use URL-shortening services will also be a target as well.
These potential threats should be taken seriously for both mobile users and internally. Make sure everyone is aware that safety is a top concern, and privacy policies as well as security measures should be easy to locate on websites.
Do Digital Coupons
One of the biggest success and popularity stories was Groupon, who turned down Google’s $6 billion dollar buyout offer. Groupon is the Internet’s fastest growing company on record. These types of online coupons sites however, are not just limited to Groupon. There are local newspapers and small websites that are now in on the action and are partnering with local neighborhood businesses to offer the same concept of targeted coupons for their customer user base. So may of well get in.
But no one wants to give away their store. The silver lining for the marketer is that you don’t have to. While this current market environment has trained their consumers to expect a great deal on almost anything, well that “anything” is kind of flexible.
Think of these digital coupons more of an up-sell, rather than a discount. Start offering add-ins when the spending thresholds are met. Whatever your strategy may be, these digital coupons are not going away anytime soon. Ultimately, it’s important that your customers feel that they are getting in on the best deal.
Expanding Your Business Models
Think beyond what you currently offer in your online business. The online world is a lot more competitive than ever before. There are just a few businesses that can thrive using the same business model, or the same product or services, year after year and expect to expand.
One of the greatest advantages of doing business on the Internet is flexibility, as well as the speed in adapting. As quickly as you come up with a great idea, it can quickly and easily be placed and promoted on the Internet. But just as quickly, those sites can be easily shut down or sold. Ideally, you’d want to open new opportunities that’s related to your current business by thinking out of the box. Also think about adding value for your current customers, but also continue to develop completely new avenues of revenue, that’s the reason why micro niche sites exist.