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40 Things You Need to Know Before Starting a Web 2.0 Business
If you're interested in starting a Web 2.0 business, you should know a few things. You should know how the Internet works today. You should know how business works in general. And you should know that this landscape is going to change and that you're going to have to adapt your business as time goes on or you're not going to make it in the long run.
Those are the main things that you'll need to learn. But within those main things are a plethora of basic things that you need to know to get started in the world of Web 2.0. Here are 40 of those basic things to get you started:
1. What Web 2.0 is. Wikipedia has a basic definition that you can start with.
2. You must use social networking sites to connect with others on the web.
3. You must use social bookmarking sites to spread your content to others.
4. User-generated content is key so you'll have to always be creative.
5. Collaboration is the root of Web 2.0 so you'll need to learn to play well with others.
6. Many of the same marketing techniques that apply to real world business apply in the virtual world so consider taking a business class.
7. If you don't have broadband Internet, you're behind the times.
8. VoIP is on the rise so you should start getting used to the idea that you're going to do your voice communication through your computer.
9. Copyrights matter online. Make sure that you understand them and that you protect your own without violating others.
10. Start-ups can make it big. This means yours can do well if you want it to; it also means you need to watch your competition.
11. Flash is going to improve your site immensely.
12. Video and audio are as important today as data and images so you'll want to consider multi-media aspects of your business.
13. The quality of your content matters.
14. Advertising is how you'll spread the word about your work and also how you'll make money on your own site. Get a handle on both ends.
15. There are web 2.0 conferences and expos; you should attend them.
16. Green is in. Figure out ways to incorporate eco-friendly practices into your business because it's going to matter to your customers sooner rather than later.
17. People love widgets. Make it easy for people to spread the word about your new business by creating widgets they can add to their own site or blog.
18. A good design matters. It doesn't matter what you offer if it looks like a mess. This is an area worth investing time and money into.
19. RSS is how people start coming back to you again and again so if you have blog content for your new business (which you should) then you want to make sure you have an RSS feed that people can subscribe to.
20. Your domain should be easy to remember. Don't make it a pain for people to get to you.
21. Communication is key so make it easy for people to communicate through your business. Add chat features, "click to call" widgets, forums, "friends lists" or whatever else you like to get people on the site talking with one another.
22. Release it in beta. People like the term beta right now because it makes them feel like they're getting in on the ground floor of something that they can help to shape.
23. Get and incorporate feedback. Web 2.0 is about the user's experience and if he or she can tell you how to make it better then you should definitely be listening.
24. Make use of avatars. The best sites use really cool avatars that make people want to play around with each other on the site.
25. Interactive targeted marketing is increasingly popular. Use it. Think of Amazon's feature that tells you "people who liked this also bought"; that's what this is all about.
26. Offer free stuff. Everyone loves free stuff. If you provide things that can be used or downloaded for free, people will be interested in your web 2.0 business.
27. Mobile matters. More and more people have mobile broadband and it's only getting more ubiquitous with each day. Make sure that you create a version of your business that can be easily accessed on a mobile phone.
28. Pirated stuff interests people. Copyright-free music, BitTorrent movie downloads ... these are things that people want but that there are lots of legalities to get around. Incorporate what you safely can.
29. You want web-based applications. Forget software; it's outdated.
30. Open source goes hand-in-hand with the Web 2.0 movement so start learning about it today.
31. This is a real job. You're going to work forty hours per week at least to make this work or it's just not going to. The perk is you can do that hard work in your PJs.
32. Blogs are one of the best ways to generate interest in your Web 2.0 business so learn all that you can about setting one up and using it appropriately.
33. You need a business plan. People say this is debatable but the reality is that if you don't have a vision of where you want this thing to go, it's not going to go anywhere.
34. Choose a topic you're passionate about. Your web 2.0 business can be based on anything that interests you so make it something that you care about.
35. Google is your friend. And possibly your foe. But you need to know it inside and out from Gmail functions to research to Adsense to rankings.
36. Be daring. You want to get people talking about what you're doing so you need to do some daring and controversial things. Whether it's through your PR campaign, your blog entries or your logo, you want to get the attention of others immediately and as often as possible.
37. Brand yourself. Figure out what your business is about and then make sure to use your logo, a slogan, and your marketing to make your business a brand name for that topic.
38. Tutorials are the best way to learn. There's going to be a lot to learn about web 2.0 as you go along. Start with the tutorials that are available online for almost every aspect of your business. Use forums for the same purpose.
39. Identify an audience. Ultimately you'd love for the whole world to use your site but you need to know who specifically you want to find you on the web. Then market yourself to them specifically instead of to the whole Internet.
40. All of these rules are going to change. The nature of the web 2.0 world is that it fluctuates with the latest consumer demands. Be prepared to take on new faces and try new things in order to stay alive in the changing Internet.
The main thing that you need to know is that there is a lot to learn about starting a web 2.0 business. It's fairly easy to do but it's also something that only gets good with a lot of effort. Be prepared to read all of the latest information coming out about Web 2.0 and the technology that surrounds it. And then get ready to dig your heels in and do a lot of work!