So what is "Web 2.0"? I'm sure you heard the term and if you haven't, you will soon. It is a buzz word that has really become popular lately. So what exactly does "Web 2.0" mean? Do you need it? Do you already have it and don't know? Some of the most successful websites currently on the web are using "Web 2.0" type features. Some examples of sites using "Web 2.0" are GMail, You Tube, My Space, Wikipedia and many others. Read on and learn what you can do to put "Web 2.0" to work for you.
So what is Web 2.0? The truth is Web 2.0 doesn't really mean anything. Yet at the same
time, it means a lot of things to different people. The phrase was first used, as best as
anyone can tell, by Tom O'Reilly at the the first O'Reilly Media Web
2.0 conference in 2004. Much unlike version numbers most often assigned to software, signifying an improvement or upgrade from a previous version, Web 2.0 was intended as something different. In Mr O'Reilly words, "Web 2.0 is the business
revolution in the computer industry caused by
the move to the internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the
rules for success on that new platform."
Well, the world has yet to move onto the internet as a platform and the phrase Web 2.0 has taken on a completely new meaning. Web 2.0 is more about the interactivity of a website now as there is no exact definition.
A Web 2.0 site likely has one or more of the following characteristics. A web site that is interactive. But more than just interactive. It has to be interactive in a way that requires little or no learning curve for early adopters. In other words, it is simple to use. It is a move away from websites that allow people to simply receive information, but to easily contribute information as well. It has a social element that allows users to feel as if they are part of a community. Likely it is in a format that is open for others to use and distribute as well. A "Web 2.0" site also tends to act in a way that is more like software than a web page. Allowing the user to "drag and drop" rather than "cut and paste" if you will. Simplifying the process makes the process easier and open to larger audiences. The net result is an increase in the overall value of the website for everyone.
Users who are able to contribute to a website are more likely to revisit that website and revisit it more often. A feeling of community is also a key to a successful Web 2.0 site. The more a website feels like a community, the more loyal will be its visitors. Thus the more successful.
So what can you do to be more "Web 2.0"? A few easy ways to allow users to be a part of your website is to put a system into place that easily allows visitors to post comments related to your articles or leave feedback. Forums are one of the easiest ways to allow user contributions. Forums also usually attract a loyal following. Allowing visitors to be passionate about a subject along with others with similar interests.
All of our current web hosting plans include a variety of Web 2.0 applications free of charge. Our servers can even auto install these applications for you with the click of a button (sounds like Web 2.0, right?). Some of my favorites that can be auto installed are following: WordPress, phpBB2, and TikiWiki. WordPress is a blogging tool that has a commenting system built right in to encourage user participation. phpBB2 is a forum that allows users to take place in focused discussions about things that they are passionate about. TikiWiki is a user contributed document creation tool similar to the tool currently in use by Wikipedia. All of these apps have Web 2.0 features built right in.
If you haven't tried these tools now is a great time to start. If you would like to learn more about these and other tools that Total Hosting offers take a look at Pete's article What can you do with Total Hosting?