2009 was a huge year in online publishing. The methods for getting traffic changed drastically from almost exclusively Search to include walled gardens like Facebook and, of course, Twitter. When a shift of this size happens, there are a lot of people trying to figure out what the next big thing is going to be and how to make the most of the new landscape. I’m like everyone else- uncertain of what’s going to happen- but I do have a few predictions.
1. Twitter & Facebook get bigger, but don’t replace Google.
Sometimes when you get online you are LOOKING for something. Maybe you need the number for a pizza joint down the street, or maybe you need a discount on a WordPress theme. Either way, you are looking for something and you are still going to use Google to find it.
And sometimes when you get online you are just looking to be entertained. You aren’t looking for anything in particular, and Facebook and Twitter and any “portal site” can give you a wealth of interesting things to read or watch.
These are very different mindsets. Both mindsets are very important. Both groups buy stuff, have opinions, and are good audiences to be aware of when you are creating content.
Google is not going to be replaced by Twitter or Facebook, and the fact that Google reigns supreme doesn’t cheapen Twitter or Facebook. I hope that 2010 has a lot less arguement about how Google is going to be toppled by Twitter. Geez.
2. Search is still a better place to sell and connect.
When people are searching for something, they are a better ‘lead’ than if you convince them to look at something you posted on twitter or facebook. That’s why people enjoy the internet… because you can drive yourself around (seemingly) without distraction and do what you want with commercial interruptions.
I believe that search and ranking high and broadly in search is still an excellent place to put your marketing budget. Twitter and facebook are cool for sure, but there are thousands of people looking for what you sell, so let them find you instead of hitting up your friends.
3. Bing does better, but is still just Bing.
Ah, bing. Not much to talk about here.
4. 2011 Finds us almost exactly the same as we are today.
In the end, we are going to have another year of a lot of changes but we’ll find ourselves basically where we are today a year from now. Most web users aren’t overly savvy, they don’t have a twitter account, and if they use Facebook they have never purchased anything from facebook.
The fundamentals are- and will be- exactly the same. They are:
- Create good content. (Content, content, content.)
- Make it easy to read, use, share.
- Have a solid plan for making money off of that content.
Of course you can always improve on any of those steps, but that’s the recipe. Get cookin!