This is the best part the year for content publishers. Not only do you get to make wild predictions about what’s going to happen in the next year (that’s coming next week by the way), you also get to look back at what happened in the year prior and acknowledge those sites, services and solutions which made a meaningful difference.
This is part one of a two part series. The next section (coming early next week) will address Web Design tools, Web development, Email marketing, Video and more.
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Social Media: One of the most significant challenges for social media is that it’s so loosely defined. Covering so much virtual ground, and meaning so much to so many people, selecting but a handful of those which helped Web professionals prosper throughout the year is not something that is done easily or carelessly. That being said however, you know you won the hearts of social media lovers everywhere – Facebook. 350 million users alone make the network a powerhouse to be reckoned with.
Social media however is not networks alone but the platforms and tools which help user get the most out of our experience on them. For that reason, WM has selected Ping.fm, a service which enables its user to update all of their social networks at once.
E-Commerce: It has not been an easy year for Internet retailers. The recession has taken its toll on consumers but also the revenue of many Web merchants. Those in e-commerce that have taken steps to improve what is under their control are those which are less affected by economic turmoil. For this reason, WM has selected SeeWhy, the real-time abandonment tracking (and re-engagement solution as 2009’s Best of E-Commerce.
Search Engine Optimization: The “search” landscape has changed considerably over the years, but thanks to many significant changes (some within the past few weeks) that it would be naïve to assume that Google should not be the most important resource available for novice and expert search engine optimizers. Not only does it provide 70% of the queries from natural search traffic, the company has provided tools (like Webmaster Tools) to help understand more about your site but how to make it better.
Advertising: You might think that Google would get this award too (but they get far too many accolades as it is). Instead, we’re featuring two of the best advertising tools for Web professionals which you have missed out on this year. The first is AdReady, a service which aims to bring back display advertising by enabling users to design, target, run and optimize display-banner (and video) advertising campaigns. Another best in the advertising category is for the PPC advertisers (and maybe even the SEO’s) – SEMRush.com. It is one of the most powerful tools available for keyword research available.
Affiliate Marketing: There are as many ways to look at how to achieve success in affiliate marketing as there are individuals calling themselves affiliate marketers. It’s not easy being an affiliate today; commissions are being cut, the FTC is watching you (see below) and a whole host of other regular development and promotional issues that non-affiliate marketers have to deal with in addition. All the issues aside however, this segment of Web business shows no signs of slowing down. Another two were selected for this section of WM’s best of everything but again in two very different areas. The first is HasOffers.com, affiliate network software solution that will drive many merchants towards it users in the coming year. The second solution making our best of 2009 list is eBay. You might not consider them a player in the area of affiliate marketing, but thanks to the launch of their program and the introduction of quality-click pricing, it is becoming a genuine force in the space.
A special honorable mention should also be made to the Federal Trade Commission, whose focus on the integrity of online communication, despite the objections and concerns of many, will create a more effective, more sustainable Web business environment for all.
Finally, if you’ve made it this far, you should take it the rest of the way. Professional-level subscriptions to Website Magazine are for a limited time being offered for 25% off the regular price (that’s nearly 60% off the newsstand price. Do consider giving yourself the gift of Web success this holiday. You never know, you may be on our best of everything next year.