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Internet Madness vs. Collective Wisdom

Posted on 5.01.2008
by Susan Whitehurst, Website Magazine Publisher

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A wiseacre sportswriter in the Tribune once said, “Never go with public sentiment.” Although he was talking Memphis and March Madness,
his advice sure fits the Patriots and the Super Bowl this year and all those lost wagers in Las Vegas.

In your opinion, it fits success on the web, too. Place your bets on public sentiment about the Internet today, and you’re betting on mobile web to be the next big thing. How do you like the odds for your own website? Or are you ready to bet big on social networking?

At Website Magazine, we’re always listening to the buzz on the web, aka, Internet Madness. At the same time, we’re focused on what makes sense -- the next steps to improve and grow your own website(s).

That’s why in our survey last month, we asked you to tell us: What’s the public perception on how to improve and grow the Internet? More important, what’s next for you to improve and grow your own website? Thanks to all 787 of you who responded. You said the public says:
  • Mobile web’s the big thing.
  • If not mobile web, then the big thing is social net working.
  • The next, next big thing is definitely search engine marketing.
That’s where public perception intersects with reality. The collective wisdom of our real-world survey responders is focused on improving and growing professional websites. You said for your own website:
  • Search engine marketing’s the big thing.
  • In addition to SEM, website design and content management are big, too.
  • Social networking’s going to be big, right after we get done doing six other things really well. And after we get social networking done, and four more things, we’re going to take on mobile web.
The collective wisdom of 787 Website Magazine subscribers doesn’t cover the experiences of 132,223 other readers we didn’t send this survey invitation or who were slammed with work that Tuesday.

Still, this is real research, albeit loosely interpreted here. Odds are, you agree with our survey crew: To improve and grow, we need to manage good content well, to design and redesign websites to invite new customers and delight favorite users, and to market websites effectively through search engines. And while all those get done, simultaneously, we’re putting top priority on besting our practices in email marketing, online advertising, and E-commerce.

And why not? Not only are you all champs at multi-tasking, you have a dedicated staff, a charged-up users group, and a couple of social networks – plus your mom – collectively advocating that all these priorities are essential right now. And don’t forget blogging, CRM, and online video -- top priorities for one in eight of our survey crew.

So where do you place your bets – on focused fundamentals, or on public sentiment?

Betting on the Super Bowl is so American, it’s about to turn up in a Chevy commercial. Betting on the brackets in the office pool can make anybody look like a genius. Betting on the Cubs? Hey, this could be the year.

Likewise, when it comes to betting on Internet trends, public sentiment has had some winners. Plenty of people bought Google stock, and there’s nothing evil in that. Facebook now lets friends sell stuff to each other. Okay, not everyone wants to buy three pieces of ABC gum for $7.50. Somebody soon is going to figure out how to monetize all that traffic, and Google stock is on the rise again this week.

When it comes to the success of your website(s), setting priorities and betting on real potentials are not a game. The choices are up to you.
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