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Will websites as we know them still exist in five years or is social media the future?

Written by Brett Sidaway, April 11, 2011
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Will websites as we know them still exist in five years or is social media the future?

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Ask yourself a question: Should we say goodbye to the company website?

More and more companies are jumping on the social media bandwagon and are using this platform to engage with existing customers as well as attracting potential new customers.

Social media is seen by many as an important marketing tool and in many cases, more powerful than their own website. If this trend continues then it could it be that websites as we know them will go the same way as the dinosaurs – and become extinct. According to a recent article published by the Daily Mail, with over 500 million users, Facebook has now become the most popular site in the US, over taking Google. This confirms that social media platforms are becoming a high priority for the way businesses market their services, brands and products. It shows that people are even moving away from search engines and towards a more people-centric approach to find what they are looking for, based on reviews and recommendations from real people. Having said all this, it doesn’t look like websites will be disappearing any time soon. A corporate website is still the official identity of most companies, but you will find it difficult to find one that isn’t using social media to compliment it in some way.

Will the company website die out all together?

To answer this we need to look at how websites have evolved over recent years and how they would need to evolve in the future. Currently, most websites are static and don’t allow much user interaction. To continue to meet user expectations, websites would need to evolve and become interactive, more flexible and more user-friendly, allowing visitors to leave feedback. Trends are showing that website evolution is already in process. Some company websites are no longer places where people just go and get information about the company, what it does, what products it sells and how to contact them.  More and more are now becoming places for engaging with visitors through the use of video, offering subscription to blogs and engaging with them on Facebook and Twitter. By having a website that can interact with your customers you are immediately capturing their attention and basically telling them that they matter, that their feedback and opinions are important. This way, users are more likely take notice of your website and bookmark it as a favourite or recommend to their friends, family or colleagues.

So, what does this mean?

This is where reality kicks in. For companies to stay ahead of the game, they probably need to give their company websites a makeover and perhaps even a technology refresh.  Pre social media boom, company websites could be created using a basic Web editor and as long as they were informative, that was all that people really expected. However, with users becoming more reliant on social media, businesses now need to look at their websites and think about what their customers are really looking for in terms of features, interactivity and information. The chances are that websites will not disappear in five years time, they are more likely to undergo continuous revamps, technological advancements and content refresh. If this doesn’t happen, then they will more than likely become obsolete. Companies need to look at what they want to achieve with their website and incorporate that successfully with social media to make it work as a whole. There are plenty of ‘free and open-source’ packages that will allow you to revamp your website and add new social capabilities. WordPress for example is a free software package that will allow you to add a Blog to your website and allows people to provide comments and ratings. All you need is some basic WordPress design skills. With powerful, feature-rich open-source Content Management Systems (CMS) like Joomla, you can easily add forums and polls directly into your website. With the support of a Joomla design company you can even create your very own social media website using some of the powerful Joomla extensions that exist. Opace Technology Solutions are a successful Birmingham Web Design company who specialise in open-source solutions like WordPress and Joomla and will be able to support you in building exciting, dynamic and informative websites, centred around your end user. Why not follow us on Twitter , ‘Like’ us on Facebook and subscribe to our blog.

Image credit – Christiaan Colen

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