Hardweb - Making websites work Webmaster Thatcher David
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My thoughts on the web

the Web, it's the Web!!...

Dated about 2005?

The web is a relatively new medium of mass-communication. It has had a very quick take up rate and that is because the infrastructure was already there, that is the telephone line and personal computers, all you need is a modem and an ISP (Internet Service Provider)

Advertising banners and pop-ups are not very effective on the web yet so it is hard to create content that advertising pays for, which is how network TV is profitable.

There are ways though and you may have noticed that if you click on video links in news sites (like cnn.com) that you may have to endure a 15 or 30sec ad before you can view the video clip you are interested in... a major pain I might add but where there is a will there is a way so maybe advertising will pay for more website content in the near future.

GOOD
I think the web is good for businesses to explain themselves a bit better and hopefully offer something of value to people and especially prospective clients even if it just some links to other good websites.
It is a good value form of advertising and marketing but I would never recommend that it should be a businesses only way of marketing themselves.

The web is very direct method of contact when combined with email and several of my clients report particular advantages when the enquiry is made by email after viewing the associated website. People view the web as quite personal and I believe people should put their names and pictures in their business websites to further personalise the experience.

You can do effective research by using good search engines, either business suppliers or possible customers or whatever you wish and I think it may well outpace even the Yellow pages books for local services search.

Search engines that have supplied their services for free (basically) are now reaping the rewards because people want to advertise on the search engine results pages. As long as they don't confuse the "organic" (not paid) and "sponsored" links (which are paid for) then search engines like Google will probably be successful for many years to come.

The Yellow pages website has a particularly bad search experience and I think their way of categorising businesses is designed badly on purpose so that customers are more likely to have to advertise in more than one category - quite cunning but is now backfiring in their face.

BAD
You can get scammed by people who dedicate their lives to getting you to send them your money under the pretense that you will get a lot more later. Email scams like the Nigerian ex-dictator are still working and people are still losing their money - be suspicious!.

Also hacking the banks website, to steal your money is possible but usually the scammer will get your details or password somehow and start syphoning money out of your account - be wary!

UGLY
So what else? Hmmm yeah smut is a guaranteed winner but getting money out of people must be difficult I'd say, there seems to be a lot of free porn and internet gambling is a very bad thing for a lot of people who find it difficult to control their gaming habits but a huge money earner for those raking the bucks in, talk about a license to print money. So we've got gambling and pornography as the big winners...great...? Also some security issues are never going to go away, it is easy to commit fraud, theft and misrepresentation on the web and it will probably never be secure.

BUT WAIT
Websites where you learn something or have a laugh are great and the commercial sites that realise this are going to be well patronised.
I get excited about the possibilities of the web but what are the realities?

What are people going to use the web for?

I would like to mention that if you are paying for an ISP (Internet Service Provider) service every month. You should be maximising your usage of email by keeping up to date lists of clients and prospective clients for emailing. This is a valuable (and underutilised) resource. Doing an email mailout is similar to a newsletter but can be more personal by customising the letter, please don't forget a well set out signature at the bottom with your email, web address, phone, fax etc. for quick reference.

I suppose that the answer to the question about what people are going to use the web for is a lot of things and some of them have not been thought of yet.
You have most of the human possibilities happening at the moment that is shopping, banking, paying bills, meeting people, investigating/researching things, polling, voting, working (like me) and I would say the future will trawl up a few things that haven't been imagined yet.

But what about NOW?

Learning on the web is possible and hopefully will be a great outcome of the World Wide Web and learning about the web a la HTML etc. is definitely the go but reading lots of text on a screen is not as easy as a book, although I would say I have got used to it after many years of not liking it.


I think the web is great for like minded people getting together.
Good for information from Government, private and commercial sources too but sometimes hard to find.
I don't think I've hit on the essence of the web because I suppose it's a big thing and it is still growing and developing sometimes it is just frustrating but other times it is rewarding.


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