Hip Hop Dancerz is this edition’s small business profile. They provide hip hop dance classes in Ft Lauderdale, FL. Hip Hop Dancerz has managed to provide affordable dance lessons to people of all ages from children to adults. Apparently some of their classes start as low as $8 per class, which is cheaper than a lot of yoga classes! If you’re in the area, check ‘em out; get some exercise and have some fun.
The 20th century marked a milestone in internet mediated communication through the invention of the web 2.0. A number of authors have tried to defined in totality what exactly web 2.0 is. In a nutshell description that sums up the view and contributions of various authors, Web 2.0 refers to the combination of fused connectivity as well as activity that is carried through the content found on the Web. The web is seen as a portal or a source of information that business entities can take up as well as individual consumers to get information. With the internet, information access has often been haphazard owing to the fact that anyone can post, the network that seeks to come up with ideas, develop them as well as builds applications that are unique to the internet goes a long way towards predefining what, and web 2.0 is. Through Web 2.0 the world has become a platform through which individuals can not only interact, but can also share information and pull up resources as well as responsiveness towards a given cause of action. The technology further more seeks to propagate business entities through enabling them to share information that synonymous to their line of business towards a given reaction.
There are four key levels that form the backbone behind web 2.0. The very first describe applications that are specially made with web 2.0 in mind. This exists purely thanks to the presence of the internet and cannot function in isolation. They are made possible further by relating users and the very technologies that make web 2.0 possible. The second level describes web powered applications that can operate with put connection to the internet. This applications allow for ‘off line’ working. Off line describes the ability for one to access information or the application without the need to connect to the internet. The third level scales higher the off line capabilities by incorporating both online and off line. Through this, one can source for information online but still access it when off line. Last but certainly not the least, web 2.0 has been redefined by applications that allow you to carry out the tasks that you want, be it off line or online.
To effectively describe what Web 2.0 is all about, you need to look at the characteristics that make it up. Web 2.0 has built up from web 1.0 to what it is through providing a networking platform that describes what’s utterly about. Web 2.0 enables users to run applications that are software based to operate via a browser. As users use the various applications, they can incorporate added on values as well as ideas hence leading to growth and development of the Web. This is a feature that first predecessor, web 1.0 was unable to package. Unlike the web 2.0, web 1.0 only allowed users to view the content without being able to neither change it nor modify it. Through enabling users to be able to participate, the web in its eternity has been pushed up in value. It incorporates a user experience that is rich, an active ability to engage users with vast openness as well as freedom and finally, it propagates a collective medium of seeking for intelligence.
Though deemed to be complex, web 2.0 is made up of three key features. Firstly it’s a feature that allows you to search. As the name suggests, search entails a portal that allows one to browse through the millions of web pages for suitable information as required via the key words. The second feature entails links. They in totality ‘link’ you to information that according to the keywords spelt out is important from a user to another. The other feature that can sum up the description of web 2.0 is authoring. This describes the capabilities that allow it to make provisions for creation and updating of new content. As an information source, new information is needed from time to time. This avenue provides access to not only updated information but news. The fourth feature of the web 2.0 is that it gives room for adding on tags. This simplifies the searching procedure giving room for easy identification of information as well as access.
The use of signals seek to extend the access of information through notifications forms the fifth feature making up the Web 2.0 Signals as the name suggest seek to inform through the use of electronic mail. They are sent to inform various users of the web2.0 of recent changes in information as well as any need additives, corrections or subtractions that have place. The last but certainly not the last feature of the web 2.0 is referred to as extensions. These are portals that allow you to further source for more information when on the internet. They allow you to gain access to more sites that talk of the
Web 2.0! You hear this everywhere! It is like an unstoppable force. But, what exactly is Web 2.0 and how has it affected small businesses?
Let’s start with talking about what Web 2.0 is. There is no technical difference between Web 1.0 or Web 2.0 or any other “versions”. They are just names people give to the way certain ways web works and certain technology of the web in the 21st century. We all remember how the web used to look back in its infancy. Flashy banners, black background, rolling texts, etc were all too common. However, in recent years to due to the improvement of web programming languages, websites have become dynamic, more user friendly. Web 2.0 is not only about the technology and the visuals of the web but also the uses that has popped up. Social networking, video sharing, social media in general is a piping hot nowadays. With sites like Youtube, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, not only has it changed the face of the web but the way people do business.
For a moment, let’s say you are a cafe in a medium sized town. Traditionally, you would advertise in the newspaper, use word of mouth, maybe even advertise in the radio. However, with the advent of “Social Media”, you can now set up a Fan page on Facebook, upload funny, witty even “viral” videos on Youtube and show off pictures on Flickr.
These websites and technologies allows you to connect with your potential customers in ways that has never been done before. A common misconception is that these websites are frequented only by the young. However, recent statistic shows that the fastest growing group on social networking websites like Facebook are senior citizens. In fact, recent data has shown that the numbers will only continue to grow.
One of the main advantage of using Web 2.0 technology for your small business is that it is very cost effective. In fact, it costs virtually nothing to set up your profile on most social networking sites. They also allow you to start networking with other business owners and get help and tips. One of the biggest social networking site for business professionals is Linkedin.com. It allows you to upload your resume and start building links and network with other people. It is especially useful for b2b businesses or people who provide services to business owners.
Having an online presence also gives your business a lot of credibility. It also builds up your brand faster than ever. It is well known that most people will start recognizing a brand after being exposed to it at least 7 times. For a small business with limited marketing budget it would be hard to expose a consumer to their brand multiple times. However, using social media, they can start to relay their messages and brand awareness to the public without spending huge amounts of cash on marketing and advertising.
Has this really worked? According to a study by McKinsey Quarterly done in the fourth Quarter of 2009, over 52% of business owners have said that Web 2.0 tools has increased their brand awareness, marketing effectiveness and overall revenue. 43% of business owners said that online tools helped them achieve a higher rate of customer satisfaction while 38% said that it helped reduce their total advertising and marketing cost.
Does this mean that simply integrating Web 2.0 tools to your business and marketing plan will start bringing in an influx of customers? Experts say not to hope that because you still need to provide useful service and something worthy of the time and money for the customer to want to do business with you. With the right ideas, guidance and patience you can definitely expect to grow your small business by using Web 2.0 technologies. Just be careful not to get too carried away.
If you’re a freelancer or contractor in any field, the internet is a great tool you can use to get more customers. There is no need to pay a lot of money to advertise if you can find and utilize the free tools on the internet.
The first step in promoting your freelance or contracting business is to start your own website. A lot of web hosting sites offer plans starting at less than five dollars a month. Of course, the longer you agree to host through the company, the cheaper the monthly price will be. When starting a website, you need to take into consideration what kinds of graphics and content you want your website to have.
You can hire a freelancer, a graphic designer or writer, to help out with your website. By forming a partnership with another freelancer, you can promote them on your website and see if they will promote you on their website. Networking like this is a priceless way to get more people to notice you.
Go on forums where people are discussing the type of work or service you provide. Look for questions that you know enough about to feel confident posting and leaving your contact information. If a potential customer sees that you know what you’re talking about, they might consider hiring you for their next project. There are also websites that have communities to showcase your skills and talents.
Take some free online courses in social media and search engine optimization. This will help you form the content of your website to perform will in searches. Make sure to note what region or locality you serve in your website a number of times to attract visitors searching for similar terms.
Once your website is up and running, submit it to search engines. There are many websites that offer a directory of search engines and will submit your website to all of the search engines at once for free. It’s also free to submit your website to both Google and Yahoo. You won’t spend any money, and if you did well with your search engine optimization, you’ll be seeing more customers in no time.
Join other websites that have a common thread with your work or service. Post comments on message boards and blogs leaving a link to your website. This will ensure that more people will see your website. You can also apply for different types of positions on these kinds of websites, because many of them offer some sort of job board.
Use affiliate marketing to make money on your website. There are many different companies that offer to pay you if people click on their ads on your website. If you have enough visitors on your website, you can make good money that can be invested in advertising. One of the things you can do is promote your service in the form of pay per click ads. You pay only when a potential customer clicks on your ad. Many popular social websites have this option for advertisers.
Expand your portfolio. Once you’ve seen an increase in customers, make note of all the new projects you’ve done. If you’re a photographer, collect your best photos. If you’re a writer, collect your best articles. Whatever you do, get the best of it together and make a portfolio portion of your website. This way people will be able to see what you’re capable of. In this fast paced world, people are less likely to hire or even contact someone without seeing a sample of their work first. This will give potential customers a chance to see what you’re capable of.
The more money you have, the more advertising can be done. Even if you have no money to invest in promoting yourself and the work you do, there are great options that will get you far in your business. Keep updating your website and portfolio, and keep yourself up to date on the latest news and trends in your field, and you’ll gain more customers.