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Three Ways to Thrive On the Web Today

Brian Austin
Brian Austin Advertising

Lots of updates are happening on-line now, and the changes to come, mean that the web landscape is, I believe, indeed entering a new phase of rapid growth and development.

Mobile and The Web Merging Ever Closer

We'll see how mobile phone technology and the web eventually become one. For example, we'll dial up websites directly from domain name web addresses, all inside our electronic phone address books.

Three areas seem to me to be ripe for remarkable change:

01. Domain Names For Everyone

You must have your own web domain name owned by you. Why: if you use a domain name owned by someone else, that entity can change their usage rules at a moment's notice. They could also go out of business.

  • Domain name bad example: InternetTIPS.com/mysitename.
  • Domain name good example: InternetTIPS.com (yes, I know, I'm biased :-)

Individuals, companies, and organisations all should have their own domain names today.

Individuals have personal lives and many have careers: so a domain name that is attached to a website provides you with your own personal online profile, with an online identity that can benefit your work life and home life (you can separate the two).

Here are some ideas:

  • A person can create a domain name from their name: FirstNameLastName.com. However, these are in limited supply, so are not ideal. We need a better, more flexible solution.
  • Check out all the different domain name extensions available for your name. Lots of different domain name extensions are now available, perhaps including FirstNameLastName.name. Find one you like, but don't register just yet: consider the option directly below first.
  • In addition, you can extend the power of your name domain name. Here's how: Use a combination of your name and your mobile phone number. For example: johnsmith.extension, john-smith.extension, jsmith.extension, johns.extension, jsmith-202-555-0101.extension (USA), jsmith2025550101.extension (USA), john-smith-07700-900969.extension (UK), johnsmith07700900969.extension (UK) and so on.

Remember: for individuals, the length of the domain name, or the domain name extension are not primary issues today.

Why: Your personal domain name / web address can easily be formatted as a hyperlink when you provide that information in an electronic document such as a PDF, or an entry on the web anywhere, so length of domain names for personal use becomes almost irrelevant if you set the scene correctly and share your website address as a clickable hyperlink in any subsequent documents you provide or complete online.

Build Logical Flow Into Your Personal Domain Name

For these new types of domain name names, how your particular domain name "flows" is a key consideration. What does that mean? Answer: make your personal domain name make sense for you and the people who will access your website.

For example, especially when you include a mobile phone number in your domain name, if you add hyphens to separate your phone number and domain name elements, you can help make your domain name more readable at a glance. So you can achieve two goals:

  • In addition to your name, you can introduce your mobile phone number into your web presence, even before someone has visited your website. You instantly share two key pieces of information: your personal website URL and your mobile phone number.
  • When you insert hyphens at strategic points in your domain name, you make your mobile phone number stand out, so is more easy to read and dial quickly.

In websites now:

  • Sure, we can insert a phone number into a web page and format that phone number in HTML so that when your visitor clicks the number on your web page, your web browser automatically dials the phone number for them, so they don't have to. Now, only a single mouse click or touch is required to phone directly from a website content page.
  • Your phone number can be a mobile number, a landline, a Skype number, or another VOIP phone number. 

So how can we extend this existing idea?

  • Consider scenario one: imagine if you click or touch a domain name that contains a mobile phone number, your mobile phone network provider software is able to automatically detect the phone number within the URL, extract the phone information, and then dial the number simply from the hyperlink. Dear reader, I suggest to you, that is coming and may already be in testing, or live somewhere right now. Remember, change happens at at the speed of thought. Or ...
  • Consider scenario two: the reverse: imagine if mobile phone numbers soon become more than just phone numbers, to include domain names containing letters too? The end result: you scroll through your electronic mobile phone address book and click or touch your chosen entry, for example: jsmith-202-555-0101.name becomes a valid "phone number". Your mobile phone network provider software understands both conventional mobile phone numbers and web addresses, so then gives you two choices: dial the phone number (Option 1), or go to the web address (Option 2). So, likewise, in time, this too will become reality - and maybe sooner than we may think.

The dividing line between what is web technology and what is mobile phone technology disappears; a marriage of convenience.

Perhaps in time, as the mobile phone space and web space merge, we'll just refer to our "com address" or "com details", or just "here's my com" - a communication address containing both mobile phone and website address all in a single wrapped entity.  

How will this happen, I do not know dear reader; like you, I am a mere spectator currently enjoying this comedy of changes.

So: get your own personal domain name now, while your preferred choice may still be available.

02 When A Website For Individuals Replaces A Mobile Phone Number

Of course, lots of businesses, companies, and organisations have websites. Even apps need a source website URL. 

Yet, the individual web space is different. If outer space is akin to the web, your personal website is your mother-ship.

What if, for individuals, the cost of creating and managing a website comes down rapidly? And individual website creating and management becomes massively simpler?

How: there is one way that I can think of right now. Through the revamping the concept of: the single page website app (spwa).

What Is A Single Page Website App?

In a single page website app, your entire personal website is essentially on a single web page, using a document interaction format that anyone who can use the basics of a web browser can create and manage.

You use an app to "log in" to your website and make changes necessary, just like filling in a form on a web browser: you make your choices, save, and ... done. 

A single page website app can contain many web "pages", but through the smart application of the latest HTML 5 - and beyond - techniques, these are merged into what appears to be a single page, yet still look like a "normal" website.

Side note: arguably, today, many of the more well known and established website content management systems like Joomla, Wordpress, Drupal, etc., all suffer from two big problems: complexity and code feature bloat - that leads to more complexity and more bloat. They are simply becoming too complex, sinking under their own weight of feature creep. 

And when upgrades from one version to another involve complete rewrites, upgrading between versions can become even more challenging.

Will Joomla, Wordpress, Drupal all die a natural death? In time, yes, of course; everything changes, continues to evolve, or fades away, to make room for what is new and better. But for professional websites, I suggest, Joomla, Wordpress, Drupal, and other equally flexible web "power tools", provide remarkable solutions that allow us all to stand on the shoulders of those great web inventers and use their creations to build incredibly powerful, engaging business website "motherships". So I expect, Joomla, Wordpress, and Drupal at least, will be around for years to come.

Yet for individuals, the personal web space is an as yet, untapped, underused marketplace. For individuals, engagement won't happen without change. One solution for providers involves two steps:

  • Step 1: stop creating more and more features. Just stop.
  • Step 2: simplify.

The simple to use, single page website app may emerge to provide an attractive solution for some people, then thousands, then millions, billions, and ... who knows?

Perhaps the lightweight, fast, mobile ready, single page website app will arrive and offer a perfect remedy for individuals. Whatever emerges to be the answer: has to be a low cost, mobile friendly at source, quick, and incredibly easy to use, point and click / point and touch solution.

03. Bring Your Website Promotion Power Home

Brian's Rule Number 1: to promote or advertise your website, never, ever rely on any single outside party over which you have no control.

By all means, buy advertising, use social media, support services, etc., if these work for you, but do spread your risk engagement, and keep your most important web assets under the control of your own website. Don't invest too much time in the antics, products and services of outside organizations.

Why: if your website success relies totally one one or more outside parties, you are rolling the dice and hoping for great numbers constantly. If they change and you don't like the changes, they still gain most: you lose. Consider:

  • Any company or organization that you may use or choose to promote your website can change their terms and conditions overnight affecting your time and / or money investment.
  • They may simply go out of business. Too big to fail? I have a two-word answer: The Titanic.
  • Often, when highly influential, key people leave an organization, a "new broom" mentality may take form for a while, sometimes for the better, sometimes new initiatives can end up costing companies dear.

If you invest too much time and expense into any third party, and they then change the rules, where are you? Left with another problem you didn't ask for.

Better: as I've been saying for years, focus 80% of your time and assets only on anything and everything that you can control, or over which you have some direct influence. Yet we can still appreciate and be grateful for those many superb free products and services that are available.

End Note For Complacent Organizations

Large companies were once small. Over time, during growth, much change occurs. Yet when large companies just keep getting larger, appearing to control more and more of their space, sometimes, two factors can emerge to display:

  • Complacency. A belief in the idea that "We're so large, we can do what we want". And perhaps ...
  • An often veiled, secret disdain for the users of its services (especially if those services are free).

When those two key characteristics start displaying in an organization, the cycle of change, of the falling of the big, renewal, and birth of the new, looks set to be starting.

Often, those two forces create a new power among new providers: the desire for change.

In the right hands, desire for something new and different is an incredible commercial force!

Desire often provides the motivation to build a better widget - and these new small widgets can sometimes gain sufficient tipping point groundswell support faster than most folks expect. Small can once again become big sooner than we think, however, usually in ways we don't expect.

How? Why? Complacency says "We're too big to fail", whereas the desire for new and better replies: "I don't care" and then continues to create the change that eventually topples "Too big to fail", and the cycle repeats. Ode to the joy of change.