The Podcast Episode with Brent Weaver
The Web is a dynamic place. What worked a few years ago might be obsolete now or have developed into a more sophisticated version. A few years back, apps were introduced changing the web landscape once again. Nowadays, as the world lean towards the digital as well as into social media, the rules and the landscape are shifting once again. Because of this, it is not surprising to hear someone declare that the Web is dead.
That declaration that something or someone is dead is not unfamiliar territory. When Nietzsche declared the death of God during the 18th century, it has become one of the most widely used quotes to declare the demise of something that is becoming irrelevant. So is the Web dead or is it going to die because of the emergence of these new technologies and ecosystems?
The Web is the Standard
Brent Weaver, the president and founder of Ugurus and the popular 10K Boot Camp, believes otherwise. He has been in the business quite long enough to see and discern which predictions and claims have substantial evidence in order for them to come to pass.
What he said makes much more sense than the naysayers. He said that there is not yet a technology that is as standardized and prolific as the Web. It may look like the app is dominating the tech and web design world nowadays, but it has its limitations compared to the World Wide Web.
Just take for example the app ecosystem which is divided into two – the Apple ecosystem and the Android ecosystem. This limits how you use your phone because it is dependent on what ecosystem you are in. The Web, however, does not have any limitations, you can access it in any way using any kind of phone or device you’re on.
Because of that standardization and unification, the Web has become so prevalent that it is not going away. In fact, statistics say that in the year 2000 alone, there are more than 300 million people connected to the Internet. And now in 2015, there are more than 3 billion people in it – that’s ten times the increase in just a matter of 15 years. Because of this, web designers are not going anywhere. On the contrary, there are more opportunities for web design professionals more than ever, especially in the area of digital marketing. Companies and organizations are looking for digital consultants who are well-versed in the intricacies of the Web and Internet marketing.
Overcoming Insecurity Caused by New Technologies
Aside from the doomsday sayers, web designers also feel threatened by the emerging technologies, especially app development, which they feel are drawing more money than web design. That is why more and more designers often find themselves asking the question – how the future of the web affects web designers?
Brent, however, brushes off these fears, saying that web designers should not feel threatened or insecure about these new trends because, in the first place, they’ve been around even before the Web came to be. He explains that when he thinks of an app developer, he does not just think of someone who builds mobile apps, but also of someone who develops software application. And software development has been around even before the Web existed.
He further added that developing software applications for mobile phones or as web applications are already high level stuff, specifically for software engineers. And software engineers have been one of the top paid positions for years because of the kind of work they do. Therefore, if you want to make more money as a developer, you have to become more and more of an engineer.
However, websites these days do not require a high amount of development. What they do require is for somebody to understand the Internet as an ecosystem of many different technologies and to understand what their customers ultimately need for their websites.
Do they need more customers? Do they need more donors? Do they need more volunteers? What they want is to access those 3 billion people on the Web.
When you begin to have that kind of perception when you design your clients’ websites, landing pages, funnels, opt-ins, and lead magnets and they get the end results they desire, you will be able to get more money with the work you do.
Will Facebook Pages Replace Websites
Another reason why a lot of people predict the demise of websites is the emergence of Facebook. Why not when you can almost do anything on it – from promoting your latest products and services to creating buzz.
Brent was quick to counter this saying that relying mostly on a Facebook page and putting all your content there is like you setting up an office in a place you didn’t own. Sure, you may use all the amenities, but the bottom line is, it’s still not yours.
When you have your own website, it’s yours – it’s your own office, your own hub. Most importantly, it’s in your servers. No matter what you do with it, you can do it without answering to anyone.
Facebook, however, can do anything with your asset, like it’s their own. The moment you put your content to Facebook, you’re agreeing that they can do anything with it. They can or cannot drive traffic to your page without your permission. In short, you are bound by Facebook rules and its ecosystem.
For a little exercise, try to go out and ask someone if they are willing to give their website up for a fan page. That would be just like asking someone to give up their rights in their own homes.
We have seen the catastrophic results of such move in a smaller scale in terms of the App ecosystem. We have seen business models that have been killed overnight because of the changes to the Apple rules and regulations. We’ve seen businesses killed overnight when Apple decided to launch their own flashlight app. It’s not really a big problem, but we still see it happen.
Whereas, with the Web, you can do anything with your website because it’s your property. You can do anything with it as long as you’re not doing something illegal. You can keep it running 24/7 and do anything with it.
If you get an opt-in on your website, you own the marketing rights to that email address. On the other hand, if somebody like your page on Facebook, you don’t know that. If somebody buys your app in the App store, you don’t own the customer.
The dynamic of who owns the platform, the customers, or the data, will always have a drive. So make sure you have that ownership of some aspect of your business.
But You Can Use It to Your Advantage
One thing that Facebook has been really good at is democratize traffic. It has taken billions of people into its platform and started to categorize them according to their likes, interests, activities, what time of day they log on, and more. So when you think about traffic, Facebook has the people.
Because of that, it has made the job of a web designer or a marketing specialist a lot easier. You can go to Facebook and buy traffic that is extremely demographically targeted in a matter of ten minutes. You can even go to Facebook now and target 500 males anywhere in the world.
What Facebook has done, according to Brent, was to provide a very reliable traffic source for web designers. So if you have a piece of valuable content, if you have an offer, if you have a company or client you’re building a website for, and you’re telling them that you need to drive traffic to their website in order for the things that you’re building to bring value to their business, you can always go to Facebook. Within an hour, you will be able to target humans going to that website that you’ve just built.
So if you’re a web professional, you should not be afraid of what Facebook, or Google, or the apps are doing. These things are not threats, but are rather complements to what you are creating. They have gotten people to spend more time online. Add to that the crazy amount of people who log into the Web every hour, every day. With these basic factors alone, you can clearly say that the Web isn’t dying nor is it going anywhere. On the contrary, it is growing and expanding giving you more and more opportunities.
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