Friday, June 7, 2013

Web Sites are NOT Dead

By Stu Marks

White Paper

Limelight Networks recently released a white paper on digital presence that announced that Custom Web Sites for your business are now dead. They are so sure that Facebook type templates are doing such a great job handling your branding and customer interaction that you no longer need to maintain your custom web site.

Limelight Networks Dead Wrong

Even though they are correct in instructing business owners that they need to engage their customers through their content, instead of just laying it out there in the electronic brochure which is what the custom web site really is, I feel that Limelight Networks is dead wrong in discouraging companies from using their custom web site as the information hub from which all of their digital assets are reached.

Here’s some reasons why;
A custom web site is under complete control of the owner. Facebook type social media (which is what Limelight is suggesting replaces the custom web site) changes often. Many of the changes create severe animosity towards Facebook. This animosity can easily transfer to the company that majors in social media instead of their own digital brochure.

In the world of marketing, Branding can be everything. It is on the same par with the age old, “location, location, location”. If you want to support free branding to Facebook, Twitter, Droid, LinkedIn, You Tube,  Vimeo and Google, that’s certainly your privilege. But the truth is, the largess and momentum that exists with the large number of users on You Tube’s juggernaut does more than simply provide you with that enormous pool of potential customers, it is also an enormous pool of competitors to which your videos are attached either by association, or Internet hyperlink.

You Tube, for example, is not a neutral vehicle upon which your branded videos can safely reside; The Internet, however, is a neutral vehicle and was designed precisely for that neutral purpose of being the everywhere-reaching, unbranded vehicle that we can all use for safely advertising our message.
These companies that are posing themselves as safe advertising vehicles have great value in most cases and should NOT be ignored. But the flaw in the Social Media Only plan is that, you are giving up complete control over your branding and the secure firewall that SHOULD separate your message from your competitors’. That truth is not going to go away anytime soon.

Here’s a detail about just You Tube that will make the light go on for you.
The public is used to taking a thought, and going to You Tube’s search field online and typing it in. Therefore, if you can be found on You Tube this scenario is what will happen possibly hundreds of times a week;

Potential customer here’s or see’s your company name or product model and goes to You Tube’s search engine to type it in. They get a number of choices in a long list from which to choose and they either choose yours, or one of your competitors’. Even if they choose yours, You Tube can easily display your competitor’s videos right next to yours that can be easily watched either by the PLAY AUTOMATICALLY tool that You Tube has turned on by default, or can be accessed by simply clicking on it at any time.

Face Book. Anyone can buy advertising space on Face Book. The same for LinkedIn as well as most others.

One of the safer ad buys is Twitter, for now. Check out your Twitter home page. No advertising cells there, right? Well, that can change at any time. But Twitter is also home to millions of users every week, and your customers and potential customers can be reached through that medium. I just wouldn't invest my entire marketing department in a medium that limits The Message to 140 characters. Using Twitter requires following some simple rules, but is certainly worth using if your goal is to point customers to your electronic brochure.

Yes, Twitter does have a measure of the same competitive drawback as Face Book and You Tube. The topic a customer is looking at, at any given moment, is sensed by Twitter and it looks for competing posts to list in your customers’ Discover window. No way around that, either.

The Answer

Use social media in a limited way to point customers to your company site. At your site, you can impart information, white papers, research, order pages, pictures and even your own videos without danger of them being led away by competitive messaging.

Host all of the content that is text or photos on your own server. But videos, since they are much larger in file size and require much more bandwidth and therefore cost and expertise to manage, can be hosted on a server owned by your Video management host, like

Using someone like EZWebPlayer, instead of hard coding a player yourself, offers you the ability to virtually host your own videos, without the cost of having a programmer on staff.

Check out EZWebPlayer here.

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