We quickly learn, as children, that sharing's a bad thing but then, as we grow-up, we come to recognise that sharing is not actually what we first thought but a good and loving thing that well-adjusted adults do. The spirit of the Web is one of openness, giving and sharing - this 16 minute talk about sharing by Brad Frost examines the 'bi-directional nature of the web' and convinces you that a give-to-get website is simply the grown-up thing to do.
This TED x seminar by a web developer that you've probably never heard of, Brad Frost, clearly illustrates the open spirit that underpins the Web. If you want to stand any chance whatsoever of having a hit website then, in order for your website to catch this wave of freedom, you need to accept, embrace and perpetuate this spirit of giving and sharing out into your marketplace right now.
We all use the words but how many of us genuinely stop to think about just how much the Web has changed pretty much everything? By now you'll have come to recognise that you can find pretty much anything on the Web - this 'stuff' didn't get there by chance, it got there because people shared it.
Recipes, photos, videos, thoughts, games, apps, documents, maps, plans, advice, quizzes, facts, specifications, cures, fixes, reviews, jokes, quotes, music, books and tickets; they're all there, up for grabs - some have a price tag but most doesn't.
Because it's essentially free. Once you pay for your connection, that's it. Google, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, this web design blog on my website all come at you for free. If Facebook were to charge a subscription just how many of you would pay for it, honestly? We use the Web because it is open and free. Google and Facebook didn't gain their market-powers by charging a subscription.
The reason your Customers use the Web is precisely the same reason that you use the Web. When it comes to developing a successful commercial website for your business that capitalises upon this free and open marketplace, do you really think that your Customers want to visit your website simply to be sold to? Ask yourself what they're really after.
Brad Frost calls the Web
bi-directional. Websites which only list what a company wants to sell and make zero attempt at giving the Customer something more (the kind of 'stuff' we all go online for) will miss the business opportunity and fail to deliver their business objectives as a result of there being zero strategic thought behind the creation and development of one directional website that's only capable of being set to transmit and not receive.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not attempting to suggest that a great commercial website makes zero attempt to sell because, talk to me long enough and you'll here me say that, I believe a hit website articulates your business proposition.
Your website can sell and it can express what your business offers and that needs to be done in a way that your Customers understand. Use your website to share your experience with the marketplace, make 'stuff' available freely, talk to Customers about benefits and not features, cost and not price. Never forget that the very people you want to sell to are the very same people that use the Web because it's free and because they're out to acquire knowledge.
The web turns 25 this year and has matured with a belief that it's good to share. Take a look at your own website and ask yourself if it's founded upon an infantile belief that sharing means losing-out by giving away 'stuff' that is of value to you.
Now, turn this limp, outdated logic on its head and, instead, grow-up by giving away 'stuff' that is of value to your Customers instead.