I would argue that one of the most revolutionary things that has ever happened is the World Wide Web (WWW).
Twenty-five years ago, the WWW was proposed by English computer scientist Sir Timothy Berners-Lee. Sir Timothy wrote the first Web browser in 1990, which became known as “The Web.” This wasn’t available to the public yet as it was purely in its infancy, but once it was, it ushered in the Information Age as we know it today. Now, it’s the primary means for billions of people around the globe to interact with each other and with businesses.
The following have had a huge impact on you, your personal life and your business:
- 1989 – AOL makes “You’ve Got Mail” a catch phrase
- 1990 – Only 42 percent of adults in America had used a computer
- 1991 – The World Wide Web is made available to the public
- 1993 – 11 million households in America are capable of jumping on the “information superhighway”
- 1994 – Yahoo! is founded. Amazon creates their “bookstore.” Craigslist and Match.com are founded. eBay launches. Microsoft releases first version of Internet Explorer
- 1995 – Google registers as a domain
- 1998 – AOL reaches 16 million members (remember the CD-ROM mailers?). Email term “spam” is coined
- 2000 – 40 million Americans make purchases online
- 2002 – 55 million people go online at work, and 44 percent say using the internet helps them to do their work. Social networking site “Friendster” launches
- 2003 – Apple creates iTunes, Skype launches, LinkedIn goes online, MySpace is founded and President Bush signs the CAN-SPAM Act into law
- 2004 – Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg officially launches Facebook. Google goes public and starts trading at $85 per share on NASDAQ
- 2005 – Broadband connections outnumber dial-up connections. YouTube is founded
- 2006 – Google makes a move for YouTube and succeeds in acquiring it for $1.65 billion. Twitter launches
- 2007 – The first iPhone is released (that was only 9 years ago!)
- 2008 – Groupon is released, Apple makes the App Store available with the first 552 applications
- 2009 – Microsoft launches the search engine Bing
- 2010 – Pinterest and Instagram are launched
- 2011 – Microsoft purchases Skype. Google+ launches
- 2012 – Facebook has 66 percent of internet users, Instagram reaches 12 percent. Facebook users top 1 billion. Facebook purchases Instagram for one billion dollars, goes public on NASDAQ at $38 per share. Ecommerce sales surpass $1 trillion
- 2013 – 56 percent of Americans own smartphones, 51 percent bank online. Twitter goes public for $26 a share
Today, according to the National Telecommunications & Information Administration, 75 percent of Americans go online, and 20 percent use only mobile technology to do so, and that’s doubled since 2013. And, 57 percent of Americans use at least two devices daily, 37 percent use three or more. (Source: Pew Research Center)
Given the most recent statistics, your neighbors, and likely you, too, expect to have access to online technology whenever they want, wherever they are and carry the devices required to make this kind of access possible. And yet today, there are still collision repair shops in America that do not have a website, and many more that have no presence on social media, have not claimed and verified their listings on Google, and pay no attention to reviews that have been left about them on sites like Google, Yelp, Carwise or Auto Body Review.
In just a quarter of a century, the WWW has taken the world by storm. So not participating in it effectively, in all its forms, is simply a business decision to not keep up with the times. At Optima Automotive, we call this “web presence management.” Web presence management means:
- Having a modern, effective website that is well designed to make a great first impression
- Having a website that gets your visitors to do something you want them to do (i.e. pick up the phone to call you, look for your address, get directions, request an estimate or appointment)
- Having a website that is well optimized so that it can be found when the public searches for the services you provide Your website is the hub of your online presence, around which the following orbit:
- Effective participation on social media, i.e. at least Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube
- A verified Google My Business page
- Video production for both your website and social media sites
- Directory listings that have your business NAP (name, address, phone) accurate and consistent across the board. Visit www.optimaautomotive.com/powerlistings-local-search to run a scan of your business on the top 60+ directories that search engines pay attention to
- Having a reputation management program in place
Your target audience expects you to be on an average of 3.4 different social media platforms, according to HubSpot. Millennials expect you to be on more. Top sites they expect you to be on are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn.
What we talk about today regarding your online presence will change quickly, and new things will come up in the blink of an eye. Keep your eyes on this column each month for the latest.