Internet

YouTube

While YouTube has emerged as a marketing juggernaut for businesses, many firms are also discovering that the free video-sharing service has scores of other uses—all of which are also free for the taking.

Next-Generation Customer Reviews

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With 73% of online retailers seeing customer reviews as a key priority in 2009, according to a recent Forrester report, it’s no wonder the cultivation of online reviews is becoming an art form. Retailers that have already seen online reviews translate into healthy sales increases are rolling out next-generation versions of their sites faster than you can say “thumbs up.”

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Tick-Tock

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While most businesses have soundly rejected Vista and are tenaciously hanging on to Windows XP until Microsoft comes up with a better operating system (OS), the day of reckoning approaches. The reason: Microsoft drove another bloody stake into XP on April 14, 2009, when it officially ended “mainstream support” for the OS. This means that your warranty on XP is void. It also means that if you want support on XP other than basic patches or basic security upgrades, you’ll have to pay Microsoft under a separate, “extended support” agreement.

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Search-Engine Optimization

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While there are any number of web eMarketing firms that promise to significantly boost your company’s rankings on search engines, finding one that actually delivers on that oath demands some careful shopping, according to industry experts. The still-maturing industry known as search-engine optimization (SEO) is unfortunately riddled with legions of scammers who prey on marketers and entrepreneurs, said Tom Pick, founder of WebMarketCentral.

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The Gobbledygook Factor

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Companies vexed by the relentless need to continually design their websites for multiple browsers have a new challenge: the 2009 release of Internet Explorer 8 (IE8). In a phrase, it is expected to wreak havoc on a select number of websites. Apparently, IE8’s coming roll-out “may cause content written for previous versions of Internet Explorer to display differently than intended,” according Nick MacKechnie, a senior technical account manager for Microsoft.

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Web 2.0-Enabled Press Releases

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With business communications moving at the speed of fiber-optic light for years now, it’s no wonder that the humble press release has finally caught up. Shaking off its dead-tree past for good, today’s reinvented press release is packed with a number of web 2.0 elements that make it much more interactive and, as some of the digerati might say, much more “web-viral ready.”

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New Directions in Web Analytics

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While web software has been around nearly as long as the web itself, the latest crop of upgrades make it easier than ever to precisely study what’s working best on your site and ensure that those best practices are replicated on every page. Indeed, as too many businesses learned the hard way in the early days of the web, a site that often seems easy to navigate in the eyes of company creators can actually represent a major challenge to visitors. Too often, this results in visitors clicking away in frustration—and often logging on to a competitor’s site.

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