As the Web Changes, Content Remains Important

Every time someone claims an end to something online it raises attention.

The most recent example is an article in Forbes proclaiming that Facebook and Google will soon die. It’s a big proclamation especially considering how Google remains one of the biggest tech giants of all time and Facebook continues to scream toward its goal of having everyone on the planet on its website at all times.

Will the prediction come true? Will Google and Facebook die?

The specific statement is that Google and Facebook will die in the way of MySpace and not in the way of bankruptcy. MySpace still seems to make a ton of money on advertising, but it was an early Web 2.0 or social site that faded when Facebook took over the social space. Google has managed to be one of the lone remnants of the Web 1.0 generation. Today, it’s mobile and apps that are ushering in the Web 3.0 era. And the companies from previous generations (Google, Facebook) are struggling to change.

While I found this article interesting I also couldn’t help but think of how one thing hasn’t changed at its most basic level over all three generations of the Web…

Content is Here to Stay in All Web Paradigms

Each of the Web generations has been about the same thing: content.

Yahoo! was one of the original poster children of the Web. In fact, back in the late ’90s most people though Yahoo! was the Internet or the Web. It was the only website people knew about until they had time to discover the Web in more depth.

Yahoo! was able to exist because the company was able to aggregate content from around the Web. Not only did Yahoo! serve up search results, the company hosted news and unique stories on its portal.

Google came along and took over the Web in the early 2000s and really continues to dominate today in terms of revenue. People go on Google to discover information, but it is the information on other sites that people are consuming. Google is simply the way for people to discover something. It’s an important step, but it’s the content that allows Google to even exist in the first place. At least this is how it used to be before Google became more of a glorified, paid online phone book or Website directory.

Today we have Web 3.0 and the mobile revolution. It’s a huge change in the way people are accessing the Web or simply accessing information. Instagram is the example used in the Forbes article. The company allows people to never even really use it without having a mobile phone. People take photos and can seem like professional photographers by using the pre-built filters.

But you know what Instagram needs to succeed? Other people’s photos (content).

Content has lived throughout each generation of the Web and it’s lived well before the Web even existed.

Content is timeless. The written word, the photograph, art, video, etc. It’s all content and if you possess the skill of creating content you will always thrive on the Web or whatever platform is used in the future.

Companies like Yahoo!, Google, MySpace and even Facebook have struggled and will struggle (relatively) because they don’t focus on their own content. They focus on having a way to provide something to people, but it’s difficult for these companies to change when a new form of discovery comes along, which is something that always seems to happen.

The best thing you can do for your company is to focus on creating content. The way your customers will always change. Make your content appealing to any form of discover and you will be set for the future whether it’s mobile or the channel of discovery that comes next.

The only question is:

Will you invest in content for the future of your company?

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