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Democratization of web means every website has to become a politician - pitch for votes
1st April 2011

We usually associate voting with scumbag politicians and their fake promises and plastic smiles. But now in this new age of web democracy every website has to garner votes to become popular and remain in power. Every click of a 'like' button or 'stumble' button increases the popularity of a site. Sites are now being made or broken on people's opinions.

Get your finger  inked after clicking the Facebook like button.

The most obvious polling booth mechanism we are seeing online is the ubiquitous Facebook 'like' button which is now in every nook and cranny of millions of sites. Webmasters are hungrily counting the likes and hoping for a boost in popularity and traffic. Those 'likes' mean a lot of thing to them: people will revisit, buy their products/services, talk about them to others etc. Whether a ton of likes actually translates into sales is a debatable issue but no webmaster can afford to take a chance on that.

Your website better have a great smile and promise a lot of nice things

Gone are the days when you could put up a dullard site and count on basic SEO to do the job for you. Now you need to be different, colourful, entertaining and promise a lot to the visitor. You need to stand out among the hundreds of sites looking for a vote. You have to sell like you mean it. Visitors need to be 'wowed' or at the very least be 'slightly impressed'.

Give them something they want or atleast what they think they need.

Just publishing your products or services won't do the trick. Before the visitor will click on the famous 'like' button you have to answer his/her fundamental question - 'what's in it for me?'.  You must either enlighten them, entertain them, amuse them or if thats not possible throw them a freebie. As their power increases visitors are becoming more demanding and woe be to the site that does not deliver.

Your constituency as a group  of voters will decide your website's fate

The success of group buying sites like Groupon.com is demonstrating the power of the masses. Such sites have become so popular that ordinary retailers are now having trouble selling products without group discounts. Good old ordinary discounts / sales no longer seem to work. Why should a visitor buy at a 10% discount when he gets a clear 30% discount as part of a group. What this means that a website not only has to cater to individuals but also have something for a group. Some sort of basic slab system which increases the discount as the number of buyers increase.

Its always important to have a core group of supporters

In every group there will be leaders who others will follow. They are the thought leaders, the pioneersm the risk takers. Everyone looks to them to see what they are 'liking' or who they are 'buying'. It never hurts to have such people among your fans. They can tilt a whole lot of business your way just by their 'likes' listed on their pages. Make them feel special, give them gifts and discounts. Keep them happy and like sales pied pipers they will bring a whole herd of customers to your site. The trick is to identify them early and nurture them.

Campaigning is very important - speak to the people all the time - the election is never over.

Web masters must use every platform and every tool available to get their voices heard in the crowd. You can no longer sit with a single website and hope for the best. Push, push and then push some more. Explore all options, all social media platforms, professional networking platforms, write blogs, contribute articles. Be out there. Get heard, get noticed!!

Funny how things turn out. The web was supposed to be the ultimate tool of free choice. It took a long time to reach this stage and now its made us all into wily politicians. What next i wonder.

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