Here's a list of our top predictions of new trends, technologies and important issues that are going to affect your online business in 2007.
1. Content Filtering
With more and more specialist content and information making its way onto the internet, the ability to filter content and searches will become a vital time-saving tool for web surfers. Solutions that help with content filtering will be big winners in 2007.
2. Personalised and Vertical Search
Searching in 2007 will be all about filtering and personalised searches. Niche sites and portals with a targeted focus will be easy winners.
3. Social Bookmarking and Social Networks
The collective voice has gained momentum. Social networking has landed with a bang. Last year, sites like Myspace and YouTube made the headlines with their multi-million dollar deals. These sites are completely reliant on the support of the collective voice and it will be interesting to see how the 'the crowd' shapes their future in 2007.
RSS is about giving people control about how, when and where they keep up-to-date of their favourite websites. We predict RSS will become a massive success and vital promotional tool in 2007.
5. Web Reputation
In 2007, big companies and major brands will be placing far greater emphasis on watching and monitoring their product and brand reputations in online communities. Smaller companies and individuals must do the same to maintain their competitive edge.
6. Cyber Security
Privacy as we once knew it has gone. Spam is here to say. Cyber Security is still vital, however, to protect us from fraud and theft. In 2007, you must make sure your site is as secure as it can be, especially if you are dealing in money!
7. Going Green
We all want to do our bit to save the world. The year 2007 will be when this becomes even more important and potentially life saving. Every company, be it virtual or physical, will be trying to display its green credentials. Try and spot the ones that walk the walk.
8. PodSafe Music
Currently, you have to pay for most music for your Podcasts. New sites are springing up that allow independent musicians to offer listening rights to podcasters to use their music, exposing them to a huge new audience without the need for traditional record deals.
9. Videocasting - Video Podcasting
The cost of a good quality video camera has dropped, Windows Movie Maker is easy to use, anyone can make their own web-based TV programme. More and more sites will be featuring video and multimedia. Make sure yours does too!
10. Online Real Estate
While the physical housing market starts to slow and cool down, the virtual property market is going through the roof! The year 2006 reported the first person to make $1 million from selling virtual property through the online world at Second Life (www.secondlife.com). We predict this trend will continue as people seek to escape reality even further.
11. Web Applications Hit Critical Mass
The year 2007 will see the use of online applications replace the need for traditional standalone software. Solutions like PayPal, Google Analytics, Auto Remote Backup (www.carbonite.com) and of course SubHub will make it easier for anyone to manage and run a variety of exciting applications, all within a web browser.
12. Google Adsense Feels the Heat
Finally, Google is going to get some competition for its Adsense programme from Microsoft and Yahoo. Competition is great for online publishers as it will increase the profit share for sites displaying PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising.
More and more content is going to be delivered over mobile networks in 2007. This is already very big in Asia and will become the hottest issue this year. Website owners much start thinking about their mobile strategies now.
14. Browser Wars
Microsoft's stranglehold on the browser market seemed to have finally broken in 2006 by the success of Mozilla's 'Firefox'. Microsoft has just hit back with IE7, which has many of the Firefox features that people love, such as tabbed browsing. Macintosh's 'Safari' browser is also destined for an upgrade this year with more features supported.
15. International Web
The year 2007 is going to see the internet reach even more people globally than ever before. As countries like China and India become more and more industrialised, the web will see millions of new users. Forward-thinking web publishers will be aware of these new markets and begin promoting to them now.