The term "Web 2.0" refers to the increasing trend for interactivity on websites as opposed to the static information pages of past years. This ranges from high content, lower social engagement of sites like Wikipedia to high social networking, lower content sites like Facebook. Blogging sits somewhere in the middle with (hopefully) interesting and/or useful content together with engagement from commenters. Some of the most successful blogs are those where the comments sections are read as avidly as the blog entries they debate.
Content sites like Squidoo, HubPages, and Google Knol have sprung up over the past few years to fill a gap between blogs and static websites. Blogs are periodical by nature; content is "lost" as fresh content replaces it. Content sites offer a single concentrated page focusing on one topic together with the interactivity of guestbooks, polls, ratings, and networking with other members on the sites' fora. Twitter, on the other hand, is a micro-content interactive site that scrolls quicker than a blog. It can be useful as a notice board to point your followers to new content, provide quick reminders of book tours, and ask and answer brief questions.
While you could, and should, take a similar interactivity approach where appropriate on your own website, if you have one, the real value of using content sites is in creating backlinks for your website and/or blog and in increasing the impact of your platform by reaching multiple audiences.
Which content site should you use?
You can use all of them. Or you can try each site out and find those sites that suit your needs and your style the best.
Below are two analyses run through Alexa. Alexa takes statistics from Internet users who have an Alexa toolbar running on their Internet Browser and who then visit the sites in question. These are probably not highly reliable data samples, but they give a nice snapshot comparison of similar sites. Unfortunately comparison with Google Knol is not available separate from Google as a whole, which, as a Search Engine rather than a content site, would skew the graph too much. Instead I've used Ezine Articles as a benchmark content site even though it is not really an interactive site. This should give you an idea of how HubPages and Squidoo are growing. As you can see HubPages seems to have a steadier growth and performs slightly better than Squidoo as a whole. However, as the second graph shows, Wikipedia and Amazon are still the sites on which you want to appear.
Up next: Brainstorming ideas for filling these Web 2.0 sites with great content.
Previously: Building an Online Platform to Promote Your Books
Have you tried any of these Web 2.0 sites? Did it help with your book promotion? We'd love to hear about your experiences.
Elsa Neal was one of the early adopters of Squidoo after it came out of Beta and has been actively involved in the community as a Squid Angel and a Top 100 Giant Squid. She has more recently been experimenting with HubPages. She can also be found on her own website or sharing her writing insights at her Fictional Life Blog.