The way people consume information is changing. We're all constantly overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information that's available to us today, as well as the ways we can consume it. Not only are there thousands of websites, but there are also millions (if not billions) more in the form of apps and smartphone programs. But if you ask me, this is only going to get worse before it gets better. The way we consume information has rapidly changed so much since the days when websites were all we had available — we want our news delivered in short bursts on social media, we want our music instantly accessible via streaming services and we want answers from Google faster than ever before! I think it's safe to say that the need for websites may be dying out as people think more about what they want information-wise, rather than where they can find it.
While the need for websites may be dying, there are still many ways to access information. In fact, with more devices than ever before and people being able to access information on the go, in their own time, and in their own place—coupled with the desire of consumers to use the device that suits their needs at that moment—the need for websites isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
The need for websites may be decreasing, but websites that specialize on a topic will be more valuable. The amount of information will still be the same; the difference is that you won't have to search through as much irrelevant information. Websites will also be easier to navigate because there won't be so many options. There are fewer websites today than there were 20 years ago, but they're more useful and valuable because they provide focused content that is easier to find and read. Historical societies that host resource databases will have more of a need for a website than a genealogical society unless that society holds databases.
Only time will tell what will happen with the use of websites. Much of the future of websites lies in the hands of what social media platforms offer users in the future. Don't consider dropping your website right now, unless there is absolutely no traffic to your website or an obvious use to have a website. Some societies may choose to keep a website strictly as a way of handling their memberships. I have personally kept my website because this is where I post my blog as well as manage my email list. For now, these are important reasons to keep a website.
Until next time, keep connecting to your social media community,
Jon Marie Pearson, The Simple Living Genealogist