It seems like every coffee shop, used textbook dealer and discount electronic dealer has jumped on the Web 2.0 phenomenon. Web 2.0 applications are the wave of the future. Consumers from all walks of life are using these applications to guide and influence their buying decisions.

How can you get in and capitalize on the profitable fun? Is your online business Web 2.0 compatible? Ask yourself the following questions to find out how to get started using Web 2.0 to take your business to a higher level.

How Can Businesses Benefit From Web 2.0 Applications?

The beauty of Web 2.0 is its networking ability. Modern consumers are keen on gathering information about products, businesses, and learning about reviews and ratings from other buyers. These consumers are also demanding to have a more "personal" connection with the companies from whom they shop. This is where consumer review sites such as Yelp.com, company blogs, and even Tweeter accounts come into play.

Thankfully, one of the main benefits of Web 2.0 applications is that they are generally free to use, therefore, you only need to invest the time and creativity in learning to use the applications for your business. For example, you can instantly add a blog to your commercial website through the free WordPress software, giving you a platform in which to consistently communicate with your existing and potential customers.

Can You Learn Web 2.0 Applications?

The best thing about Web 2.0 applications is that they are very user-friendly. If you have basic computer skills and a little bit of free time, then you can easily master the basics of blogging, podcasting, webcasting, and more. There are a variety of printed resources available on Web 2.0 applications, but chances are that once you start experimenting with building your own Twitter or MySpace site, creativity will take hold and you'll be a master in no time.

What if You Don't Have Time to Manage Web 2.0 Applications?

You are a busy small business owner and updating a Twitter or MySpace page might not fit into your hectic schedule. It's also possible that you do not have technical staff to whom you can assign the responsibility. Take a look at your staff and you might find that some very unlikely candidates are capable of managing Web 2.0 applications for you. It could be a savvy high school or college student in your family who could use some part-time work. Or it might be your quiet neighbor who has built his own personal MySpace empire overnight. Chances are, somebody that you already know has the right skills to take your on the management of your Web 2.0 applications with a little guidance and direction in the areas of marketing and advertising.