Content website owners are battling to make sense of Web3: Why does it matter, and will it impact site traffic, revenues, and the exit potential of their businesses?
Web3 (also known as Web 3.0) is promoted as the future of the Internet.
In 2021, $30 billion was invested into Web3, crypto, metaverse, and blockchain-based projects.
Are investors pouring money into these projects and hoping for a better return than they’re getting from SaaS and Web2-based startups?
Or does this investment activity indicate the huge potential of Web3?
Crucially, for content site owners, what does this iteration mean?
At the moment, there are more questions than answers surrounding Web3.
Content site owners and content marketers need to know how these developments will impact their audience, revenue, metrics, and exit potential for their businesses.
Let’s examine what Web3 means for content website owners and attempt to answer your questions about how you can adapt to this new digital era.
What is Web3?
Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood first coined the term “Web3” in 2014, but it wasn’t until 2021 that it became a viable concept.
Web3 is designed as a refreshed version of the Internet. It’s a way for users to regain control from Big Tech companies by incorporating decentralization, blockchain technology, and token-based economics.
Web3 is described as “an idea” for the future of the Internet.
Or is it already more than that?
2021 was a record-breaking year for crypto valuations, NFT (Non-Fungible Token) sales, and investment in this sector.
Serious entrepreneurs and investors began taking a keen interest in Web3, and the number of blockchain-based startups building technology solutions, platforms, and apps (or decentralized apps, known as dApps) for the Web3 ecosystem accelerated dramatically.
Despite the increased interest, Web3 remains hard to define.
A Vox commentator noted, Web3 is “a nascent idea floated by a mix of buzz, optimism, confusion, theological battles, and pure unadulterated speculation, which means it’s incredibly malleable.”
His article states: “You can explain why Web3 is a fundamental remaking of the Internet, and some people will take you very seriously. And you can argue that it’s an MLM scheme built to enrich people who are already rich, and find plenty of people nodding along.”
Yet, as a content website owner or content creator, you can’t ignore Web3 — not if you have an audience that could migrate to apps beyond your understanding, reach, or control.
How could Web3 impact content websites?
Brands have already created and launched Web3-based content websites.
The future is here.
In partnership with R/GA Australia and Plai, Timberland launched a Web3 immersive experience, a virtual world known as TimbsTrails.
BMW created something similar; a virtual world called JOYTOPIA, which confidently steps into Web3 and the Metaverse using an immersive-content website to tell the BMW story.
Other brands, including JP Morgan, have opened virtual lounges on Web3 platforms. Potential investors are exposed to immersive presentations about investing in the crypto economy, new token launches (Initial Coin Offerings), and NFTs.
Every brand that leaps into Web3 is driving its effort forward with content.
This forces content site owners to ask:
Should we create new content for Web3?
Or do we re-purpose our existing content?
Neither are easy questions to answer.
This concept is innovative.
And the Web3 content-marketing playbook doesn’t exist yet.
When a content website performs well, it becomes a traffic and revenue-generating machine.
The end game is an exit.
Content site owners aim to sell their websites with an engaged audience, viable revenue streams, and a solid ranking in search engines.
If your audience migrates to Web3 ecosystems, this could cause serious problems for your content site — unless you catch up on this trend now.
It’s akin to relying on Instagram and YouTube for your traffic and audience engagement, only to overlook that they’re all on TikTok now. If — and it’s still a big IF right now — more people start using Web3-based apps, then your traffic, revenue, and other metrics will slowly erode.
Your audience will be spending time elsewhere.
And it’s not like there isn’t precedent for this phenomenon.
It’s harder to catch up on a trend — attempting to jump on a train after it left the station. Many brands were left behind when younger audiences moved from Facebook to Instagram.
Even now, audiences are migrating from Instagram and YouTube to TikTok. Figures show that the time spent on TikTok’s app has increased by 20% per user year-on-year, while YouTube usage has decreased by 2%.
It’s even worse for Instagram. In the first half of 2022, users spent twice as much time on TikTok than on Instagram.
Now is the best time to create content for Web3 ecosystems so that your website (or a Web3 version) is ready for the future.
Let’s take a closer look at how to adapt your content site for Web3.
5 Ways Content Website Owners Create Content for Web3
1. Content is community-driven
Web3 is designed to be everything our current online ecosystem isn’t: decentralized, user-driven, and an ideal environment for content creators and fans.
Web3 is meant to leapfrog ahead of everything Web2 created by building on and improving our entire digital world. Web1 and legacy technology soon appeared outdated once Software as a Service (SaaS) and social networks matured and went mainstream.
Huge bets have been made that the same will happen when Web3 technology surpasses our current Web2-based ecosystem.
One of the main reasons millions of people turned to cryptocurrencies, Web3, and blockchain-based apps, was a desire to remove their reliance on centralized, big-tech platforms.
Crypto launched in response to the Great Recession of 2007-2010. It was sparked by an ambition to control a new digital currency and create a world where financial giants couldn’t control or collapse the entire economy.
As a concept, Web3 comes from a similar place. A wish to regain control, to wrestle it out of the hands of the tech overlords.
As a content website owner, you should be hyper-aware of your readers’ role within your Web3 site. Your followers must (and will) play a direct role in creating content for any Web3 site you launch.
Web3 plays to the advantage of content creators because it gives you a direct relationship with your web visitors. Web3 eliminates the risks associated with Web2 apps — that you could lose your audience at any moment, remain at the mercy of algorithms, and suffer under onerous terms and conditions.
Creating engaging content is the only way to build a loyal fan base on Web3 platforms. Content allows for an exchange of digital goods and value — the core product of any Web3 site.
2. Launch a Creator Token or NFT
Once you’ve built an engaged readership in Web3, it’s time to monetize and incentivize them. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and creator tokens.
NFTs are a blockchain-based means to connect ownership of a digital asset to a unique physical or digital item. For example, artists use NFTs — unique blockchain-registered tokens connected to a ‘thing’ like a picture or video — to monetize digital versions of their art.
When an NFT is created (known as “minting”), the creator ensures the tangible asset is connected to the NFT through the associated metadata and smart contract.
Don’t worry if you aren’t sure how to do this. There are thousands of blockchain consultants and developers who can help, and numerous apps that turn this into a simple process.
Once you’ve created an NFT, it’s worth testing the market to see what your followers are happy to pay. If people are buying, then invest in creating more NFTs. That could include an exclusive limited-edition range that you offer to your fans.
Another way to engage your users is to mint creator tokens.
Creator tokens are a type of cryptocurrency, although the process is longer and more complicated than creating NFTs.
A token is a digital coin that any individual or company can create using blockchain technology. If you’re new to this technology, it’s worth speaking with blockchain consultants and developers for guidance.
However, this is only worth doing when your audience is large enough on Web3 apps to justify the investment, e.g., once you’ve built a large and loyal readership from which to generate revenue on Web3 platforms.
Creator tokens are a way to give your fans monetary rewards in a tokenized format. You can provide them with tokens for creating content, engaging with your content, and voting on what they want you to produce.
You can use tokens to grant access and perks to your most loyal fans and even offer them a means to invest in your content before it’s made. That is known as staking.
Staking is a blockchain/Web3-based method to invest in a new project. Users buy creator tokens for a fixed period in exchange for guaranteed returns from Web3 projects.
It’s another excellent way to create value for your followers while generating new revenue streams. You benefit from a capital injection that allows you to produce new content, features, and products for your fans.
3. Apply the old rules of Web 2.0 content in a new setting
Remember, online content creation is always about giving your readers and viewers (if you’re also producing videos) interesting, engaging, and valuable information.
The old rules of content creation are even more applicable on Web3 platforms.
Watch what other brands and Web3 content creators are doing; CryptoKitties and CryptoPunks are good examples.
It all comes down to content: create it, build an audience, and your fans and customers will follow you into Web3 platforms.
Even world-famous artists like Snoop Dogg are investing in Web3 and the metaverse, seeing it as the future of fan engagement. He owns a virtual estate, complete with mansions and gardens, on Decentraland, a popular metaverse app. One fan recently paid $450,000 to ‘live’ next to Snoop Dogg on this estate.
Every creator on Web3 produces content that engages their fans in new and innovative ways. And yet, the principles behind this content are grounded in Web2 concepts.
It’s a different environment, albeit one where audiences have similar expectations and hopes for what they’ll experience and encounter.
4. Ensure your Web3 content site is user-friendly for those without Blockchain experience
Content creators and content site owners have multiple options for building a Web3 site or app (dApp). At this stage, it’s essential to choose a platform that is user-friendly for those unfamiliar with Web3 and blockchain technology.
Your goal is to engage users which means that their new experience should be easy and familiar. If it’s not, you risk alienating them, and even encouraging them to go elsewhere.
One way to pull your fans onto a Web3 site is to recycle your published content from Web2 apps and social networks. This acts as a gateway.
You should include suitable links and ‘calls to action’ that invite your audience to interact with your brand in Web3. This helps you test the level of demand for your new platform.
It’s better to experiment on a small scale before going all-in on developing a Web3 version of your site.
5. Use a “tokenwall” for fans to access premium content
Our last suggestion is to use tokens to create a Web3 paywall.
These tokens allow people to access your premium content. It’s the Web3 equivalent of a subscription solution; you sell batches of tokens that allow your fans to source content they can’t get anywhere else.
For example, premium token gateways have become a popular means for football clubs to generate revenue from their fans. Creators can take the same approach — applying Web3 technologies in novel ways.
Content website owners and creators also need to remember that Web3 is not built for advertising or affiliate links. So, it’s essential to find imaginative ways to monetize your audience.
Premium content offerings, only accessible through purchasing and holding tokens, are an ideal solution to these revenue-generation challenges.
What did we learn?
Once you’re established on Web3 platforms, there are numerous ways to expand on your initial success, especially when you have an engaged fan base in this ecosystem.
Invest in creating decentralized apps (dApps), launching immersive experiences on Web3 and metaverse platforms, and creating unique NFTs for sale. dApps are the Web3 equivalent of apps or content websites.
Don’t be afraid of losing your readers to Web3 platforms.
Instead, focus on strategies to create new content experiences for those platforms. Your current and new fans will engage with your site in original and exciting ways.
5 Ways Content Website Owners Can Create Content for Web3:
- Content is community-driven
- Launch a Creator Token or NFT (based on content)
- Apply the old rules of Web 2.0 content in a new setting
- Ensure your Web3 content site is user-friendly for those without Blockchain experience
- Use a Tokenwall (a Web3 paywall) for fans to access premium content