Internet access has become a necessary element of life, work, and fun. Whether shopping, communicating, or researching, the Internet offers many tools, information, and access that would otherwise be more expensive, take longer, be more expensive, or all three! There are many activities that are necessary, or at least preferred, that can now be done on the Internet.
For example, the majority of companies now have a website. In fact, the Internet has become the most popular and necessary way to advertise because so many people use the Internet as their primary source of getting and sending information. On these websites, you can get information that is vital to you, like the phone number and address of the nearest location, the hours and services available, the products they offer (sometimes there are products that are only sold on the website itself or can be bought for a cheaper price online!), and sometimes the names and email addresses of staff members.
Websites also offer many transactions that would at one time only have been available if you drove to their nearest store or sent a form or check in the mail. Here are a few examples:
*You can buy stamps, look up addresses, and print postage labels on the USPS website.
*You can pay your bills, file a claim, and view important documents on most insurance websites.
*You can buy items, and have them shipped to your or the nearest store on a department store website.
If you have a bill to pay, something for which you want to know the price, or a question about a product, look up that company's website and most likely, you'll have your bill paid or your question answered in minutes.
Another popular use for the Internet is a search engine. It's like a super help desk for the Internet. Don't know that address of a website? Don't know what website would have the information you need? That's where the search engine comes in. All you need to do is type a few words that briefly summarize what you are looking for and click search! You will be directed to a long list of related websites that offer relevant and helpful information. You can even narrow your search results to only "News" webpages, or a listing of images, products for sale, or videos on the keywords you entered. Search engines help you navigate the web in a way you never could if you had to stumble on all of these websites on your own!
Recently Internet access has provided many new marketing tactics that would have seemed impossible even a few years ago. The latest emphasis in the modern business world has been the advent of social networking. It started out as a fun tool for individuals; you set up a profile, add "friends," that is, a link to profiles of people you know (or met on the net), then you communicate, play games, update people on what you are doing, thinking, etc. Some people were able to garner hundreds of "friends" and a small mention of a company or activity could be spread quickly and easily, because so many people are networked to one another. Many companies began to latch on to the phenomenon and made profiles of their own. Now companies and businesses can spread their messages and create an awareness that would have cost hundreds or thousands of dollars using another method.
As you can see, the use of Internet access is widespread and popular, and the benefits just seem to keep growing!