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Mash-up your online business...in a good way!

27-Feb-2014

So you’ve built your website, you’re online and your exposing your business to a wider more diverse audience. But now you’re hearing people talk about how you should include ‘mash-ups’ on your website, but what is a ‘mash-ups’ and how can it help your business?

What is a mash-up?

To put it simply a mash-up is two different web applications blended together for a specific purpose. A mash-up is created by taking data from multiple sources and reinterpreting it. For examples, estate agent’s websites blend their own property data with Google maps to display the locations of houses and flats.

In order to blend the separate data, each of the sources will have to use open APIs (application programming interfaces) which allow other users to use the data in a mash-up. This revolution of openness and culture of sharing has allowed innovation on the web to explode.

Why would I mash-up?

Creating mash-ups for your website can be a great way to create more engaging content and improve the customer experience. Most mash-ups can be done with little to no programming experience or skills. There are hundreds of sites out there to help you start:Programmableweb.com is just one example. Here are a few examples of how a mash-up could help your online business:

Bob’s Bike Shop

Bob owns a specialist bike shop trading exclusively online. His customers are biking enthusiasts that want to get the best performance possible from their equipment. Bob recognises that he needs to provide exactly the right kit to the right customer so he designs a mash-up where cyclists enter details on their cycle routes and matches them up with the best gear for their needs.

The application blends topographic map data with stock information to recommend the best bikes depending on the type of surface levels, weather and inclines.

Hannah’s Home Store

Hannah has an online store that sells home accessories and wants to help her customers choose items that will go with their décor. Using her mash-up, customers can enter the colour of their room and the app is able to pull up a selection of home images from Pintrest, as well as some suggestions from her store, to inspire them.

Fiona’s Fashion Boutique

Fiona’s fashion customers always want to be ‘on trend’, so Fiona has designed a mash-up application which pulls news feeds from all the top lifestyle magazines and links keywords with products in her store. This means if ‘mesh tops ’are trending in Grazia and Cosmopolitan then related products will appear first on the homepage.