By Kayla Matthews

It seems like every year brings several key new changes affecting people working in businesses in the online industry. In fact, it can be challenging to keep up. However, it’s a necessary fact of engaging in commerce in a web-based world. Fortunately, there are several ways to keep you and your team current with what’s happening in your neck of the ‘net.

1. Read, Read and Read Some More

If you aren’t regularly checking out websites that give you the 411 on trends, you’re missing out. Encourage those on the payroll to also stay abreast by bookmarking and visiting popular sites. For instance, if it’s practical for you to know more about media and technology, a great start is to regularly read articles at TechCrunch. Of course, there are hundreds of other appropriate websites as well, so it’s worth doing some digging.

2. Get Your Team’s “Learn” On

There’s nothing like having someone who’s knowledgeable come in to perform some tech training with your team members. You can find someone who is local to your area to actually come onsite, or you can even promote attending webinars and other internet powwows.

3. Have Roundtable Discussions

Want to turn your weekly or biweekly meetings into educational forums? Ask specific team members to make presentations on certain aspects of your industry. This will serve two purposes. Your employees will get to run meetings and every employee will have the same information. Peer learning is a terrific way to keep everyone in the loop.

4. Buy New Technology Whenever Possible

It’s tough to substitute a hands-on experience when it comes to the coolest technology and gadgets. Therefore, if you have the budget, invest in items whenever you can. That way, you and your team can play around with devices and share your insights.

5. Attend Local Technology Events

Maybe you can’t purchase technology, as mentioned above. That’s okay, especially if you have technology colleges and learning centers in your area. Usually, they hold open houses or special events that are either free for the public, or charge a minimal fee to get in. At these events, you’ll be able to hobnob with those who are studying the area in which you are working. Plus, you might even be able to snag a recruit for your business!

6. Talk to Human Resources Recruiting Pros

Speaking of recruitment, there’s no reason you can’t start a dialogue with human resources folks who work with people in your online industry. Often, these experts have incredible insight into what other businesses – maybe even your competitors – are looking for in their employees. This information will help you figure out what your staff needs to know to remain on the cutting edge.

7. Promote Certifications and Degrees

While it isn’t always absolutely necessary for a great tech worker to have certifications or degrees, it can often give him or her an edge. Additionally, your clients might feel better about hiring your company if they know that you employ people with advanced education. Side note: Remember to ask these employees to debrief their colleagues whenever possible so their knowledge is shared.

8. Look for Beta Tests

Finally, it can be wise to consider getting involved in the beta testing of software that hasn’t yet been released to the public. This gives you the scoop on what’s going to be changing in software and also enables you to explore the latest platforms. Who knows? You might become an early expert in the next big social media brand, and that’s always good for business.

Never settle for the status quo. The online world is on the move, and you have to stay with it or you’ll get left behind.