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A Dynamic Frequent Destination

In June, Alta Vista announced their "freshness guarantee". Their
"freshness guarantee" states that their index will be updated every 28
days with the most relevant up to date web sites. When you perform
a search on AltaVista, the results will now display the date the listed
web pages were last updated.

How fresh is your Web Site?

Many new businesses to the Internet may think that they only need to
post a web site and wait for the orders to roll in. If they are a well
know national or international chain they may very well receive a
fair number of visitors to their new web site. This however will be
incidental to their business and not a generator of new customers. For
a new unknown web business, simply posting a web site will
probably have little or no success.

When deciding to open a new retail store, the motto you will often
hear is "location, location, location". A good location for a retail
outlet can often generate a significant amount of walk in traffic. If
your products and services are good, these customers will then
generate more business through word of mouth.

A new Internet web site only has one location. It is the equivalent of
the basement of an unknown building in a back alley that nobody
new existed. If a visitor does arrive there they are almost certainly
lost and looking for a way back to the street.

A web site must be destination driven.

What does this mean? In simple terms it means that people must
want to visit your site and not simply stumble upon it. The first time
visitor requires a significant effort in advertising, promoting,
strategic alliances and everything else that is common to making a
business successful. You can actually assign these visitors a cost by
dividing your advertising and promotion expenses by the number of
new visitors you get.

Once you have 'paid' for your new visitor, you must find every
reason you can to make them want to return. To do this your site
must be 'fresh'. It must contain relevant up to date, constantly
changing content. The visitor must want to return expecting to find
something new.

What can you do to make your web site "fresh". Many of the
specifics will vary depending upon the type of product or service you
are offering.

One thing every Web Manager should do is to post updates for the
web pages at least once a month. Use the opportunity to fine-tune
your Meta Tags and contents with the intent of improving your
search engine rankings. Use a good Visitor Analysis application to
determine what is or is not working about your site. See our article
at: issue 8 for more info on Site Analysis.

Although frequent updates are a good method for maintaining the
'freshness' of your site with the search engines, they will not by
themselves make your site a 'A Dynamic Frequent Destination'. To
do that, your site must also be 'fresh' for your visitors. This means
frequent updates to your web site's content.

Frequently changing your site's content can be problematic. For one
thing, simply changing the look, feel and logic on your web site will
not give anyone a reason to return. It could actually cause problems
for your frequent visitors that have already learned your layout
scheme. In addition, web design is a labor-intensive process.
Frequent updates can be expensive and infringe on the time you need
for your other daily business activities. High cost and lack of time are
the primary reasons a web site will become stale.

There are other options. The effort required in setting these up may
vary depending upon the purpose of your site. A little effort up front
however, may produce some significant returns in the future. Better
still, once set up they may require little or no additional effort to

For example, last week I discussed a hypothetical on-line wine store
and the value of getting their visitors to return frequently. What could
they do to encourage the visitors to return?

For one, they can offer frequent promotions on different selections of
wine. Maybe they could offer a 'Pick of the Week' that they sell at
cost. This is a pretty standard retail technique that will also work on a
web site that sells this type of commodity.

Another possibility that will work for a wider range of products and
services is to include constantly updated articles on topics of
particular interest to your demographic. For our wine merchant, this
may be a weekly article on wine tasting, on harvest news, discoveries
of cases of wine from sunken treasure ships and so on.

Where do you get these articles? Writing them is no trivial task and
simply taking them will infringe on copyright laws. Fortunately,
Internet innovation provides the solution here too in the form of
daily, weekly and monthly online periodicals and newsletters such as
this one. You may find that the copyright owner will be more than
happy to grant republishing permission either for a small fee or in
many cases for free.

If you cannot find a publication to approach directly, you can look at
a re-distributor or syndicator of published content. This newsletter
for example is about to be syndicated by iSyndicate. In addition to
these articles they include hourly, daily, weekly and monthly news
feeds from all the major publications on just about every topic
imaginable. You are bound to find one that will fit with your content.
See below.

Another form of dynamic content is to add a Bulletin Board to your
site. This will not be appropriate for all sites and will require a
significant amount of effort to set up. If you can establish yourself as
a destination for your visitors to communicate with each other, then a
Bulletin Board can be a great generator of traffic.

Finally, constantly updated link lists to relevant sites with comments
and recommendations may be appropriate for some sites. These are
the equivalent of highly targeted pre qualified search lists. They are
quick to set up but will require a greater effort to maintain.

Over the next few weeks I will look at some of these options in more

You may freely add links on your site to the latest articles from this
newsletter. Each article at these URL's will be updated every
Web Promotion:
Web Design:
IMS Tip:

To find a syndicated article on almost any topic try iSyndicate.

"IMS Web Tips" ISSN 1488-7088
© Copyright 2001 Virtual Mechanics

"IMS Web Tips" is a weekly news letter for all web site managers regardless of experience who are looking for detailed information on creating, maintaining and promoting their web sites.

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