More dynamic content.

Last week I talked about adding syndicated articles to your web site.
By combining your products or services with articles of specific
interest to your visitors, you are creating a dynamic location that
will encourage your visitors to return.

Is it enough? What else may be appropriate?

It may be enough for some visitors but for many sites you may need
more. I have used a theoretical Internet Wine Merchant as an
example on several occasions. Wine is a consumable and a Wine
Merchant's customers will probably want to buy more wine at some
point in the near future. If the only difference between our
hypothetical web merchant and his competitors is a posted weekly
news article on "Reviews of this years best vintages", then our
Merchant may be in luck.

If you have a Pokemon site that does not change for many weeks or
months, then your visitors will probably loose interest even if you
have a newsletter. Sites that do not provide a consumable product
will need to give their visitors more reasons to return than a
newsletter that is probably available elsewhere.

So what else can be added? Possibly quite a lot. What is appropriate
for your site will depend upon your product or service and the
amount of time you have available to implement and support it.
Some of the content that can be added includes: Referral Lists,
Surveys, Discussion Lists, Bulletin Boards, Job Boards and Chat

Recommendations and Referrals

The nice thing about this category is that it does not require any
special code. Simply set up a list of books, web sites, products etc.
that you can recommend to your customers. In some instances you
can use this as a source of direct income. For example, if you feel
that a book is of special value then you could put a link to
Amazon.com. Care should be taken that it does not appear that you
are only interested in selling the book. If it does you will defeat the
purpose. Update often with reviews if possible.


You have probably seen these on some sites. Surveys for our Wine
Merchant and Pokemon sites may be:

Which Wine do you prefer with Pizza?
Oregon Pinot Noir
French Bordeaux
Italian Chianti
Australian Cabernet Sauvignon

Who is your favorite water type Pokemon?

Surveys like these can be posted quickly, changed frequently and
the results viewed by your visitors.

Discussion Lists:

A Discussion list enables people to discuss a topic of common
interest. They are a great place to find answers to problems, 'how to'
advise, notice of developments in your interest group or just general
discussion. A discussion list is usually managed via email and does
not actually reside on your site. Even so, moderating a discussion
list can increase your credibility and attract traffic via Subscription
info and archives.

Bulletin and Job Boards:

Bulletin and Job Board can generate a significant amount of repeat
traffic if you are in an appropriate industry. Jobs for Pokemon and
Winos may be few and far between but some professions are in high
demand. If you can establish yourself as an honest broker you could
easily attract a significant number of visitors interested in posting
questions on related topics or searching for employment and
employees. Setting up a Bulletin Board can be very effective but it
will demand a significant level of expertise and resources.

Not all these idea will be appropriate for every web site. They may
not fit with the sites primary motive, may require more technical
expertise than is available or may demand too much time and effort.

Whatever you do, be sure to do something. Old unchanging web
sites are only any good at loosing visitors.

See the previous article on "Web Page Resources" for a list of
possible sources of these services.

"IMS Web Tips" ISSN 1488-7088
© Copyright 1999 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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