Promoting your site: Syndicated Content

In the past I have talked about the value of adding Dynamic
content to your site in order to get your visitors to return.
Dynamic content by its nature means that new information is
constantly being added and revised. For the majority of
overworked and understaffed web managers this can appear to
present a problem. Fortunately, there are several forms of
dynamic content that will require a minimum amount of effort
to add and maintain.

One of the easiest and least demanding forms of dynamic
content you can add to your web site are Syndicated news
articles and periodicals on topics appropriate to the content
on your site. Since your web site presumably offers a
specific product or service, you are in a unique position to
gather information from many different sources and organize
it in a way that is easy for your visitors to find. Even
though these articles may be available elsewhere, they could
require a significant effort for your visitors to find. If
your web site has it already organized, then it becomes a
huge convenience for your visitors and worth their effort to
bookmark your site.

Where do you get syndicated content, how do you use it and
how much will it cost?

The first place to look is at articles and periodicals that
you may already be subscribed to. Many publishers already
have a web site with their latest articles posted. You do not
need permission to include a link from your web site to any
of these posted articles. If a page contains articles that
are updated periodically, great, just post a link on your web
site with a brief description.

Be careful that you do not infringe upon the copyright
requirements. Whereas you can place a link to any
without permission, you cannot copy the contents of someone
else's web site to your own. The article itself is
copyrighted as may be the description if it contains original

If you do decide to place a link, check that it will remain
valid and updated as each new article is published. In all
likelihood it will since the page was probably created for
just this reason.

Although a simple link is easy to add to a web site, it does
have several limitations. These include the fact that it does
not display a headline which would make the topic of the
article clear. You can of course manually change the headline
yourself but this will demand a greater effort on your part
and will almost certainly create instances where the link and
headline do not match. Another possible problem includes the
fact that once selected; your visitor will have left your
site, possibly not to return until your next update.

The latter problem is relatively easy to fix. Simply open the
article in a separate window. For example, if you include
Target="resource window" in your HTML link code then the
article page will be opened in a separate window.

Web Design Tip


The Headline problem raises several other issues.  For
example, the reason many copyright owners encourage you to
put links to their articles is because they include
advertising. This is a reasonable thing for them to do but it
may not always be appropriate for your purposes.

If you have a very high traffic site, placing advertising on
it may be a major source of income for you. In this case it
may be worth your while to purchase the rights to post the
articles directly on your site.

You can contact the publishers directly or you can try a
syndicator of online content. The only one I am currently
aware of is iSyndicate. For a fee they will allow you to republish
articles from many different sources including many of the
major magazines.

In addition to purchasing re-publishing rights they can
provide you with free news feeds that will automatically
update your links and headlines.  This is great for sites
that cannot justify the cost of purchasing articles but still
wish to include the dynamic content. The articles from this
newsletter are republished by iSyndicate with an appropriate
headline. You can see how it works by looking at the Headline
section at Virtual Mechanics.

Whatever route you decide to take, including articles from
appropriate publications is a great way to add dynamic
content to your site. It is not however, your only option and
is only one requirement in giving your visitors a reason to

Next week, more dynamic content

"IMS Web Tips" ISSN 1488-7088
© Copyright 2000 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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