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 Rooms.

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 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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