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Transforming a site from good to excellent

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  • richlowe@pacbell.net
    Copyright (C) Richard Lowe Jr. and Claudia Arevalo-Lowe, 1999-2001. Permission is granted to reprint the following article as long as no changes are made and
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 31, 2001
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      Copyright (C) Richard Lowe Jr. and Claudia Arevalo-Lowe, 1999-2001.
      Permission is granted to reprint the following article as long as no
      changes are made and the byline, copyright information, and the
      resource box is included. Please let me know if you use this article
      by sending an email to articles@...

      Article Title: Transforming a site from good to excellent
      Author: Richard Lowe, Jr.
      Contact Author: articles@...
      Publishing Guidelines: May be freely published w/bylines
      Web Address: http://www.internet-tips.net
      Autoresponder Address: article-054@...

      One of the challenges of moving a web site up from good to excellent
      is transforming it from just a bunch of web pages and graphics to an
      interactive experience. Another term for this is community - a place
      where people can come to communicate with others. The very best web
      sites have mastered this transformation, thus attracting return
      visitors again and again.

      The whole point of a web site is to communicate ideas and concepts to
      other people. If you are just putting up pages and graphics, then you
      are performing half of a communication. You are telling people what
      you think, want, desire or need.

      The other half of communication is listening. That's why merely
      adding an email form (or link) and a guestbook go a long way to
      improve your visitor's experience with your web site. You are giving
      them the opportunity to tell you what's on their mind. If you also
      take the time to answer their messages and perhaps even get involved
      in an online communication - then you may very well have a friend for
      life.

      You can add even more value (and get a few more visitors as well) by
      adding a "tell-a-friend" capability to your site. This adds a third
      and very interesting (although seemingly trivial) element to your
      site: the ability to add others to the communication.

      Look at it this way. Someone surfed to your site and actually found
      something that was interesting. That's actually not an incredibly
      common occurrence on the internet (consider how many stupid, boring
      or just plain silly sites you've visited). Okay, they've found
      something interesting, perhaps very interesting, and they want to
      tell someone. You would be very wise to give them this capability.
      This is not just because it gains you another visitor, but it makes
      people feel better. Why? Because people like to share good
      experiences with each other.

      You want to increase the ante? Include a message board! Now you've
      added another form of conversation to your website. People can jump
      on your board and leave messages for each other, answer questions and
      generally have discussions about whatever subject appeals to you.
      Some advice about message boards: be sure and actively moderate the
      board. Why? Some unscrupulous people have a tendency to leave
      advertisements, pornography, curses and flames on message boards.
      Unless that's what your board is about, none of this serves your
      purpose: to get people to talk about your subject and come back to
      your website.

      Another good reason to moderate the board is it puts you in control,
      which is where you should be. It's your board and naturally
      conversations should be about subjects in which you are interested.
      The purpose of the board is to improve your site and your visitor
      experience - not ruin their good time.

      Another great interactive feature which is not so obvious is running
      an awards program. What this accomplishes is simple: you are inviting
      people to submit their sites to you for review. By giving them the
      opportunity to apply for the award you are increasing the value of
      your site to them, and improving your chances of getting them back
      for more.

      Perhaps one of the very best interactive features is hosting your own
      custom made e-cards. These are extremely popular and greatly improve
      your visitors experience on your site. Better yet, they give your
      visitors an opportunity to communicate (by sending cards) with their
      friends - and their friends may visit your site also.

      Other features which increase your site's desirability even more is
      polls and surveys, interactive stories (to see our own interactive
      story, visit http://www.internet-tips.net/cgi-bin/story/story.pl -
      and add your own chapter), ezines and even chat rooms.

      By adding these and other features, you are increasing your value to
      people who visit your site. If there is one thing that people like to
      do (and must do to survive well) it's communicate. By giving people
      many different ways to communicate, you are making it more likely
      that they will visit your site, stick around, and recommend it to
      their friends.


      NOTE: The following information must be included if you reprint this
      article:
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets. This
      website includes over 1,000 free articles to improve your internet
      profits, enjoyment and knowledge.
      Web Site Address: http://www.internet-tips.net
      Weekly newsletter: http://www.internet-tips.net/joinlist.htm
      Daily Tips: internet-tips@...

      Claudia Arevalo-Lowe is the webmistress of Internet Tips And Secrets
      and Surviving Asthma. Visit her site at http://survivingasthma.com

      List of articles available for reprint: article-list@...
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