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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Engaging Your Visitors and Keeping Your Content Fresh

One of the best ways for any site to keep their target audience as repeat visitors is to keep the content on the site fresh and updated. Whether your site is strictly informational or meant to be a portal where visitors take part in action items on the site, without updated, fresh, new, and interesting content, eventually your audience is going to get bored and click away, or they will find the information they are seeking elsewhere. Here are a few suggestions to keep people coming back.

  • Start a blog. Starting a blog is a great way to add new content to a site that is mostly information or to a brochure-type site. Blogging about happenings in your industry, new events, or happenings in your company can add a human touch to your site as well as keep people informed with up-to-date news and information. One basic good practice to follow is to set a schedule for blogging and keep to it.
  • Add a news and press release section to your site, and offer it as a news feed. Find sites in your target topic that accept news feeds to aggregate. It can be a great way to drive traffic to your site.
  • Add your Twitter and other social networking streams to your site. Create profiles for your Web site/business to further your exposure on social networking sites such as Facebook.
  • Offer special deals, coupons, and discounts to your Web visitors. Make sure to keep any coupons or deals up to date. Nothing will annoy a Web visitor more than downloading a coupon or deal only to realize that it has already expired.
  • Add a mailing list. A number of mailing lists work with Joomla!, and there are many third-party mailing lists that you can integrate with your Joomla! site. Please don't spam people. Utilize a legitimate mailing list of people who want to get your e-mails. It is extremely important that you keep your site from getting blacklisted as a spam site. As your mailing list grows, it becomes essential that you use mailing list applications that do effective throttling (limiting the number of e-mails sent in one blast) both to avoid spam labeling and to ensure that you do not run into mail capacity limitations that your host may have in place. Your host should have a policy regarding e-mail that is sent through their servers as part of their terms of service.
  • Add questionnaires, polls, or surveys to engage your audience, and report the results.
  • Add commenting. Allow your visitors to comment on your content, blog, polls, and so on. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing. It is a good way to engage your visitors, but commenting systems do not monitor themselves, so you will have to monitor your site and monitor your visitor's comments. Assess whether the time spent having to manage a commenting system versus the value of the comments to see whether it is an option that works for you. A number of comments extensions are available in the JED.
  • Add a discussion forum. A forum can be a great way to interact with your visitors or customers/clientele. As with commenting, a forum does not monitor itself; you will have to spend time monitoring your forum and should carefully weigh the benefits versus the time spent on monitoring.

All of these ideas can be integrated into your site to make it more active and attractive to visitors. What is not suggested is to do all of them at once. Find the avenue of engagement that suits your visitors and your brand and time limitations. It really is better to do one thing well than to do five to ten things in a less than stellar manner.

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