If you really want people to be attracted to your web site time
after time, you need to add interactivity. This can be as simple
or as complicated as you want. It does not matter whether you
are a beginner, an intermediate webmaster or the most advanced
web designer around, you can add interactive elements to your
What is an interactive element? For the purposes of this
section, I am defining it as a way to cause the visitor to a web
site to interact with either other visitors or the webmaster.
Examples include email forms, chat scripts and games. You can
also add tools such as dictionary lookup boxes, weather reports
and code generators.
If you are a beginning webmaster, if you are creating a simple
homepage or if you do not have access to server-side scripting
(a method to cause the web server to do tasks for you), then
what you will need to do is find outside services to host your
interactive capabilities. These services can be bought (usually
for a minor fee) or will will be free and display ads.
The advantages of free services are that they are free,
relatively bullet-proof (usually) and generally straightforward
to use. The major disadvantage is that they must make money
indirectly through the use of advertisements. Sometimes this is
just a simple banner, and the more obnoxious services remove
your visitor totally from your website and plant them on theirs.
The other disadvantage is you tend to lose visitors by using
these free services, as it is their goal to get them to click on
an advertisement, not to get people to stay on your site.
All of these remotely hosted services (a service run off of a
web server that is not the same as yours) have a major flaw in
that they tend to slow down your web pages. Even something as
simple as displaying a button loaded from one of these services
can increase the load time of your page by seconds or even
minutes. You see, it depends on how loaded their server is - not
how much data is on your page.
So do keep in mind that by using outside services to perform
these functions (especially the free ones), you are (a)
increasing the chances that your visitors will go elsewhere, (b)
slowing down your website, and (c) reducing your customization
The ideal solution is to load your site on a host which allows
server-side scripting. These can include CGI (Perl, TCL, and
languages such as Visual Basic and C++) and more involved
solutions such as ASP, PHP and SSI. The difference between these
is that CGI is the creation of an external program which is
invoked by your web pages, while ASP, PHP and SSI involved
adding the scripts directly to your web pages. You can also use
Just because you want to use CGI does not mean that you need to
learn how to write your own scripts. There are plenty of scripts
that have been written by others which work perfectly well. Many
of these are very customizable and work very, very well. Just be
careful to get your scripts from a reputable source. I usually
start from cgi-resources, which has a very comprehensive
selection of all types of solutions. Note that many scripts are
free for private use ... sometimes free scripts may impose a fee
for commercial use.
So in conclusion, you can add interactive features to your web
site using outside, remotely hosted services or you can host the
scripts yourself. You also have the choice of writing your own
scripts or obtaining them from a script library. In any event,
all of these features will give your visitors a way to interact,
thus increasing the chances that they will recommend your site
and return themselves.
About the author:
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: