Adding Interactive Services

Having static web pages that you have created allows you to tell others about a topic (or topics) that interest you but it doesn't allow for your visitors to have any real interaction with you and your site. The blogs and groups that we looked at earlier allowed for interaction but did not allow you to have as much freedom in how you laid out the information on your pages.

The good news is that there is nothing to stop you having a blog and or group along with the static web pages that you have created. All that you need to do is to add a link from the home page on your web site to your blog and or group and (if possible) a link from the blog or group back to your web site. It doesn't matter that they are hosted in different places and have completely different appearances, these are personal pages that we are looking at here so the same rules don't apply as apply to commercial web sites.

We are not limited to adding blogs and groups to our personal web site either. We can also add a guestbook, one or more forums, and numerous other interactive features to the site simply by signing up with a third party service provider that provides such services and then linking from your site to those services. If you decided to use the free web hosting at Bravenet then you don't even need to go hunting elsewhere for such services as Bravenet provide many such services that you can incorporate into your site. Your site doesn't even need to be hosted at Bravenet to use the Bravenet services as they are freely available to use with any web hosting that you might have.

Of course Bravenet is not the only place where you can obtain such services (it just happens to be the one that I found when I was looking for those features myself). A search on Google or any other search engine should soon turn up a list of interactive service providers whose services can be incorporated into your site simply by linking to them. You want to be sure though that the provider hosts the service and that it is not code being provided to be installed on your site since free web hosting usually doesn't provide the ability to install the server side scripting and databases that such code requires.

Providing the means for visitors to interact with your site provides you with feedback about who is visiting your site as well as giving your visitors a reason to return to your site at a later date since even if you haven't made any changes someone else may have posted a comment.

Again as with the "free" blogs, groups, and hosting you will find that third party interactive services are paid for through the advertising that is displayed so it is a matter of deciding whether the type and amount of advertising is worth it given the features offered by the service.

Many interactive services provide you with ways to customize your service. The amount of customization that you can perform will vary between services but you should be able to get most services to have at least the same general appearance as the static pages on your web site so as to make it slightly more obvious to your visitors that despite the pages being provided from different domains that the pages are all a part of your site.


This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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