Web Site Management: Guestbooks

Dec 7 22:00 2001 Richard Lowe Print This Article

Have you ever visited a web site, liked what you saw and wanted to leave aquick note to the ... to let him know your ... Did you find agreat website which ... you for hours, and yo

Have you ever visited a web site,Guest Posting liked what you saw and wanted to leave a
quick note to the webmaster to let him know your feelings? Did you find a
great website which entertained you for hours, and you felt like you had to
let the person who created it know? Or did you spend the entire afternoon
reading someone's wonderful content, which was so great that you just had to
tell him what you thought?

If so, I'll bet you've looked for the guestbook, which is the traditional
place to communicate those thoughts. I don't know who started the concept of
the guestbook on web sites, but it's a great idea. It is a quick and easy
way for your visitors to leave a little comment (and sometimes a
not-so-little comment) about your site.

Have you ever been to a site which elicited these feelings only to find
there was no guestbook? If you are anything like me, you felt a little
disoriented, perhaps even a bit angry. You just wanted to let someone know
they did something good, and they have not given you a way to do so.

Some webmasters will tell you that guestbooks are not important. Others will
claim they are a waste of time and effort. I've even heard some say the
"real estate (space)" on the page would be better put to use promoting a
product or something. These comments make me feel a little sad, as these
webmasters prove by their comments that they don't really understand the
internet or the web.

You see, the internet is not about making tons of money (although making
tons of money would be great). It's not about awesome storefronts,
pay-to-surf programs or even the newest technology. The internet is not
about these things.

What the internet is about is communication. Purely and simply, the purpose
of the internet is to communicate. This morning, when I had to refill a
prescription I jumped onto my favorite prescription web site and punched in
my renewal instructions ... that's communication. Later in the day, I
researched some products ... that's communication. Tonight, I may even make
a purchase from my favorite shopping site ... and that's also communication.

Those webmasters who make it easy for their visitors to communicate will
find their sites prosper by whatever measure they deem important.
Conversely, webmasters who impede communications will find their sites are
not nearly as successful as they could be.

How does a guestbook fit into this? It gives your visitors not only a
standard, globally understood way to communicate with the webmaster, but it
also gives them a way to communicate with all of the visitors to the web
site. Your visitors can stop for a minute to congratulate you on your good
works ... in public for all to see. This is communication at it's best.

A good guestbook script has the following features:

- It must be very configurable, so that the webmaster can leave plenty of
things for his visitors to communicate.

- A good guestbook always sends an acknowledgement back to the person who
signed (assuming he left his email address).

- The best scripts also send an email to the webmaster so he knows someone
signed.

- A guestbook absolutely must be moderated. Any guestbook which does not
allow for moderation must be discarded.

- The better scripts will filter out curse words.

When you design your site, you should include an easily found link to the
guestbook on every single page. Believe me, if your visitors want to say
something good about your site you should make it easy for them to do so.
The link can be anywhere ... just be sure to place it in the same location
on every page.

Once a guestbook has been selected and installed, it must be maintained.
This is where the game gets a little interesting. Here's what happens.

1) Someone visits your site, likes what he sees and navigates to your
guestbook. He writes a comment and submits his entry.

2) Your guestbook script should send him an acknowledgement (assuming he
included his email address). The acknowledgement must not be a blatant
advertisement for your affiliate programs or products. It's purpose is to
thank your visitors for their comments and to remind them to return to your
site. You can also let them know of other features of your site that they
may find of interest.

3) NEVER send more than one email to your visitor from a guestbook signing.
One email is polite. More than one email is spam. The only exception to this
is when the visitor specifically asks you a question or asks for your
response.

4) NEVER add your visitor's email to your mailing list because he signed
your guestbook. This is spam.

5) Your script should also send you an email so that you know someone has
signed. Read the message and determine if it is appropriate for your site.
If so, add the message. If not, delete it.

You should moderate your guestbook, as you want to be sure that only
comments that are appropriate end up being made public. This is a very
critical part of guestbook maintenance. Guestbooks are intended to
positively reinforce your work - not tear it down. You can feel free to
delete any and all negative messages.

Another type of message that I usually delete immediately is the pure
advertisement. Guestbooks can provide links back to sites, but that is not
their primary purpose. Leave advertisements to classified and free-for-all
link pages.

I would be very cautious about making any changes to anything in a
guestbook. This is a place for visitors to post comments (generally positive
ones) about your site and it's contents ... it is not your editorial page.

Properly used, a guestbook is a useful and easy way to enhance your site and
make it more friendly to your visitors. These scripts give your visitors a
way to publicly post positive comments about your works for the world to
see. That in itself can be very useful and helpful.

Source: Free Guest Posting Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

About Article Author

Richard Lowe
Richard Lowe

Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets. This
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