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More 4 Free! 20 July 2000 Edition
Previous Edition

Yes, believe it or not, New Zealand has another free ISP!

Following hot on the heels of FreeNet, i4Free and ZFree, 4 Splash.net.nz has entered the fray.

Now all we need to do is wait for the inevitable "shake-out" that must occur when it is realised that the market is too small to support this many players.

When it comes to free Internet access, NZ Net users are now probably the luckiest in the world -- providing it's not broadband Net access you're after that is. Although even then we appear to be one of the few that has a reliable "satellite/terrestrial" hi-speed service for those inside and outside major urban centers -- by way of iHug's 4 ultra service.

Surf-on dudes!

Are Our Schools Net-Secure?
Is there a real security threat growing inside our under-funded secondary schools?

It has been suggested to Aardvark that as many as half of the nation's secondary schools may have insecure systems in which the administration computers are on the same network as those used in classrooms and connected to the Internet.

This may be due to a lack of networking skills or a lack of money -- but whatever the cause, if it's true then, given the growing level of computer-awareness and skills amongst pupils and script-kiddies, this may be something that will bite someone very soon.

Perhaps some member of the computer or Internet industry (maybe even ISOCNZ funded from the Domainz coffers) might want to sponsor a free security audit service that schools can call on to verify the safety of their networks?

Oh yeah... and don't forget, another security hole has been found in Microsoft's Outlook and Outlook express products. But then again, after what seems like the gazillionth instance of this it's not really news is it :-)

Marketing Your Website
As promised -- instalment one of how to build traffic to your website.

Before I launch into all the tricks, tips and secrets to building traffic, I think it worth pointing out some obvious caveats.

First ask yourself -- "why do I want more traffic?" The answers will be manifold, depending on what your website is and what you're trying to achieve.

Obviously if you've just got a personal home-page then it's probably a mix of ego and philanthropy. You want as many people as possible to see what you've done, and perhaps impart some of your own observations or knowledge to others who may share similar interests. In this case you probably don't really care much about the composition of the traffic that hits your site -- anyone will do.

If, however, you're running your website for commercial reasons, then you should be aware that you are probably only looking for a particular type of visitor. For example, if your site sells or promotes skate-boards then you'll be looking for people with an interest in that product. The 90-year-old granny who's looking for information on embroidery patterns but ends up at your site for whatever reason is not going to be of any value to you -- in fact she'll simply end up costing you money.

Enter the first "magic word" we need to consider when building traffic to a website: QUALIFY -- you must qualify your visitors to market your site effectively!

Whatever methods you use to drive traffic, you want to make sure that you're not wasting money, time or other resources in driving the wrong kind of visitor to your pages. At best you'll be achieving nothing, at worst it could see your site slowed down, or even halted by masses of visitors who will do nothing but load up the first page and then click the "back" button and bail out.

So, if you're going to be following this series of tips from start to finish then you should go away and write down on a piece of paper, the attributes that describe the type of visitor you want to attract. Age, sex, interests, country of residence, etc. Until you've defined all these things you can't start building effective pathways to your website.

continued tomorrow....

As always, your feedback is welcomed.

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4 = open in new window
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