Aardvark Daily aardvark (ard'-vark) a controversial animal with a long probing nose used for sniffing out the facts and stimulating thought and discussion.

NZ's leading source of Net-Industry news and commentary since 1995
Australasia's "New Economy" News And Commentary Site
Today's Headlines | Contact | New Sites | Press Bin | Job Centre | News Search
Breaking News:
NZ's Newest Free ISP Suspends Operations

New Zealand's newest free ISP, Splash Net, which opened for business just a few days ago has been forced to stop its operations after inadvertantly infringing a trademark.


Buy New Zealand For $7 Million 21 July 2000 Edition
Previous Edition

Believe it or not, if you've got a spare US$7,000,000 then you can buy New Zealand!

No, not the entire country -- just the domain newzealand.com.

If you want to score this amazing bargain (NOT!) then just enter your bid 4 on this page.


Marketing Your Website
Okay, after reading yesterday's instalment you should have a list of the things that identify the type of visitors you might want to attract to your site -- but we're not quite finished in that department yet.

Before you start driving traffic to your website you need to be absolutely sure that you're prepared to handle all those inquiring souls.

There is little point in driving a huge wave of eyeballs to your web pages if you haven't got your site designed and built to capitalise on that traffic.

While it's easy to assume that your website is absolutely wonderful and ready to do all that's asked of it -- you must assume nothing! If you're running a commercial site then it is absolutely essential that you commission an independent site survey and audit to find any problems or suggest improvements.

If you're just putting up a personal homepage or a hobby site then have your friends scrutinise it with a critical eye. It's better to find out all that's wrong with your layout, HTML coding and design before you start driving lots of traffic. Remember -- you only get one chance to make a good impression and if your site doesn't perform, people won't come back.

And speaking of bringing visitors back... if you want to grow the traffic to your site -- as opposed to simply increase the numbers, then you must include some clever mechanisms to keep people coming back.

Here are a few:

  • An emailed reminder -- yes, invite people to leave their email address and offer to send them a short message advising them when you've updated your site with something new and topical. How many times have you visited a website and thought "I must return again later" but never remembered? Is your bookmark list full of sites that you added months or years ago and now can't even remember why? IMPORTANT: please, please, please -- if you're going to build a mailing list to remind people, make absolutely sure that it's of the double opt-in type!

  • Remind users to bookmark your site -- okay, so I've just pointed out the obvious -- that bookmarks aren't always an effective method of ensuring that people revisit your site, but it sure doesn't hurt to remind people to add your URL to their bookmark list. And, surprisingly enough, the reports I've seen indicate that a simple "bookmark this page now" message significantly increases the chances that people will do just that.

  • Update your content regularly -- even if you don't have much to add, just add something, anything on as regular basis as possible. People generally aren't interested in reading the same stuff twice -- but make sure that there's always something new on your website and people will return.

  • Let others contribute -- if you're unable or unwilling to provide your own regular updates, consider adding a discussion area or soliciting material from your visitors. Be careful though, while discussion areas might sound like a nice, cheap, easy way to keep your site fresh, they can backfire and make it look like a dead-end if nobody participates. Also watch out for the idiots who consider it a challenge to leave rude, offensive or defamatory messages.

I can't emphasize enough the importance of preparing the destination (your website) before driving the traffic. Failure to do so could result in you wasting lots of time, effort and possibly even money. Believe it or not, there are several instances of companies advertising their websites on TV before the sites were even built -- and in at least one case here in NZ, before they'd even registered the domain name!

Continued next week...

Note: because this series is likely to be quite long, I'll be republishing the component parts on another site which will also then use all the techniques described as a practical example. The stats for that site will be on display so that visitors can gauge the effectiveness of what's being done.

As always, your feedback is welcomed.

NZL Sites
NZ Netguide
NZ Herald Tech
PC World NZ

AUS Sites
Fairfax IT
Australian IT
AFR Tech
AUS Netguide
NineMSN Tech
APC Magazine
Corporate IT

USA Sites
CNNfn Tech
Yahoo Tech
ZDNet Tech
USA Today Tech
7am.com SciTech

UK Sites
The Register
BBC SciTech

The Day's Top News
4 = open in new window
New Zealand

4  Chello merger will feed NZ offerings
The merger of the two broadband ISPs chello and Excite@Home underlines the value of the New Zealand network being built by Telstra Saturn, according to chello's regional head...

4  Telecom tests CDMA in Wellington
Telecom has been testing its forthcoming CDMA mobile network in central Wellington...

4  Sky City takes punt on web gambling company
Auckland's Sky City will spend nearly A$40 million buying up to a third of Australian-based online betting company Canbet...


4  Teen Hacking Idol Hits Big Apple
Jon Johansen, the 16-year-old Norwegian who wrote the program that cracked the supposedly uncrackable DVD encryption, finds himself near the center of the Hollywood vs. hackers trial...

4  Sony Streams Follow Suit
Spurred on by the America Online-Time Warner merger, the major music labels are finally joining the digital revolution. Sony borrows an idea from MP3.com in developing a streaming music service...

4  Are They Cybersquatters Or Cyberentrepreneurs?
With the $300 profit Russ Woodruff earned from selling the domain name "ihabit.com," he turned around and bought a rocking chair to sit in with his two-month-old daughter...

4  Movie, Music Industries Sue Ovitz' Scour.com
Trade groups representing the biggest movie studios, music publishers and recording companies on Thursday said they filed a copyright infringement suit against Internet company Scour.com, which is backed by Hollywood superagent Michael Ovitz...

4  New Microsoft Message Software Offers Free Calls
Microsoft Corp. on Thursday debuted a new version of its online messenger software beefed up with free long-distance Internet phone service that turns up the heat on messaging arch-rival America Online Inc...


4  IBM may face legal action unless Games website results run in braille
The blind activist who last year successfully campaigned for SOCOG to produce a braille versioni of the Olympic ticket book now says IBM could be guilty of discrimination...

4  4  Hansard reporter awarded $161,000
A HANSARD reporter has been given the largest award of damages in Australia for an equal opportunity complaint - after her employer failed to accommodate her need to telecommute....
Australian IT

4  Nothing but trouble for Namezero.com
The free domain name registration service is having trouble keeping up with demand following the collapse of a bulk processing deal with Melbourne IT...
News Wire


4  Microsoft Tests New Cookie Management Features
Microsoft Corp. said Thursday it plans to test new ``cookie'' management features for its Internet Explorer with the aim of helping users protect their privacy on the Internet....

4  Lawmaker complains about Internet porn filter in Dutch parliament
Technicians in the Dutch legislature have removed an Internet porn filter from Socialist Party computers after a lawmaker complained that it interfered with her research...
AP/Boston Globe

4  First look at Palm redesign
Palm will refresh the VII and add an entry-level product in August. Stylewise, this isn't your father's PDA -- check out our exclusive pictures...

4  EU puts brakes on spam
The European commission is considering regulating the use of spam and cookies on the Internet...