Cookies: How to Improve Your Website and Learn From Your Visitors

Written by Steve Nash

Question: How can you improve your visitor's experience of your website AND atrepparttar same time learn how to improve your website (or learn how to increase sales)?

Answer: cookies

Cookies? Yes. Let me explain...


A "cookie" is simply a small piece of text information which a web server stores temporarily with your web visitor's browser. (Note: cookies are *not* programs.) This means your visitor's browser remembers some specific information whichrepparttar 131982 web server can later retrieve.

So cookies simply allow your site to store information on your visitor's computer for later retrieval.

A basic example of a cookie in action can be found here -

Another example isrepparttar 131983 "online shopping mall" that uses cookies to add items to a user's "shopping cart" as they browse. And I use cookies on my own website to make sure a pop-up window loads ONCE ONLY ( ).


Basically, cookies allow you to improve a site visitor's experience of your website. I've listed a few examples to show how this can be achieved: * Cookies can store visitor preferences. This means you can present customised information to your visitor, as per their own requirements. (This is how portal sites like MSN work.)

* Cookies can pre-fill form fields for your visitor.

* Cookies can automatically login visitors to your site

* Cookies can provide visitor statistics and therefore help you understand your visitor's needs. Cookies can provide site metrics like unique visitors, average number of page-views, percentage of repeat visitors et cetera. And cookie-generated statistics are much more accurate than using log files.

(Do remember though, that people sometimes share computers; some browsers are set to reject cookies; and cookies can be erased.)

So not only are cookies an efficient way of keeping track of information, they also help personalise your site visitor's experience of your site.

And that'srepparttar 131984 point with cookies - how can *you* help your site visitor? (No, it doesn't mean how can you invade your visitor's privacy! The use of cookies can be abused by site owners, but this ultimately leads to cookie-blocking software being installed and used; so set your cookies cautiously!)

Fair Use

Written by Richard Lowe

Important: This article contains opinions and information about copyright law. Keep in mind that I am not a lawyer and have not been a lawyer in any past life that I am aware of. If you have specific questions about copyright law you should contactrepparttar appropriate legal resources.

Think about it for a minute. If no on could ever make a copy of anything withoutrepparttar 131980 copyright owner's permission, then commentary, critical articles, news reporting, research papers and education would be much more difficult. It would be much more difficult, for example, to write a book report without including a quote or two fromrepparttar 131981 author. It would be even more difficult to write a thesis, term paper or research article without including quotes from dozens or even hundreds of sources.

Let's say you were writing an article on copyright and you needed to illustrate a point. You could write your own words (and you should), but you would have a much more powerful article if you included some quotes from reputable sources. It makes it appear that you have done your research and gives you additional authority that you might not otherwise be granted.

In fact, it would be downright silly to require people to get permission to make quotes of this nature. Imagine how difficult it would be if you were writing a term paper which included references from a hundred difficult sources. You would have to track down each author and ask permission. Many timesrepparttar 131982 author has given uprepparttar 131983 copyright to some other entity, so you would have to do further research on who really ownsrepparttar 131984 copyrights. This could conceivably require more time than writingrepparttar 131985 paper itself!

To enable you to include quotes of other author's works, an exemption torepparttar 131986 United States copyright law was created. This allows for "commentary, parody, news reporting, research and education about copyrighted works withoutrepparttar 131987 permission ofrepparttar 131988 author (from "10 Big Myths about copyright explained", just to illustrate how this works).

So how does this work? Well, some ofrepparttar 131989 more important considerations are:

- Your intent in copyingrepparttar 131990 work - How much ofrepparttar 131991 work was copied - As well as any damage torepparttar 131992 commercial value ofrepparttar 131993 work.

So, for example, if you were writing an article aboutrepparttar 131994 quality ofrepparttar 131995 movie "The Mummy Returns", you could use brief quotes fromrepparttar 131996 film to illustrate your point. However, if you includedrepparttar 131997 entire script on your web site, well, that would be a copyright violation.

In general, it is a good idea to include a reference torepparttar 131998 original source material. This serves many purposes, one ofrepparttar 131999 most important being simple common courtesy (in fact, I often like to letrepparttar 132000 author know I have borrowed some of his words). It also makes it clear that you have invoked fair use, and it gives your readers a source for additional information. Just as important, you improve your own credibility by showing you have done your research and you are not afraid to allow others to see how you came to your conclusions.

To further illustrate,repparttar 132001 following would most likely be covered under fair use:

- Including brief quotes from published papers for your research papers.

- Writing an article on your web site aboutrepparttar 132002 Simpsons and including a WAV file quoting Homer. Perhaps something like "Homer's 'Doh' has become famousrepparttar 132003 world over", with a hyperlink to a WAV file forrepparttar 132004 "Doh".

- Criticizing a book and including a few quotes to illustrate your point.

- Criticizing a book and including quotes from other critics to reinforce your point.

The following would most likely be considered copyright violations:

- Including, without permission, several pages of material from another research paper.

Cont'd on page 2 ==> © 2005
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