Fresh website content for your visitors can be of real benefit when attempting to generate repeat traffic. Most webmasters, however, just don’t have enough spare time to frequently update or rebuild their pages manually. If your web site hosting company provides free access to PHP and MySQL, this article will show you how to combine those two open source tools and replace a portion of your websites’ static content with frequently changing dynamic content.
Why do you need dynamic content for your website?
Static pages on a website eventually become “stale” and visitor traffic can fall significantly over time. The drop in traffic can be attributed to these primary factors:
1) The reluctance of search engines to include and display your potentially “out of date” pages in their search results,
2) The finite number of other subject related websites that would be willing to link to your information on a specific topic, and
3) Visitors that learn to view your static website with a “been there, done that” attitude.
Creating and maintaining a web site requires a significant investment in time and resources. Loosing repeat visitors diminishes value of your investment. Without repeat traffic it is virtually impossible for a website to be a continuing success.
How can you add dynamic content without having to purchase expensive software?
One proven (and easy to implement) method of creating dynamic content for your website is by rotating information on key, higher traffic web pages using PHP with a MySQL database. Rotating content can take form of a series of rotating articles, a rotating group of product listings, or even a simple “thought for day”. What is important is that your clients and visiting search engines find new and interesting information each time they visit your website.
As an example of dynamic content creation, we will build a system that rotates information about a group of products on main page of a hypothetical retail sales web site that markets widgets. Our goal is to present information about a different type or model of widget available for purchase whenever a consumer visits shopping web site.
Step One: Create a content table to hold your widget data.
There are a couple of options for storing data to be displayed in your dynamic content rotation. The first option would be to create a new database, or perhaps simply add a table in an existing product database that will hold information that you wish to display.
Let’s take five theoretical widget products and design a table as follows:
+------+-----------------------+ | item | product | +------+-----------------------+ | 1 | Plastic Widgets | | 2 | Metal Widgets | | 3 | Wooden Widgets | | 4 | Rubber Widgets | | 5 | Stone Widgets | +------+-----------------------+
1-a) Create your table with following SQL statement:
CREATE TABLE `content_table` ( `item` int(4) NOT NULL auto_increment, `product` varchar(10) NOT NULL default '', KEY `item` (`item`) ) TYPE=MyISAM AUTO_INCREMENT=6 ;
This table contains two fields. The first is an item number and second is a description field that will hold product name and features. Note: You can add fields to your actual table including: an image URL field, shopping cart direct purchase URL field, product page filed, etc.
1-b) Insert example data into your new table as follows:
INSERT INTO `content_table ` VALUES (1, ' Plastic Widgets'); INSERT INTO `content_table ` VALUES (2, ' Metal Widgets'); INSERT INTO `content_table ` VALUES (3, ' Wooden Widgets'); INSERT INTO `content_table ` VALUES (4, ' Rubber Widgets'); INSERT INTO `content_table ` VALUES (5, ' Stone Widgets');