Free Stuff: Message Boards

Written by Richard Lowe

One ofrepparttar more significant ways to create a "sticky site" (a site which people want to visit over and over again) is to add a message board. What is a message board? It is a means whereby online group conversations can take place. For example, you could post a question, several people could post answers, and other people could expand upon those answers. On an active message board, these conversations can go on for pages.

Okay, so let's say you want to add a message board to your site. You have several options.

- You may want to use a service such as egroups, topica or communityzero because these offer additional features which wrap a sort of community around a message board.

- If your host does not allow you to install your own scripts (and this is true of virtually all free hosts) then you must use a remotely hosted message board.

- If your host supports user written CGI routines, than you can install a script to run on your own web site. This isrepparttar 113277 best way, in my humble opinion, to operate a message board as it gives you total control over everything, includingrepparttar 113278 board layout and contents.

We will explore each of these options below.


There are quite a few community-type message boards out there. The advantage of these services is that you get quite a few other things to offer your visitors. These generally include calendars, chat rooms, file sharing, lists of links, note boards and so on.

Onrepparttar 113279 downside, these services do not integrate well into your web site. They are very detached and have a far different look and feel. In addition, they do not tend to drive traffic to your site (since they are part part of your site) and thus are not very good at adding "stickiness".

These type of message boards are great when your primary purpose is to host a, well, community and your web site is secondary.

Communityzero In my opinion, this isrepparttar 113280 best ofrepparttar 113281 community-type message boards onrepparttar 113282 internet. I've foundrepparttar 113283 servers to be quick and responsive, and downtime seems to be virtually non-existent. Highly recommended.

Egroups Egroups was purchased by Yahoo several years ago. The service is one ofrepparttar 113284 largest (if notrepparttar 113285 largest) of it's type. Egroups has just about every feature you can imagine and it has become very popular. However, their servers are down so often and response time is so poor it's difficult to imagine how they remain in business. Usable but with some issues now and then.

Topica Topica is an up-and-coming service and it is very good. It has all ofrepparttar 113286 usual features, butrepparttar 113287 servers sometimes seem slow. Recommended.

User Installed Scripts

This is, in my opinion,repparttar 113288 best way to create a message board as it allows you to have complete control over your board. When you use a script, you do not have any banners or advertisements to entice your hard earned visitors to go elsewhere (unless, of course, you put them there yourself).

The main disadvantages of these scripts are:

- Since it is hosted on your own web site, any activity counts against your bandwidth and disk space limits.

- You must maintainrepparttar 113289 script on your site yourself, which can be a chore.

Discus This isrepparttar 113290 script which I use, and I must say that I am very happy with it's performance so far. The script is easy to install because it has been entirely automated. Just answerrepparttar 113291 questions and followrepparttar 113292 instructions - very simple and straightforward.

Are Internet Freebies On The Way Out?

Written by Robert Taylor

We have ridden a long wave of Internet freebies. Free ISPs, free e-books, free ezines, free email accounts, free software programs; you name it, and it has been onrepparttar Internet as some type of freebie.

We have all taken advantage of these freebies, some of us more than others. Many of these came with a small price tag such as providing your email address or other personal information and/or agreeing to accept a certain amount of advertising in exchange forrepparttar 113276 freebie.

Some freebies were not worthrepparttar 113277 time it took to download and install them, and others were literally worth their weight in gold. Some of us went into a freebie frenzy, downloading everything that we found for free. We wound up with so many ebooks and programs we didn't have time to read or use them and they wound up simply taking space on our computers.

More and more Internet businesses are finding it fruitless to give away freebies which do not produce buying customers. Making a profit isrepparttar 113278 bottom line for any business. Where there is no profit motive it is a hobby and not a business.

Recent events indicate a strong movement toward less freebies. The search engines are a leading indicator. Some ofrepparttar 113279 largest search engines have gone from free to paid listings. There is a growing trend of ezine publishers switching to a paid subscription model fromrepparttar 113280 old free model. Other ezines which provided valuable information and services have simply stopped publishing.

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