Have you ever visited a web site, liked what you saw and wanted to leave a quick note to webmaster to let him know your feelings? Did you find a great website which entertained you for hours, and you felt like you had to let person who created it know? Or did you spend entire afternoon reading someone's wonderful content, which was so great that you just had to tell him what you thought?
If so, I'll bet you've looked for guestbook, which is traditional place to communicate those thoughts. I don't know who started concept of guestbook on web sites, but it's a great idea. It is a quick and easy way for your visitors to leave a little comment (and sometimes a not-so-little comment) about your site.
Have you ever been to a site which elicited these feelings only to find there was no guestbook? If you are anything like me, you felt a little disoriented, perhaps even a bit angry. You just wanted to let someone know they did something good, and they have not given you a way to do so.
Some webmasters will tell you that guestbooks are not important. Others will claim they are a waste of time and effort. I've even heard some say "real estate (space)" on page would be better put to use promoting a product or something. These comments make me feel a little sad, as these webmasters prove by their comments that they don't really understand internet or web.
You see, internet is not about making tons of money (although making tons of money would be great). It's not about awesome storefronts, pay-to-surf programs or even newest technology. The internet is not about these things.
What internet is about is communication. Purely and simply, purpose of internet is to communicate. This morning, when I had to refill a prescription I jumped onto my favorite prescription web site and punched in my renewal instructions ... that's communication. Later in day, I researched some products ... that's communication. Tonight, I may even make a purchase from my favorite shopping site ... and that's also communication.
Those webmasters who make it easy for their visitors to communicate will find their sites prosper by whatever measure they deem important. Conversely, webmasters who impede communications will find their sites are not nearly as successful as they could be.
How does a guestbook fit into this? It gives your visitors not only a standard, globally understood way to communicate with webmaster, but it also gives them a way to communicate with all of visitors to web site. Your visitors can stop for a minute to congratulate you on your good works ... in public for all to see. This is communication at it's best.
A good guestbook script has following features:
- It must be very configurable, so that webmaster can leave plenty of things for his visitors to communicate.
- A good guestbook always sends an acknowledgement back to person who signed (assuming he left his email address).