Last Updated: 4/6/06
For additional extras, see the traffic page.
Most web sites have guestbooks. There are a ton of free ones out there, just search. Bravenet and Site Gadgets both have them. Their links are on the bottom of this page.
You will want to read any new entries and delete inappropriate ones, ads, or repetitious ones. I suggest that you do not remove negative postings as long as they are not verbally offensive. This makes the guestbook more authentic instead of all praise.
A forum will allow your visitors to talk about relevant things. It also provides another web site that will be linking in and out of your main web site. It is easiest to do forums off site. I use Invision Free. If you search for "free forums," you will find millions of hits and possibilities.
Blogs are on-line diaries for one person, sort of like a forum for one. I incorporate any diary-type entries relevant to my web site into the pages that talk about that topic or in my newsletter. Blogs are more for teenagers. Keep in mind that sharing too much personal information is a security risk, especially for kids. Some web sites come with blogs. A few blog sites are My Space (more than just a blog) and Blogger but if you search for blogs, you will find a million hits (ok, Yahoo gave me 309 million hits!!).
Most web hosts now have built in counters and web traffic information about your site. Normally, only the webmaster can see this data and not visitors. You can also place counters on the actual page so that everyone can see how many visitors that you have had. It is very easy to change the number of whatever you want though so you cannot trust a counter. Mine repeatedly errors out so I have to enter in the previous value and an estimation of the additional hits since then. I write down the counter values once a week for that reason.
You can get script to make your own counter over which you have total control as my brother did for my site. Otherwise, Bravenet, Site Gadgets, and a million other web sites out there have free and not free counters.
Counters may count how many individuals visit or how many pages are clicked on. Ideally, you would only get how many different people visited in a certain period of time (a day or week). Otherwise, the counter will read many more hits than actually happened. If the counter is set with cookies, then it knows who has visited (or at least those visitors who did not disable cookies). This is confusing and makes me think of chocolate chips.
There are probably a hundred different special things you can add to your site! Bravenet and Sitegadget have a bunch of them. There are calendars, horoscopes, weather, sports, polls, forms, and on and on. For something more personal, you can create your own extras by making tables of relevant information, java scripts that do something like special calculators, animations, etc.
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