How to Make the Site Successful

Provided by the Good News Web Designers Association

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Countless numbers of websites are vying for the attention of the people you want to attract to yours. Most people are too busy to simply surf the Net after they've found what they're seeking (except those Internet junkies who converted from being couch potatoes to computer asparagus). How do you grab onto the Internet traffic as it whizzes past and keep them parked at your site and wanting to come back for more?

1: Make love your aim
What is the highest purpose of your website? To serve yourself (the sponsoring organization) or to serve the needs of the website visitors? Are you more interested in being heard or being a minister to the people who visit your site? People will like your site if they know you care and if what you offer will meet their needs. You could build the most gorgeous site, and fill it with fascinating material, and get lots of kudos for it, but if you're not doing it out of love for the viewer, you are like a resounding gong and a clanging symbol. Your site won't change many lives. It is worthless.

2: Address the true needs
What do you think your website visitors need that you can provide? That's your agenda! Now put yourself in the shoes of someone who will see your site. Better yet, bring to mind a few people you know who would be in the target audience. What needs or desires are they already aware of, which your site could provide? That's what to focus on if your work is going to make a difference.

3: Get visitors involved
An interactive website is interesting, fun and satisfying. For example, if you start with a photo of your church, invite visitors in by make a link out of the church doors, rather than relying on a boring "Enter Here" text link. Provide an outlet for the concerns that your visitors have and a resource to end their search for help. Make them feel important! Give them a chance to be heard and to feel warmly connected with the people of your organization. Computers can be so cold and inhuman.

4: Freshen it often
What can be added and changed on the website regularly? This would give people reasons to return again and again. What kind of permanent information would people want to come back for as their needs change? Continually give the viewers what they want in new and different ways. If they know they will benefit every time they come to your site, you will have won them over. If what you build is powerful enough to stick in their minds, they will remember to return when they're looking for what you can give.

5: Measure your success
The web-server company that hosts your site probably can provide you with statistics about numbers of people per webpage. Some host servers also provide hit counters. If yours doesn't, you can get free counters such as this one:

To get one for yourself, click on "BeSeen.com."

Another way to measure success is to find out how many other websites have links to yours. Use a search engine such as link Infoseek or Altavista -- type into the search engine box the word link: and then type your URL (eg., link:http://gnwda.org). You'll get a list of the different websites that have links to your home page. To find out about links leading to other webpages, include it's name in the URL (link:http://www.gnwda.org/page.htm).

The greatest measure of success will not be indicated by how often people go to your site; it'll be in the feedback you get from people who are changed by your site. It'll be in the words of our Lord, as He says to you, "I am pleased, my good and faithful servant! What you've done to the least of my people, you've done to Me.
  

Download this tutorial as a printable Word Document.

EXTRA TIPS

Which of the following do people want from your website?

Inspiration?
Information they would normally get by phone?
The uplifting of their mood?
Entertainment?
Ideas for solving their problems?
A place to voice their opinions?
Answers for their questions?

Ways to invite viewers to interact with you, your organization and each other include:

Guest books
Chat rooms
Discussion forums
Contests
"Ask the Expert"
Q&A page
E-post cards
Games and puzzles
Viewers' comments about the site
Viewers' poems, testimonies, and prayer requests
Surveys

Ways to keep it fresh include:

• Create new surveys and post results for people to come back and see
Give new topics for viewer input
Offer a Quote of the Week
Feature an Expert of the Month
Highlight a different part of the site each month
Draw attention to new additions with a new graphic
Post a "NEW!" sign next to links for new material that's been added
List upcoming events
Write an interesting monthly newsletter

 

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