Forums and Guestbooks - Are They Right For Your Website? - Although there is...
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Although there is nothing to stop you adding a Guestbook as soon as you put your website live, you should not be disappointed if you do not get any visitors. Remember to put a link to the Guestbook on your pages reminding people to leave a comment in the Guestbook, as this will help let them know it is there. If you don't get bona fide comments, don't take it as an indication that people do not like your site. If you are offering travel information, for example, people may be too busy finding out all they can about a place they are thinking of visiting to take the time to add a comment.
Good web hosting companies allow you to use forum software for free (the popular phpBB2 discussion board which you can customise or SMF).
You will get people to visit and talk about things that interest them on a forum. The forum needs to be related to your site (otherwise it is difficult to sign post people to it), and the best forums are those that enable people to share experiences about hobbies. There are already hundreds of forums on the internet - you will need to find something which makes yours unique. Sometimes this is the luck of the draw - if you attract interesting members (i.e. people who are knowledgeable and put over information in an interesting way) you will end up with a successful forum.
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