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KHN
04-06-1999, 12:30 PM
I'm currently in the process of constructing a free stuff web site and I just want you guys to give it a ratting if it will be succesful or not. My site is currently at Tripod and planning to move to a permanent domain name. But for now please give me a ratting feel free to give me any suggestion
and if you have a free stuff site let me know how successful it is.

members.tripod.com/~allfreestuff/freestuff.html (http://members.tripod.com/~allfreestuff/freestuff.html)

Also please let me know if I should add or take something off to make it better. Some of the questions that I'm trying to find out is will people come back again and does it takes to long to load?

Questy
04-06-1999, 05:51 PM
KHN,

Greetings, and welcome to the forum.

From a web design standpoint, read over some of the other posts here to get a feel for a "clean site."

Specifically, you might want to read over the posting "in progress" at:
http://www.very-cool-stuff.com/ubb/Forum3/HTML/000031.html

Of course the first question is why the frames. But as I look at the concept of your site, I really wouldn't even do a side bar menu, but more of a two column directory. You have an awful lot of links running down the side to try to do any neat side bar menu.

Some of your links don't go anywhere, (page not found), some of the pages have no content. Is this just a template for the site, or a working model?

I didn't take a detailed look at the graphics, but the page did seem to take awhile to load.

Before I get too detailed about building you a site, we need to address your initial question, Will my site be successful or not???

There's a ton of free stuff sites opening up everyday. Is yours just going to be another directory of links to free stuff? Will you review these products, and evaluate them? Will you offer any free services yourself?

If your site is simply going to be a directory of links, I think your site will have a hard time being successful, if you mean that in terms of earning money.

Like any product you sell, your web site is a product, and the question is what value do you add to it that someone else couldn't? What value will KHN add to a free stuff web site? When you have a clear cut answer in your mind to what value you, KHN, add to the equation, then you will have a large part in answering the question, "will people come back again"

Many people ask me questions here, and at my other professions. My full time, and part time profession is technology, so I have a lot of personal material for a technology web site. But what has me excited, is when a non technology site I am building, and not even "promoting" starts to draw traffic.

While the topic may be to critique your web site, from the way you have asked the question, you are as much asking if the topic itself is worthy of exploring further. Hopefully I can help you find some direction here, before we get further involved in building a site.

So first, here's the non tech issues:
Are you building a free stuff site simply for the sake of building? Do you have some built in traffic for your site, or a need to research that material anyway? (as is my case). If you are building a site for a hobby that you hope to turn into a business, what personal spin can you add to it?

If you still want to pursue the free stuff site, map a plan, keep it simple. Bring back your ideas here, and allow the gang to get you going.

Food for thought, hope it helps...

------------------
Regards,
Questy

The small business and technology guru,
It's not just a job, it's an addiction!
www.computerguru.net (http://www.computerguru.net)

KHN
04-06-1999, 07:38 PM
Questy,

The site is not actually done that's why there are a lot of dead links. Thanks for some of your suggestions and I hope to use them to my advantage.

Questy
04-07-1999, 04:16 AM
KHN,

Think about what all I've said, hopefully some other folks will add their remarks, and keep the dialogue going here.

I guess the question that I'm still curious about is your reasons for your theme, and what you hope to add to it. Once those issues are clarified, we can work with you to tighten up you site.

Regards,
Questy

Edwin
04-07-1999, 05:50 AM
Ok, diving into the success question, I run a site about free email and yesterday it hit a new record: 26,617 pageviews and just over 7,000 unique visitors for the day! And thefreesite.com has managed to get into MediaMetrix's Top 500 web properties, so again there's another example of a free site being "successful"

However, depending on other definitions of success, my site has done less well. Recently, I have failed to sell any advertising despite having IMHO:-

A) A targeted audience (people interested in free email)
B) A comprehensive demographics profile based on 850 survey responses
C) Relatively high-end ad software (AdJuggler) with sophisticated ad distribution options
D) Very fast hosting on a dedicated server
E) Cheaper rates than any comparable site I can find
F) A substantial number of ad impressions available (1.3 million for April 1999 alone)

On top of that, "success" brings its own problems as I have to fight "pirate" sites that have stolen some of my content off my own site (to date I've never lost an argument though ;-))

As always, your mileage may vary.

Edwin

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Free Email Address Directory: 550+ free email services. http://www.emailaddresses.com/

Questy
04-07-1999, 08:56 AM
Edwin,

Thanks for your open and honest remarks about your site.

Let me "borrow" this quote from your site:"the free email market totally saturated, many services are finding it difficult to find enough ad support to pay the bills"

Do you think the overall free stuff market is getting a little saturated?

When does all this free stuff start turning into pay per view?

Then another good point you bring up is defining success. At what point does a thousand hits a day pay for itself?

[This message has been edited by Questy (edited 04-07-99).]

ShaneD
04-07-1999, 09:52 AM
Hello Everyone,
When will a free site become successful?
1. When you have enough value added content to keep them coming back
2. You differ in some way from all the others
3. You aggressivly market your site
4. alittle bit of luck
almost forgot the most important thing...Places like this forum with good friends and honest help.
Shane

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If You have Fun You will makes lots of money


[This message has been edited by ShaneD (edited 04-07-99).]

KHN
04-07-1999, 12:23 PM
The reason that I made my site is to earn some extra cash. The sponsors that I use are Websponsors, Safe-Audit, Commission Juction, Cyberbounty, and Link Exchange which will pay me money for giving away stuff. Of course not all the free stuff pay me but I try to add them in for other people interest, so they might come back again and again. I'm planning to update it everyday with new stuff in hoping that people will come back.

Also, should I stay with the frame or not. I think that my site really needs the frame more than sidebar because it would make my site to long.

Questy
04-07-1999, 12:53 PM
RE: I think that my site really needs the frame more than sidebar because it would make my site to long.

I think you are missing the point here.
see the discussion:

www.very-cool-stuff.com/ubb/Forum3/HTML/000040.html (http://www.very-cool-stuff.com/ubb/Forum3/HTML/000040.html)

For a great example of a "free site" See Edwins site at:
http://www.emailaddresses.com/

You are creating a directory, there are software packages such that create lists link that. Check out the hyperseek version here at Steve's site:
www.very-cool-stuff.com/cgi-local/hyperseek/directory.cgi (http://www.very-cool-stuff.com/cgi-local/hyperseek/directory.cgi)

A long list down the side as a frame will do you more harm than good.


[This message has been edited by Questy (edited 04-07-99).]

KHN
04-07-1999, 01:41 PM
Then how do I make those sidebar?

Questy
04-07-1999, 06:40 PM
KHN,

Glad to see you're still with us.
I felt like I leaned on you a bit with my last post, but hopefully you'll learn for this, and get your site looking good.

Now, as far as layout, that's a bit difficult without knowing how your composing your html.

I looked at your sportscard site you have listed in your profile, thats a very nice clean welcoming page layout. Did you do that with an HTML Editor? Much the way you have the links down the side of the page here, use a similar layout. You're using a thinner left side column here to "manage" your links. The same concept applies here. The main recommedendation I would make here, is use fixed width sizes in pixels, rather than 30%, 100%, etc. As your site becomes more complex, you'll want to make sure what you see is close to what the browser sees. To do this you have to choose a standard. You'll see many website at a fixed width of about 600 (pixels). That's because older video resolution is 640 pixels wide, and newer ones with 800 pixel width see the 600 pixel tables pretty well. If you just used a %, the table will adjust to the video width of the pc viewing your site, and depending on your layout, this could cause some serious strangeness.

Edwin mentioned the freesite http://www.thefreesite.com/ ,like anything else, don't copy someone else's site, but see what you can learn from it. Their front page is a 5 row by 5 column table semi structured as a directory, each content page is a side table, as we described, that has a fixed width of about 140 pixels. This site is very simple, and fairly clean. As Edwin points out, I'm very surprised it is listed as a top 500 site.

Funny as it may sound, but the site that I really looked it, to see how tables were used to hold a site together, is ESPN's.

I'm not an overly big fan of Netscape Composer as a HTML editor, but I do use it as a teaching tool. Go to a site you want to see how they layout something, like one of the ones mentioned, a cnn, espn, etc. While using Netscape Communicator as your browser, go to the file menu and choose edit page. After you do this a few times, you'll start to see how other sites use tables to hold a page together, and create endless combinations of those side bar menus we are talking about.

Play around with these ideas for awhile, let us know what you come up with.

------------------
Regards,
Questy

The small business and technology guru,
It's not just a job, it's an addiction!
www.computerguru.net (http://www.computerguru.net)

Steve_S
04-07-1999, 10:33 PM
Hi KHN

Nice start and welcome http://www.very-cool-stuff.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

I hope you don't mind if I get real geeky on the graphics you are using on your home page. This page takes too long to load and the fix is quite easy. You don't need to repeat the word Free (9 times) so eliminate the repeating and also make all the graphics smaller in file size. Currently the two are 44K so you should be able to cut this in half. All your graphics need ALT tags as some engines read them. New Freebies and Please Bookmark....should be text and not a graphic. After you do this you will see that the impact of your graphics will increase. They should "pop"

HTH




------------------
Best Regards,
Steve_S
www.very-cool-stuff.com (http://www.very-cool-stuff.com)
Your Administrator

KHN
04-08-1999, 12:33 PM
Questy,

How did you know I even have a sports cards page? Well anyway that page I did on sports cards was by using Tripod Quickpage which has everyting set up so all I had to do is insert the HTML. But the problem with quickpage is that java script won't work, but I need to use the rottating banner script.

Do you know how to make a side bar like ClickQuick or ESPN? It look very clean and nice but how is it made?

I don't want to copy the site but just the concept of making it.

KHN
04-08-1999, 02:11 PM
I'm currently in the process of redoing my hold site with frames and I will let you know when is done. Thank you very much for your suggestions.

KHN
04-08-1999, 02:13 PM
I mean I'm going to redo it with table and get rid of the frame.