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Compiled by Entrepreneur.com

Your site is up, so now how do you make it special and filled with content that attracts visitors and keeps them coming back? That mission consumes site-builders, both full-time professionals and part-timers, but if there is one fact we now know to be absolutely true, it is this: Simplicity is best.

Case in point: The Web site for a luxury hotel chain based in India features a huge soundtrack of classical music, and it's just annoying. Maybe some sitar tracks--authentic Indian music--might make sense, but classical? It's bandwidth-hogging craziness. Resist the temptation to put something on your site just because you can. Never put up content that slows access to a page but doesn't demonstrably heighten user value.

What does work? Content that gives users reasons to linger, to absorb more of what you're offering. You'll find there are many, many ways to introduce this content, and you are going to have to exercise real discretion here. Pick a few tools, try them out, monitor user responses, then delete the ones that aren't proving valuable. Be ruthless here, and never forget that simple is better.

Speaking of hogging bandwidth: Do you use Flash because you think it's cool or because it adds to your visitors' experience? Read more about Flash here.

That understood, here are many tasty tools for you to use in beefing up your site. Just remember, this may be an all-you-can-eat buffet, but the more you put on your plate, the more discomfort your Web site viewers will feel.

E-mail Lists

You want to experiment with a tool that lets customers talk among themselves about your products and services? An e-mail list gives you that capability. The smartest, simplest way to create a list is at areas like Yahoo! Groups. There are many options available. Lists can be private, open only to members you approve, or public, open to all who knock on the door. My advice: Experiment with several types of lists, perhaps a private one for existing customers and a public one for all comers.

Either way, carefully monitor traffic. To be useful, a list needs a steady flow of traffic and at least a few messages daily. Initially, you might encourage friends and colleagues to post just to get the list going, but eventually you'll need a site that generates sufficient traffic or your lists will collapse from nonuse. When they work (and they often do), lists are a fast way to spice up a site with the kind of interactivity that keeps surfers coming back.

Guest Books

Sure, you could create a guest book using a CGI script, but probably the easier way is to insert some HTML code into your page--and you will find it at 1-2-3 Web Tools. Why would you want a guest book at all? It's a convenient way to collect more information about your visitors. And incidentally, surfers often like to look through guest books.

Daily Content

As simple as it sounds, many Web visitors appreciate sites that offer a "tip of the day" and visit them on a daily basis, often in the morning, to glean the day's tip. Or, they subscribe to a daily newsletter full of tips--and advertising. Many sites offer philosophical tips, which assist readers in reflecting on various aspects of their lives. For example, sites that encourage positive thinking offer some daily message of optimism. Religious sites offer daily prayers. Literary sites offer quotes from famous authors. Humor sites offer daily jokes.

To start, you don't have to come up with 365 of them; instead work on one month's set of tips. Then program, say, one month ahead. It helps to consult a calendar for the coming year so you can align your tips with the days of the week, holidays and other special occasions. When you consume all 365 tips (or less if you choose just to update Monday through Friday), feel free to dispense the same tips again for the coming year. Few Web site visitors, even those who visited your site every day to read the daily tip, will be aware or concerned that one year's set of tips was the same as the last. In subsequent years, however, it probably does make sense to develop new sets of tips. You can only run the same information for so long.

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