346 Part III: Designing Sites for Long-Term Sucess And as with discussion forum software, chat software is available in a wide variety. However, because chat is as close to real time as it gets, chat services generally demand more technical resources than discussion forums. So, while you can find free or low-cost options all around the web, high-volume situations will typically require specialized servers and more complex software integration with your site to provide the best service possible. That can get expensive. If you do determine that chat is a feature you feel would be appropriate for your site, the next thing to determine is the features you want both for your users and from an administrative standpoint. Some considerations for features your site visitors might benefit from include the following: Public chat rooms Ability to make private chat rooms Ability to send personal messages (as with IM) Ability to send files Ability to embed links Ability to block other members From the administrator s point of view, the more control you can provide any community manager via your chat software, the better. Administrators and community managers need to be able to restrict a member, ban a member, create rooms, and delete rooms. So, you ll want to look for rich features, balancing that with the realities of budget and appropriateness of chat for your site. note Learn more about web-based chat software and enjoy helpful articles that can assist you in determining whether chat is for your site, and if so, which application might be best at http://webdesign.about.com/cs/ chatsoftware/. Secret #226: Refresh Your Page Style Regularly Every few months or so I become completely unhappy with my web site. So, I redesign it. For a personal site where it s natural to experiment with technology and layout, it s fine to completely redesign your web site with some regularity. However, while complete redesigns are essential from time to time, in this case I monly talking about adding aspects to your page that are visually fresh. note For more information on when to implement redesigns, see Chapter 15, Dealing with Growth and Redesigns. An excellent example of refreshing visual style occurs with certain portal sites such as Google and Yahoo! who change their main logos based on seasonal events. For example, on Valentine s Day a special Google Valentine logo is created and used for the duration of the day. Similar restyling occurs at Halloween, Christmas, New Years, Easter, and the Fourth of July in the U.S. (see Figure 13-13).
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