Building a Content Rich Website - Part 4 | Author: Byron Stuart

The importance of adding dynamic content to your websites.

You should add dynamic content to your website because when done well it will ultimately provide visitors to your site with a richer and more enjoyable experience. So what exactly is dynamic content? Well firstly you need to understand what a static page is. It is simply a page that does not change whenever somebody views it, that is every time the page is viewed the content will be exactly the same, unless of course you go and take some action to manually update it yourself.

A dynamic site has some or all of it's pages put together in such a way that each time a visitor views those pages they will get at least some different content to the last time they viewed it. This can be done in several different ways and I will go through a few of them so that you get an idea of how it's done.

The first, most obvious and probably the most common way to do this is to add an RSS Feed (or more than 1) to the pages you want to have dynamic content. Just to confuse you there are 2 different ways to do this. You can use Javascript or PHP code to publish your chosen RSS Feed(s) in a human readable form. To the human visitor these 2 methods will be indistinguishable and will achieve the same result, that is the display of fresh, constantly updating content on the chosen pages. However when it comes to the all important search engine spiders and robots that index your pages there is a very important difference. Search engine spiders and robots do not read Javascript or interpret it, they basically just skip over it, so it doesn't matter what the code does (or doesn't do), everytime your pages are visited by a search engine the Javascript will not affect the evaluation of your content. However when a search engine visits a page with PHP code, the PHP code gets executed and the search engine only gets to "see" the result of the PHP code, i.e. the search engine doesn't even know there is PHP code there, it just gets content that is generated by the PHP code.

Now what this means is that pages that contain dynamic content by way of PHP code will result in the search engines assessing your pages as having consistently fresh content. Being assessed as having fresh content is extremely valuable and will result in your site achieving a higher ranking. For you see the search engines love fresh content, and are not so fond of sites that never appear to change, even if they do by way of Javascript. If you're reasonable at software programming you could write the PHP code that will expand the RSS Feeds yourself. Alternatively you can download some free software that will do it for you from MSIFetch or Carp.

Another slightly more complex way to add dynamic content to your pages also involves using PHP code. What you can do is to setup a single file that contains different "blocks" of content. You then need to add PHP code to your pages that will randomly select one of the blocks from the file you setup and display it on your page(s). You could expand this idea further by setting up several files with content blocks and writing PHP code that will select from as many as the files you have setup as is appropriate for each of your pages. As with the RSS Feeds you now have dynamic content on your pages that human visitors will see and very importantly the search engines will recognise your content as "fresh". How to setup these files and write the PHP code is beyond the scope of this article.

The other main way to add dynamic content is to get your visitors to do it for you, again there are several different ways to do this. The easiest and probably most common way of doing this is to allow your visitors to post comments on your site ala blog style, although you will need to make a management decision about moderating the comments. Not moderating requires no work but you then run the risk of inappropriate comments being posted on your site, moderating could become very time consuming. You can setup a free article directory such as Article Dashboard which will allow users to post articles directly to your site, this can result in a steady stream of content if you get enough patronage. You can also do things such as run a poll, making sure you keep a dynamic display that shows your visitors the current poll results (to keep them coming back to check the latest).

I hope you have found some useful information in this piece and in the next article I will point some of the many different ways of monetising your site (not just Adsense).

About the Author:

Byron is an internet marketer, author and software developer. To find out how to build content rich profitable websites quicky and easily see