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DR. WEBSITE: Tips on Finding Advertisers And Sponsors for a Site; Using 'True' Absolute URLs

By David Fiedler and Scott Clark

Dear Dr. Website®: They say beautiful girls can't get dates. What about great Web sites that can't get sponsors? Yahoo featured our site (about emergency rooms) for three weeks and we got 2.2 million hits and 100,000 domain visits. But no ads or sponsors can be found. What's the answer?

Dr. Website replies: Congratulations on getting into Yahoo and the subsequent free test of your server capacity. But you must ask yourself: Of those 2.2 million hits, how many visitors were just curious, as they may be when passing an accident on the highway, and how many represented actual potential users of your system?

The general populace may wish to peruse your site, but I'm assuming that it has a much greater value to doctors, nurses, and other medical practitioners. They are your target audience, not the general public, so they are who you need to target. The people who would purchase banner ads to run on your site would have the same target audience.

Therefore, the way to proceed is to find sponsor sites or companies whose business is of prime interest to your target audience. Without involving third parties such as agencies, the easiest way might be to buy the kinds of magazines that doctors and nurses read regularly, and see which advertisers have URLs in their ads. If your salespeople know what they're doing, that should be enough of a lead to get them started.

Dear Dr. Website®: On our Web site, we have a combination of relative and absolute URLs (as well as external URLs). By absolute URLs, I mean something similar to:

 <A HREF="/contact/"> 
that would go to the root level of our Web server and then into the "contact" directory (we do this for simplicity's sake). However, this screws up our site maintenance package. Would it be best to use all relative links, even though they can sometimes look like this:
 <A HREF="../../../contact/index.html"> 
Dr. Website replies: The only safe bet as a true "absolute" URL is the full URL, such as: <A HREF="http://www.domain.com/contact/index.html"> That can be longer to type, and can cause problems with word wrap in certain editors, so many Web developers (including us, as often as not) will use the first type of address in your question, which we'll call the "base URL" form.

As a general rule, we recommend sticking to absolute or base URLs, as they will still be easier to work with, say, if you move your Web pages to another location on the same machine. You'll have a nightmare doing the same thing with relative URLs. Webdeveloper.com's Home Page


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Keywords: html, site_management
Date: 19971124



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