Before you think of spending hundreds or even thousands on a content management system for your website, have a look at eZ Publish (www.developer.ez.no), which for around £40 will give you just about everything you need to maintain and update your online offering. With some publishers spending high five-figure and even six-figure sums on their online efforts, eZ Publish, which is based on open-source technology, will certainly be of interest to anyone who wants a bit more than a website created in Dreamweaver or Frontpage.
News International has emerged as one of the key content partners in the new Vodafone Live service. For £1 a week, network customers can have the latest news from The Sun and The Times supplied direct to their phones. For those who want to try out the service, there is a one-week free trial on offer. Customers need to feel they are getting value for money from these extra services and £1 a week is sensible pricing.
In the past, mobile networks either charged on a per-minute basis for access to WAP services or on receipt of a text message, which, if you are getting several messages a day, can be expensive. If providers want to encourage take-up of these extra services, they must continue to price them reasonably.
One of my favourite online services, Response Source (www.responsesource.com), seems to get better and better. It has listened to the moans and compliments of journalists and so has ended up providing better guides on using its service. The idea behind Response Source is simple: provide journalists with a way to e-mail a question or topic they were writing about and get it sent to PR agencies across the UK. Unlike other services that promise much and deliver little, Response Source certainly seems to work every time. The service is paid for by PR agencies and not everyone will get back to you, but it’s a lot better than the hassle of making numerous phone calls.
From time to time, readers ask me about creating better community services on their web pages. Many want to offer free web space. While free web space is a nice offer, it can be open to abuse. But if you have the right procedures in place, free web pages for your community can prove popular, valuable and can enhance your own online service. Any of these packages will help and many offer free trial versions before deciding to buy. Try Web U Make (www.webumake.com/wweb), Easy Host (www.cyberscript.net/
products/easyhost) or Home Pro (www.solutionscripts.com).