Three Sure-Fire Ways To Attract and Engage Your Audience

October 24, 2012

For most small businesses with a website, the holy grail for their online success is web traffic. However, page views and unique visitors, although important metrics to measure, are just one part of the overall story to online success.

Just how engaged is your web traffic to your content, brand, and site?

Building a site which has a strong sticky factor – that is, one that will make your audience return again and again – doesn’t necessarily need technical skills. What you need is time and effort, and plenty of both.

Connect with a blog. Probably one of the best decisions you can make for your website is to maintain a blog to engage with your audience. Build a blog packed with useful content, such as how-tos, product demos, and interviews. Present your blog in a conversational tone (read: not pre-approved sound bites) and watch your audience interaction increase.

Engineer a community on your site. Simply throwing a message board or enabling a commenting function on your website is not enough to make your site a success. To be truly successful, you need to give your audience a voice by listening for their concerns, responding to their comments, and sourcing feedback at every touch point. Gamification and reward programmes are also great tools for audience engagement.

Make everything shareable. With stellar content and an active community, you now have the power of social networking at your fingertips. Make everything on your site – articles, photos, videos, PDFs, etc – easily accessible to anyone, by anyone. There are many ways to do this, but installing plug-ins to allow your audience to share on Facebook and Twitter is a good first step to build brand awareness and increase word-of-mouth.

What are your favorite ways to get your audience even more engaged on your website?

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The link between HIV transmission and the war on drugs

October 24, 2012

In New York, one in seven persons who use drugs is living with HIV. 30% to 40% of these these users still share needles, leading to an increased exposure to HIV. In sub-Saharan Africa, one-third of all new HIV infections happen to people using injection-drug.

The link here? Repressive law enforcement activities by United States, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, among others. Nations with the most aggressive drug policies report terrifying infection rates amongst people who use drugs.

In fear of recrimination, they are prevented from seeking clean needles. When infected, they are further driven away from available health services and treatments and are instead increasingly mired in unsafe practices that increase the risk of infection. Such a vicious cycle makes HIV more prevalent than it should be in even the most developed countries and in certain regions.

Instead of criminalising drug users, the focus should move towards prevention and treatment. Government should encourage people who use drugs – as well as others who are at risk – to come forward for treatment. Such measure are proven to be far economical than to reinstate policies that aim to threaten those faced with drug addiction.

Concerted effort should be made to advocate AIDS prevention message. As the sayings goes, “prevention is better than cure”, resources used to criminalise people who use drugs can be better placed towards community education and outreach programme.

In place of fear, the voice of authority should be sown with empathy, support and positivity. Everyone has a right to health, even people who use drugs. The ongoing war on drugs deters us further to truly put an end to AIDS and therefore shall be put to an end, too.

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