I'm afraid this might be a little bit of a biased view, because once I used the site and didn't like what I saw I never gave it a second chance.
Basically it seemed like a very good site to use for various additions to my website; a counter and the like, and it was very simple to sign up.
Off I went, and everything seemed okay, that was until I started getting spammed a great deal; 20 - 30 e-mails all from Bravenet, and I wondered what sort of a site does this?
Unfortunately it didn't stop there, my virus checker started to find viruses on my computer with Bravenet in the title... this wasn't good!
I decided to close my account there and then, or course it wasn't easy because there was no 'unsubscribe' or 'remove your account' feature! I decided to e-mail them and finally managed to close my account.
Since then I have not received any e-mails and have removed all the viruses.
I can't rate this very highly because it caused me more trouble than it was worth. It's a shame because it seemed good from the outlook.
I am really proud to be writing this about bravenet, what can they say? they really ARE the best hosting people I have EVER been with!, top notch hosting, support, anything you would ask for but more!
If you really want a host that really listens to their customers, come to bravenet! you could say I helped clean some of their writing because I noticed misleding looking text etc., I let them know, and they sorted it as quick as you probably couldn't imagion.
They have support chat, and support tickets, and both, you know you will get a reply as quick as in hours in tickets on bravenet, or quick as seconds in the support chat, I can't smay the same about my old host, which I will be writing aa review about them soon.
I have 2 free websites with them, of course it was only valid to me 1. because they, well 1 particular member of team got something wrong hense the misleading text, so that got me a free domain (another) free for life, though I or bravenet may not be here for life so... yeah mostly as long as were both still alive I guess...
Though I dont see Bravenet to be one of thoughs hosts that will be shutting down anytime soon, I mean, they provide free tools, free websites and free support, support includes thoughs not members, I used them even before I was a member, to ask them unlimited questions, only to find ALL my questions were answered with NO strings attached, which pleased me.
So yeah, I am going to give my favorite host 5 stars, they deserve it! ALSO check out my hosts new site viviti.com its a cool new website builder, you could BETA test for free :)
also if you want to see if my host is really good at keeping me online, have a look at my sites www.eaglelegend.com or www.actorwise.com
NOTICE: MY FREE SITES WERE FREE WITH THEIR HOSTING DEAL, OTHER FREE SITES ARE FOR EXAMPLE yoursite.bravehost.com Thanks!
NOTICE: I have had a friendly fallout with them, due to learning, you can only have up to 8 backups a year... unfortunately, I am now have my name transffered to GoDaddy, I will host myself once I have built my server and everything!, I also am still in contact with some of my Bravenet friends.
In the context of free website products, Bravenet is at the top of their game. Dead easy to use and a good range. Like all free webstuff, they are supported by advertising. But they are very reliable and that's what counts at the end of the day. Their products are good looking and you can alter the dimensions, colours, style and content of their services to suit your site. If you know how to, you can even alter the html yourself. I have a mini-poll, guestbook, form mailer, messageboard and hitcounter with them, and all they ask for is a link back to Bravenet. Their products also work on free webservers - which is where my stuff is. The convenience of having the one site provide all your stuff is that you only get emails from one source instead 5 - and you can prevent that easily enough, as you all should know. I'd be interested to hear of anyone who knows a better site for ALL the services Bravenet offer because I don't think you will find one. There may be better hit counters, better messageboards or whatever else, but not all from the one source.
Bravenet.com is one of the most famous Free Service Center for webmaster on the web. After a simple registration, you'll have to click on a confirmation link you'll receive in your email box. Login into your account , choose and setup the free services you'ld like to use for your website. It's easy to use the tools provided by Bravenet. Basically, once you've chosen a tool, you have to copy and paste an Html code on your page. That's all. Easy and free. On bravenet you'll find tons of free useful tools. Message Board, chat, personalised polls, counters, newsletter management, FFA pages, redirect url service. Recently Bravenet has added a free hosting service, 20 MB of free space. All the Bravenet services are free of charge, but some ads will automatically be placed on every Poll, every message board, every chat, every hosted page provided by Bravenet. If you want to eliminate the ads you must pay. My opinion on bravenet? I'll never use a bravenet tool! I will now explain why. Bravenet service is good, their tools are useful, but there are better free services I can use. A website offering only a free board hosting service (for example Ezboard) is better than the Bravenet Board service. A website offering only one service is generally better than a service provided by a website offering tons of different ones. I prefer use the service of a specialized website, I usually use Ezboard for my Discussion Board, Pollit for my polls and I pay for the hosting I suggest you to use the bravenet services only if you are building your first website. You'll find easily all the most useful tools in one place. Finally some words about the Bravenet Affiliate Programs. You can join it after signing up for Befree (reporting.net) Befree is a platform used by thousands of website to promote themserves thru affiliate's programs. You wi
ll be paid 2$ for every person you refer to bravenet and signs up for a free account on bravenet.com I tried this affiliate's program and I'm sure that 10 or 15 webmasters signed up with Bravenet using my personal code. My affiliate's account never showed a single lead...so it seems they don't track all the leads...
Anyone with a web site will be appreciative of Bravenet's cool web services, but I like it even more than that. I joined the service so long ago I can't remember when, and nor can I remember how I found it. All I can say is that from that day onward I have loved my free membership of the service. They offer lots of web site tools, from mailing lists to counters, from email forms to polls. The service is free and so like most free services, it is also supported (rather heavily, I do feel) by advertising. Every single page of their web site is draped from head to toe in advertising banners, including their new bar which allows a company to get across lots of different parts of their web site using HTML, flash, images and more. Well, back to what the company offers. You really thought I was going to drone on about their advertising specialities?? You can see that at their web site if you want. Besides I have never advertised with them so I don't know much on the opinion side of things. Bravenet currently offers 30 different scripts for you to use on your web site. Ever script is free to use with your free membership, however certain scripts offer upgrades when you buy a professional membership, of whcih there are many different types depending on what you want. An example of the upgrade is in the mailing list script. You are allowed to hold up to 500 members on your list and then you have to upgrade. But 500 is way too many for me - I currently have 14!! :-) (If you want to join, drop me a line!! :-) ) Bravenet have just started offering free hosting for web sites. I would only recommend this for beginners as I feel that the design packages are going to be extremely simple, and I am wondering if you're going to be able to add HTML to your site pages?? Your address is sitename.mybravenet.com which isn't too attractive, personally I prefer my address with FreeServers, with whom I usually use the domain
suffix 8m.com or itgo.com Bravenet also offers an affiliate program with Reporting.net. You can join through Bravenet.com Bravenet will pay you $1.00 for every member you send from your site, however they unfortunately do not pay anything for clickthroughs. I often personally recommend Bravenet to friends without the added bonus of the affiliate program, and I will continue to do so even if just to enhance the quality of both Bravenet, and definitely my friends' websites. Bravenet is certainly a webmaster's paradise!!
In the process of setting up my website, I began to wonder how to go about adding all those nice little gizmo’s and gadgets that lots of sites seem to have. I wanted a guestbook and counter and oh one of those voting survey things. I didn’t have a clue about how to find these so started searching the web and learning more about these extra’s. The first thing I found out was that I was actually looking for “remotely hosted” gadgets. This is because on 20m (where my site is hosted) you can’t have your own CGI scripts. If I had done some more research I could probably tell you what CGI means but for now, suffice is to say that it’s a certain type of computer language that most freebie website hosts don’t allow for security reasons. However – this doesn’t mean you can’t have extra’s on your website – that’s where Bravenet comes in. I stumbled across Bravenet late one night and thought all my Christmas’s had come at once. Anyone who can remember setting up their first site will probably agree with me that it can get very frustrating at times – especially when you’re learning the lingo as you go along! Bravenet has just about every site gadget that you could possibly wish for – and it’s all FREE! You do need to register on the site to get access to everything available but it is a simple process. The site itself is very user friendly so it is easy to navigate and pretty quick to load too. Once you’ve registered and found your way to the members area you will see a list of the various remotely hosted applications offered by Bravenet. In most cases, clicking “register” beside the offering will immediately take you to a page where you’ll find the HTML code to copy onto your website page. A copy of this is also sent to the email address you registered with immediately, so you don’t have to copy an
d paste there and then. All the site extra’s are fully customisable so that it isn’t glaringly obvious that your guestbook for example isn’t actually on your site. Background, text and graphics can be manipulated to get an almost seamless join between your site and your bravenet extra. It is worth taking the extra time to do this as it can be off-putting to a visitor if your guestbook looks different from your site and your posting board looks different to everything else. Here are some of the offerings at Bravenet GUESTBOOK Most people will have come across guestbooks in their wanders through the web and I think that they are an important and fun addition to your site. Firstly it is useful because you get to see exactly what people think about your site and it’s an easy way for people to leave compliments :-) Secondly it is inspiring and encouraging to read messages from people all over the world. Any time you feel overwhelmed with work needed on the site or wonder whether it’s all been worth it – take a look at your guestbook and it’ll soon set you back on track again (well it does for me anyway!). I also think that having a guestbook makes your site more welcoming – people can see that others have visited. It’s rather like having a housewarming party in cyber space really (except the party goes on forever). Get your friends to sign it and ask their friends to sign it too – don’t be shy! At this point I would like to thank everyone here at Dooyoo that signed mine! MESSAGE FORUM AND CLASSIFIED ADS A message board, forum or posting board (all the same thing) is a space for your site visitors to discuss different topics in a public arena – such as the opinionated community forum. Personal experience has shown me that it’s quite hard to get these started – everyone seems quite scared of posting the first message! In retrospect I think I should have go
t a few friends to post comments/discussions etc. to start it off but luckily now there are a few discussions taking place. It is best to limit the topic threads until the board begins to gain momentum. The classified ads is a way of offering your visitors and area to buy and sell goods – a classifieds section. PHOTO CENTRE This is relatively new at Bravenet but boy was I relieved to see it! With the demise of free storage space on the web I was at a loss as to what to do with all the pictures I used for my greetings cards (see below). Most free websites will not allow you to have hidden pages on your site just for storing pictures so that idea was out. After hours of searching in vain for free space I reluctantly decided to delete my greetings cards. I logged into Bravenet to do just this and lo and behold I saw the spanking new Photo centre! At the moment you can store up to 100 pics and apparently they will soon be offering space to store midi files if you really want that irritating plinky, plink music on your site (sorry it’s a pet hate!). Uploads are very quick and easy. One the picture is uploaded, clicking on it will bring up its URL. By the way – if you want to have a picture on your profile here at Dooyoo, this is a good place to host that pic. HIT COUNTER/STATS Want to know how many people have visited your site? The counter can be put on any page although usually goes on your home page. It’s rather like seeing how many reads you’ve had at Dooyoo! Some people suggest that if you are not expecting a lot of visitors to your site it may be wise to leave off the public counter. Personally I like seeing how many people have visited and luckily I have had a good amount of hits. The statistics are there for you to check how often visitors have been to your site. MINIPOLL and VOTECASTER The minipoll lets you have a small survey directly on your website. You can have up to 10 questions each w
ith up to 10 answers. However, only one question can be on your site at any one time. Bravenet will store your other surveys and you then activate whichever one you want on your site. With each survey you can check the statistics and also set it up so that you are notified when anyone takes your survey. The only difference I can see with Votecaster is that it simply takes you to a new page for the survey, rather than the survey being directly available on your site. Useful if you are researching for a project or simply for fun. LIVE CHAT If you fancy chatting with your friends, customers or site visitors, this is a nice addition to your site. Perhaps you have set up a self-help site and want to provide a space for people to get together. Perhaps you are an expert in something and want to be available to talk to anyone searching for advice. Whatever the reason, it’s easy to set up. Visitors simply have to type in their name and a profile (if they want to) and they are into the chatroom. No visitor registration needed. GREETINGS CARDS One of my favourite add-ons. There are lots of greetings cards on the web but it’s nice to have your own – especially if you have a particular topic of interest. As I said above, the pictures for your greetings cards can be stored in Bravenets photo album. Don’t forget that not all graphics are free to use on the web so make sure that the pictures you choose are copyright free or you have permission to use them in this way. It’s a great way of getting your work seen if you are an artist and a good way to pull visitors to your site. EMAIL FORMS These are a nice way of letting visitors communicate with you rather than just simply offering a link to your email address. You can set up a comments box for example and the comments will be directly emailed to you. It’s a good one to use for feedback on your site. I found it a little fiddly customising this one as I just w
anted the basic comments box rather than the graphic that surrounds it but Bravenet do offer tips on how to change the background colours etc. PASSWORD GATE If you want to set up a private area on your website then this is the way to do it. For example – do you want your chatroom only to be available to invited guests or keep your dissertation only for your tutors eyes? Once this is set up, only those people you invite can see the relevant pages. SITE RING Another great way of building traffic to your site is by joining webrings. Here, not only can you search other rings hosted by Bravenet, you can also set up your own. I have just embarked on doing this and found it easy to set up. FREE FOR ALL LINK Would you like people to be able to add a link to their website directly on your site? This is what you need then. I would suggest that if you do make it free for all that you monitor this carefully as there are unscrupulous people that will dump any old link on your site, never mind whether it is appropriate or not. If yours is a family friendly site and you want to keep it that way, I would suggests moderating your free-for-all so that you can approve any links before they go onto your site. FAQ SERVICE This is a great way to offer your visitors a frequently asked questions page. Make a list of the most common questions you are asked with the answers. Visitors can also ask questions which are then added to the list with your answer. MAILING LIST As it says. I use this one for informing people of updates to my site. Once they have put their details into the box on my homepage, their email address is added to my mailing list. Therefore, rather than having to write lots of emails, I just write one and it is sent to all those on the list. HUMAN CLICK, CLICK-2-TALK and BNET MESSENGER With human click you can add real-time customer service to your site visitors. Initially it involves a smal
l software download. The result is a live button on your website that lets your visitors know if you are online. It is similar to any of the messenger services that are about such as hotmail and yahoo and useful if a client needs a question answering immediately. Click-2-talk goes one step further as visitors can telephone you for free by pressing the little button on your site. Bnet messenger is a handy little messenger program that is compatible with AOL, Yahoo and ICQ – they do like to be thorough at Bravenet! SITE SEARCH and SUPERSEARCH Both these search facilities are reasonably easy to set up. It’s a good idea to have site specific search if you have a large website as it helps visitors to find the information they want quickly. Supersearch is a way of offering a web wide search so that your visitor doesn’t wander off your site to another search engine. CONTENT NEWS HEADLINES, DAILY CARTOON, FINANCIAL TOOLS If you’re looking for free content for your site then these are a few things to try. Don’t ask me what the financial tools mean as I am completely oblivious when it comes to stocks and shares and the like. However – my basic understanding says that using the financial tool means that your visitors will be able to check up on share prices etc. You can also earn a little bit of cash by using this tool. Are you still here – phew! Now you get the idea that Bravenet has a lot to offer the website designer and I haven’t even talked about the other things on offer – online bookmarks storage (for any of you out there like me that bookmarks hundreds of pages!), web hosting (both free and paid), fast URL, articles on website design, tips on site promotions and dealing with search engines, and even more webmaster resources. If you are new to building websites then visit Bravenet as they really do cater for beginners as well as offering gadgets suitable for all kin
ds of site. I use a variety of the freebies offered – guestbook, counter, chatroom, voting, e-cards, photo centre and mailing list and have never had even a wink of trouble from any of them. Everything works as it is supposed to and there is a comprehensive help section and well as forum if you do have questions. With Bravenet, you can certainly brave the net!
Do you own a web site? If so, do you want to know where to get the BEST and easiest to manage web-master add-ons and extras available? Well pop along to “Bravenet.com”, and you’ll see. What I mean by add-ons, I mean Web Page utilities i.e. Guest-books, Chat rooms, Message boards, FFA links, etc. They have the lot and they are absolutely simple to manage and copy over to your Web Page. What is Bravenet.com? Well, to put it simply, Bravenet is a site that gives you all these fabulous utilities for nothing; as a matter of fact you can actually earn money by giving these utilities to other users (by joining their affiliate partners “Reporting.net”, see my previous opinion for more on them) and placing a Bravenet advertisement on your site. How do you get the tools? It’s simple, you go to their web site and sign-up, you will be welcomed with a whole host of very useful and easy to install tools and web page add-ons. What’s available? Here is a quick description of just some of the utilities and add-ons available: Message Forums: A place for you to hold discussions with friends or actually anyone who visits your message-board, they are fully editable, in other words, you can change things like backgrounds, fonts, etc. Live Chat: Yes, you can have a very useful Chat room placed on your web site, to chat away to friends and family, once again, fully editable. Free For All links (FFA): What this basically means is, you allow people to add their url’s to your FFA (which is basically just a list of web site links), the bonus being, you have the chance to send anyone who joins an E-mail, on this E-mail, you can put things like referral links to your latest “Paid-to-anything” scheme, thus giving you a free advertising link. Smart Shop: This is basically the chance to add an incredible price-comparison portal to your web pa
ge. Guest book and Hit counter: Just a simple guest book, but has the added advantage of giving you an E-mail notify whenever anyone signs and also sending them a thank you message for signing it, or add a hit-counter to your site, to see how many visitors your site is generating. Photo Centre: Store all your favourite photographs online, and have a link to them on your web page. Mini-polls and Vote Caster: Have a mini-poll or a vote caster, to add a bit of interest to your web site, adds that bit of fun to your site. Site-Ring or Tell-A-Friend: Allows you to link other web sites to your own, may it be friends or just people with similar web sites, can drive plenty of traffic to your own site, or merely have a link that allows people to tell friends about the existence of your own site, once again, useful for attracting new visitors. Password gate: Now this is a superb utility, it allows you to make certain pages available only through entering a password, very useful if you have any adult content on your site or just personal stuff you only want certain people to see. F.A.Q Links: Otherwise known as “Frequently asked questions” this allows you to have an explanation of a certain part of your web site, once again a very useful site, especially if you have a commercial type of site. Mailing lists: A superb way of allowing you to tell any regular visitors to your site about any changes you have made, also gives you the chance to get some free advertising, excellent utility. Classified Ads: Yes, you can even host a classified Ads list on your web site, enabling people to actually sell stuff through your web pages. Human-Click: This enables you to actually have a live support link on your web page, once again a superb utility. Super-Search: Enables you to have your own filtered and set-up search engine, which you can actually set-up to specialise on a certain topic. Brave-net Messenger and Click-2-Talk: Even put a messenger link on your web page, allowing you to chat to friends on a one-to-one basis or add the Click-2-Talk link instead, this actually gives people from anywhere in the world to actually phone you up from their computers and not be charged a penny or cent. Site Search: Allows visitors to actually search for a certain item that exists on your web page, very useful for anyone with large and busy web pages. There are other very useful tools available on here, as well as the ones I have written about here, and I really think you’d be very hard-pushed to find a more comprehensive collection of web sites utilities, that are free, easy to set-up and so efficient. And as I have said they are that simple, even the most novice of web page designers or builders will have no problems at all, setting them up. Summary: An ABSOLUTE SUPERB site, that offers you all these utilities for absolutely nothing, and once again, don’t forget to join “Reporting.net” (See my previous opinion to learn about this), this is Brave-net’s affiliate partner and you can actually be paid for telling others about these superb free tools.
Having a website is becoming increasingly common, and in the world of business- increasingly necessary. However, creating a bad one is oh so easy- and this is where Bravenet comes to the rescue. Bravenet provides advertising-funded (ie free to you) web tools, such as counters, forums, and mailing lists. These are all easy to set up, and can be used in minutes. These tools allow you to create a site that looks professional, and is interactive. They prevent your site just having the boring 'my first website look'- and turn them into the kind of place that people might actually choose to visit. Obviously, it's what's on your site that counts- but without the right tools you could be doomed to fail- even if what you write is amazing. For example, a counter allows you to see who is visiting your site- and lets you adjust your content accordingly (ie. if everyone uses Netscape to access your site- you don't want to have an Internet Explorer only site!). Without Bravenet, you would need a CGI server- which most ISPs don't provide- and a lot of IT knowledge. There are lots of other free web-tool sites- but in my experience, Bravenet offers the best levels of reliability, service and features of any. My only complaint would be the very cheesy name! I just hope they can continue to provide such services only on the funds from advertisers- as the internet freebie is becoming more and more elusive, and I'm sure all you dooyoo-ers appreciate the free things in life!
Bravenet.com What is it? This is a site set up to aid people in their personal website design offering free features to everyone. What does it offer? It includes a huge variety of website extras that help people develop their sites into sites people want to visit. With good looks and intellegent freebies. Excellent for making webdesign easier. Name a few features! Guestbooks - this is probably their most widely used feature. Lets people comment on your site by visiting a personalised section of Bravenet with your own questions. Counters - Another favourite. Tells you and others how many visitors you have had on your site with Lots of different styles. Polls - Lets you have your own polls for visitors to vote on. Use your own questions- can be used to judge your site or just for fun. Tell a Friend - Lets visitors tell people they know to go to your site using email- simple but effective. Is it difficult to use? Not at all you use the options to personalise the specific feature then you are givin a copy/paste code of HTML to paste onto your page. This provides all the personal information you set. I call it brilliant - This is a great place to go if your either having trouble with ideas or want to "spice up" your website.
The main problem with writing an opinion on this site is how not to bore everyone with all the intimate details of what the site has to offer, because it offers a lot and all of it is pretty good. The only way I can think of to do this is to limit my opinion to some of the services on offer to web site owners. This is not to say that the unlisted tools are any worse or less useful so to get a full list go to www.bravenet.com for yourself. The first item many people use from bravenet is the counter so that they can see who is viewing there site. The instructions on how to install the a counter is very straight forward and the number of different appearances and options is very good. You can even have differnet counters for different areas of the site if you really want to. The counter can also be altered once it is running and information on visiters can be protected or available to anyone. The bravenet logo is pretty small on your page and you are permitted to alter colours etc if you have the expertise and really can't find one that matches your site. All in all pretty much everything you need from a counter and a few extras. Ace. On to the visiters or gust book where people can write you messages. The logo for bravenet is a little larger here but not excessively so and the guestbook works weel. You will get a message from bravenet as soon as it is working so you will know it is. Not a lot else to say on this one except that it does the job pretty well. My personal fav. is the web site search engine. Place it on your site (first page would appear to be the best place) and your visiters can search your site for what they are looking for. It does take a little while to get it up and running at full potential, checking keyworks etc. etc. but it is well worth the effort. The system can set up the keywords for you with a web spider but then it works like big search engines and is a little indescriminate as to what it finds. The search resu
lt pages are fully customisable such as adding your own background and type settings. A truely great addition to any multipage site. Thats my three favs but there are numerous other useful items like short urls for in case you hate the http:\\homepage\yourname.com@yourISPname etc. etc. name you are saddled with, the big search engine for pages outside your own site and numerious others. In shirt if you need a web tool for your page this is the best one stop shop I have found anywhere. There are adds on the site and some of the tools however these are pretty descrete and if you hate them enought you can pay to join bravenet pro which is add free. Oh so I didn't mention that all the above is free. Silly me!! Update Aug 2001 In addition to the above you can now use the tools above at a bravenet hosted site. and they have added some trading tools to boot. The number of tools just keeps increasing.
My husband and I have several websites between us and we always use bravenet for their free tools. They offer so many different things and the good thing is they are all free! The main tool we use is the bravenet counter. you can choose from many different design so it matches the theme of your website. There is a choice of two different counters, one that counts how many visitors you have and another that counts how many times each page is viewed or refreshed. They also give you very informative statistics with information such as, what time people visited, what IP address and what operating system they used. Bravenet also offer a free mailing list. You just add the code to your site and people fill in their name and e mail address. Then if you want to send to the whole mailing list you just go to bravenet members area, log in and do it from there. You can even send them in the form of a newsletter thanks to their great templates and customise it to the theme of your website. They also offer classified sections, chat rooms and message forums as well as a guestbook and human click and a large amount of other tools which I haven't used just yet. The guestbook you can customise to look like you haven't even left your site by changing the background colour and fonts and the classified section can have your banner at the top so you won't forget where you are. I have experienced some problems over the last couple of weeks when Bravenet were having technical difficulties but I'm hoping that will all be fixed by now.
My husband and I were thinking of building a web page, and it was then we stumbled across this site. It’s a fantastic site with anyone with a homepage and if you have a homepage then it’s one you should definitely visit. The site as hundreds of FREE tools which you can put on you’re web page, from anything from counters, guest books, to news headlines, cartoon, weather, a daily poll, and even click 2 talk. An excellent service where visitors to your site can phone you free!!!!. Yes to you’re home number or mobile free, although I am a bit wary of giving my number out it was still a good tool and may suit some people who work from home. Sign up for the site which is FREE and make you’re site brilliant. Honestly, this is a very complete site and I can’t wait for our site to build. Bravenet.com is a site that will improve you’re web page, and probably have friends asking if someone build it for you. The site is excellently laid out, easy to follow and if you do have any questions, queries e-mail the bravenet.com team or read the members comment. I had to read the members comments because I couldn’t believe that some of the things which they had free. Like the Click 2 talk that’s a great free service, the range of tools to chose from it excellent. Only one word don’t put to many things on you’re site as it will be spoilt. Make good choices to suit your page. You can even chose from a range of fonts, colour schemes and there’s a good range to chose from. My friend used this site after I recommended her to it, and she said it was so easy, all she had to do was copy or paste the tools into her page. She also commented on how easy it was actually put extra’s on her site via this site. So, even if you’re an amateur you can use this site, you don’t need to be a computer whiz. With over 1.5 million customers you can understand why th
is site is growing and after a visit then you’ll know what I am talking about. An excellent site with all the extra’s you could ever want to add to your site.
Bravenet is a service which offers a seemingly massive array of options for webmasters and site designers. A lot of these facilities can be found by themselves on other services but it's great to have the option of them all in one place. The Bravenet hompage is normally very quick and speedy which makes a nice change. All of the options are directly on the page so it is easy to see what facilities they offer and what facilities are right for you. There are big banner adverts everywhere though which gives an indication of how they are funded. These banner ads tend to crop up a lot throughout the service, but because it's free I think that this can only be expected. Registration is 100% free so obviously value for money is excellent. The only downfall to this is that if you register for a guestbook for example, they stick another little link next to it which links back to the Bravenet site. Also if you register for a forum with them, there is banner advertising on it, which whilst not fatal, can be quite annoying occasionally. One aspect of the service which is occasionally frustrating is that the servers are often pretty sluggish. This is mainly due to the fact that Bravenet are so popular so the demand for their server time must be huge. If you want to have high speed guestbooks and the like you might be better off writing a script for one yourself. So then, what services do they actually offer? Message Forum - This is essentially what used to be known as a bulletin board and is a pretty good example of one. The main advantage of Bravenet forums over their competitors is the amount of customisation that they allow. You could completely change the colour scheme, change the picutres that are used and even block swear words. For a free service this is excellent and although it's not as attractive as a scripted message board such as Ikonboard (www.ikonboard.com) it is much easier to set up and maintain. Hit Count
er - This is a little graphic that you put on the main page of your website and it counts the visitors. Most sites have them now and it is useful for yourself to guage the popularity of your site and it also allows you to show off to your visitors about how many visitors you have. There are a multitude of styles to choose from so if you find out that one style clashes with your colour scheme, you can easily change it. The incorporate the hit counter into your page all you have to do is paste some HTML code into your site and then it's up and running. You can choose whether or not you want your visitors to be able to see how many hits you've had and also you can choose what number the counter starts at. A useful facility is that you can make sure that the counter doesn't count your own visits to the site so it gives a more accurate reflection on the popularity. Fast URL - Fast URLs are for people that don't want to go to the hassle of registering domain names. There's nothing inherently wrong with them, but if you are designing a website for a company it's probably worth while registering a domain name instead because it looks much more professional. Unfortunately the Bravenet fast URLs aren't very good because they are things such as clik.to/yourURL which is a bit tacky. They do have the advantage of being easy to remember but as I said they don't look as professional as a domain. Guestbook - A lot of sites have guestbooks these days and they are, as their name would suggest, a place where visitors to your site can fill in a form and let you know what they think of your site. If you have a site like mine you may have problems with abusive language within the guestbook but it is possible to block certain words. The Bravent implementation of a guestbook is pretty good although at busy times it either doesn't work at all or is very slow. You have to put a link on your site to it, but it is pretty discreet so it does
n't take over. Mini-Poll - This allows you to have a poll on your website. Generally these polls are never taken too seriously so don't try and take anything too deep and meaningful from the results. They are however a bit of interactive fun for your visitors and something that may make them want to return to your site at a later date. As a webmaster this is the toughest part of the whole process, getting visitors to return. If you do offer interactive content such as a forum or a poll it is much more likely that they will come back. Live Chat Room - I have never used a Bravenet chat room because in my experience of them they are slow and ugly. Also the problem is that if your site isn't very popular there will never be anyone chatting on it so there's no point of having the chat room in the first place. I would only reccommend having a chat room if you are confident that you will be getting hundreds of visitors to your site at any one time. Email forms - This is a simple solution to a quite complex problem. They allow visitors to your site to give feedback to you about it, simply and easily. The problem with forms normally is that they have to have some kind of script running in the background to email the results to you. The Bravenet service takes the script responsibility though so you don't have to worry about it. Mailing list - This allows people to sign up to the mailing list of your website. This means that you can send them information on updates and other useful information. Some people tend to use them to send monthly newsletters with, which is a very good idea. The only problem with mailing lists is the fact that it's only very rarely that people sign up to them because they are afraid of getting spam. Only get a mailing list if you are certain that people will sign up to it, or else there's no point in going to all that effort. Other facilities that Bravenet offer include : web ring
s, greeting cards, classified ads, cartoon of the day and news headlines. These services are nowhere near as good and they all have the feeling of a novelty service. I'm sure that some people must have a use for them but I certainly don't and I wouldn't reccommend that you implement them just for the sake of it. The Bravenet site itself is very simple to use. The annoying thing is though that you have to register to use each service, rather than registering once and then being able to use all the services. This isn't a major problem but it is a little bit annoying. Ease of use is very good throughout the site and even an absolute beginner should be able to cope with just about anything on the site. Bravenet offer a whole host of facilities but the problem is that they excel in very few of them. In my opinion, they would have been better off focusing on the speed of their servers and improving the services that they already have instead of trying to introduce loads of novelty features. I would still reccommend Bravenet though because they are free and easy to use. Just don't be tempted to use all the services on one page because it will probably look horrible!
Bravenet offer a fantastic range of free website extras to enhance your site. Given the number of services they offer I will apologise in advance for the length of this opinion, I've split it up with headers to allow you to pinpoint the areas of interest. ~~~~ What is Bravenet ~~~~ Basically its a site offering free tools and services for webmasters. They say they are the number one rated site. In their own words - " What sets Bravenet apart from the rest? The ability to get all the interactive Web Site tools you could possibly need - all from one place! Whether for a personal or a commercial page, if you've got the Web Site, we've got the tools. Each service is designed for all users, from novice to advanced. Easy to set up, yet full of cool features for that "professional look"." ~~~~ Front Page ~~~~ The front page is well laid out and lists all of the available tools. There are options to join, visit the help centre, take the tour or view what's new. At the top of the page there is a login box for members. You will also find a search facility, help centre, Webmaster Extras (such as graphics), Fun Stuff and information about Bravenet. There is a banner and small advert at the top of the page but the rest of the adverts are at the bottom, not distracting you. Now I'll give you the rundown of all the tools they offer, be patient it's a comprehensive service! ~~~~ Common Features ~~~~ To save repeating myself in every section the Bravenet tools are all fully customisable. This allows you to match your additions to the rest of your site by choosing your own colours, logos, backgrounds and midi files. Any CGI scripting used is hosted on the Bravenet site so you don't have to worry about your ISP supporting the features. Most of these features can be used as many times as you like. All of the tools are easily set up by completing forms or using wizards a
nd the HTML code you need to add to your site is provided for you. ~~~~ Guestbooks ~~~~ Guestbooks let visitors to your site leave a public message. When you set one up you have options to keep the messages private or public, allow (or not) html, put in a swear filter and receive notification when someone signs. When you manage your guestbook you can remove any entries you need to. You can also backup your guestbook and add it to the Bravenet hall of fame. When managing your guestbook you can also view the IP addresses which have been used when entries were added, if you get a lot of abusive messages from one person you can ban their IP address from signing your guestbook. ~~~~ Hit Counter ~~~~ A variety of different counters are available to choose from and all come with free statistics. The statistics include graphs, text reports and referring URL's. The Bravenet logo attached is really small. ~~~~ Forums (Message Boards), Live Chat Rooms and Human Click ~~~~ You can add a forum to your page allowing your visitors to discuss any topic with you and your other visitors. The forums even have a spell checker. Again you can receive notification when someone signs, allow/disallow html, make your forum public or private or ban an IP address from using your forum. Java chat rooms can be added to your site allowing you to chat real time with your visitors. These can be public or private and your visitors can customise their own font style and size, you can also have audio alerts to let you know someone is wanting to chat. With Human Click a button is displayed showing if you are online or offline. If you are online a visitor just clicks the button to open a live chat session with you and if you are offline they can leave a message. ~~~~ SiteRings ~~~~ You can create and administer your own ring of web sites, helping you to get more hits from people who are interested in similar sites to
yours. The code to give to new members is written for you and you can customise it to match your requirements. You can even send a bulk e-mail to all the members of your ring. ~~~~ E-Mail Forms and Vote Caster ~~~~ You can create a form asking up to 100 questions with the results sent to your email address. You can have multiple forms, emailing to different email addresses and you can send automated "thank you" emails. With Vote Caster you can poll your guests on up to 10 subjects. The results are instant and you can make them public or private. These can be set to randomly appear on your page. ~~~~Mailing List and Tell a Friend ~~~~ Put a "Join my mailing list" box on your site. When you make changes or add new information you can let everyone who was interested know by sending one bulk e-mail to the people who joined your list. Visitors can subscribe or unsubscribe when they want and you can add and delete addresses yourself. The Site Announcer allows your visitors to tell their friends about your site. ~~~~ Freedrive ~~~~ For those of us a bit short on space in our hard drives you can sign up for 50mb of online storage. This can be used to store any data you want and works just like the hard drive on your PC, you can make your own directory structure and you can choose to share files with your friends and family. ~~~~ Classified Adverts ~~~~ You can set up a classified section to allow visitors to post items for others to browse. Buy and sell unwanted goods, or set up a dating service anything you want is possible with the classified ads tool. ~~~~ Free For All Links ~~~~ Choose your own categories and let visitors post their own links to your site. You have control over editing the links so you can delete unwanted posts or ban IP's if you need to. You can even set the option to pre-approve the links before they go live. ~~~~ Password Gate ~~~~ You can password protect up to 20 different pages on your site. Maybe you want a chat room for just your friends and family? If so you can password protect the page. ~~~~ Fast URL ~~~~ You can use this as your URL if your regular URL is a bit lengthy. There are a number of different options to choose from which are then combined with your Bravenet user name to form a short URL to your site. How about http://get-me.to/JohnSmith? Could be better than the URL you currently have. ~~~~ Greeting Card Hosting ~~~~ Have you used the e-card facility on DooYoo? Well with Bravenet you can have one on your own site. You can create cards using your own images, music and greetings to let your users send a card to their loved ones. This increases your site traffic as the recipient has to visit your site to pick up their card. ~~~~ Cartoon Of The Day and News Headlines ~~~ Liven up your site by putting a cartoon on it, which changes every day. These are suitable for all ages. With news headlines you can display headlines and articles on your site, choose from over 800 categories. ~~~~ Site Specific Search Engine and Internet Supersearch ~~~~ Let your visitors search your site! You type up to 80 URL's in and the spider collects all the keywords for you, you can change them whenever you like, great if you are selling things. The Internet Supersearch allows your visitors to search for other sites without going off to a search engine. This is family friendly as bad and offensive sites have been removed. You can customise the search results page to display your adverts. ~~~~ Affiliate Programme ~~~~ Yes you can refer people to Bravenet and earn a whopping 20 cents per referral (you probably wont get rich!). Payouts start at $10 and if you are wondering my Bravenet name is Penguinweb. ~~~~ FAQ Database ~~~~ Help your visitors by answering the questions they are bound to ask. The database all
ows visitors to use a keyword search rather than scroll through pages of information. ~~~~ Bravenet Messenger ~~~~ An instant messenger which allows you to contact friends on ICQ and all other instant messenger Programs. This is multilingual. ~~~~ Click 2 Talk ~~~~ A free service for talking to your friends and family over your existing phone line. Visitors to your site click the button and your telephone number is called via the internet. ~~~~ The Bottom Line ~~~~ Well you've got to the end and you are still with me – well done! Bravenet is a great resource, I have found their services to be fast and reliable. The required links back to Bravenet are small and unobtrusive and you don't have to display their banner at the top of your site. Using these tools can help you increase your site traffic and encourage return visits. I'm using various tools from here on various different web-sites.