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Persuasion

Changing someone's mind about an issue or a behavior is the primary goal of an ever-increasing number of Web sites. These information-oriented sites exist not to make money, but rather to persuade people to do something: give to charity, vote for someone, stop smoking, donate blood, or volunteer to be a Big Brother. All of these causes have Web sites that try to persuade people to particular point of view. Increasingly, Web sites are an integral part of any public relations or political campaign, and are also critical to charitable organizations. If your Web site falls into this category, you are probably trying to influence public opinion or to help people with a particular problem.

Influencing Public Opinion

The Web is fast becoming the tool of choice in influencing opinions. Shallow TV ads are losing credibility with citizens and are increasingly being used to direct people to Web sites for more information, as shown in Figure 5-3. These Web sites are written to persuade people to a point of view, with calls to action that differ somewhat from those of businesses. Obviously navigational queries are important to campaigns with TV and other media ad campaigns, but all of these sites emphasize informational queries, focusing on the best search words (“springfield school budget” or “iraq war”) to attract visitors.


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