make a website

Part 2: TIPS AND GENERAL INFORMATION

  1. The web-page will have all the text and coding, and will have "links" to the images and audio files; the images and audio files are not actually "part of" the web-page.
  2. In your file and folder names, do NOT use any "special characters" such as hyphens and do NOT use capital letters in the name. You CAN use the underscore character. NEVER use spaces in any file or folder names.
  3. Keep your page clean. Don't make it too busy. Keep the text large enough so that even those with small monitors and poor eyesight will still enjoy visiting your site. I had fancy Javascript on my Home Page until I learned that to make your website more "findable" you need to keep it clean.
  4. Learn a little bit of HTML (HyperText Markup Language) which is the language in which a web-page is written. There are lots of free tutorials on the www. You can write a web-page in any text-editor if you know HTML but a tool such as Front Page Express makes the job a lot easier. I created one page in FPE and then used "NotePad" to tweak the HTML a bit. Unfortunately, WordPad messed the page up by adding in a lot of garbage. I've used NotePad successfully but it cannot handle large files.
  5. Name your main, home page "index.html." I used to use "htm" but finally had to follow the crowd.
  6. Many people have more than one Browser installed on their computer. The 3 most often used are Microsoft Internet Explorer, Firefox and Netscape. If you do that, you can test view your new HTM file in different browsers to see how each interprets your coding.
  7. If you use fancy fonts, your visitor is likely to see the page differently. That's because (s)he may not have installed on his/her computer the font which you used. Best stick with "common" fonts which "everybody" has. To make a fancy title such as the one at the top of this page, use Xara3D which results in a ".gif" image of that title. Xara is incredibly easy to use and has a huge number of options including the ability to animate (move) the titles. Get it at Xara is utterly INCREDIBLE and great FUN to use. NOTE: if you do not see the large, pretty graphic above, you will need to "Allow scripts" on this page. It will give you the ability to get a free trial download. Prepare to be AMAZED!
  8. There are some occasions when browsers will break strings that you might want to keep in one piece. In particular, currency amounts when using commas as thousands delimiters e.g. $100,000. If this occurs at the end of a line, you can get $100, on the end of the line with 000 at the start of the next!
  9. Double/single spacing lines of text: IF, when you press Enter, you find that you get text automatically double-spaced, rather than pressing Enter, hold down the Shift key and then press Enter and it will SINGLE-space.
  10. Be careful when making words different colors; visitors may assume those words are links.
  11. Avoid using "Frames" in your page; everybody hates them!
  12. You may be able to "borrow" ideas from other people's Home Pages. While viewing a page, click "view" - "source" and you will see their HTML code. If you see a Home Page which has some icons/pictures which you would like to "borrow", move the cursor arrow to it, and if it turns into a pointing hand cursor (i.e. it is a link), simply click the right mouse button on it and save it to your hard disk.
  13. Keep a backup of your web-page files and keep it updated.
  14. Most of the Free Web Space Hosts provide you with a handy tool for uploading your files. If you are using your ISP to host your site, and there is no such uploader, you might use WS-FTP to upload the files. You should be able to find that super-handy-dandy software by Googling for it.
  15. AFTER you have uploaded your website, have somebody ELSE visit and check it out. If you do this yourself, the results may be 100% but for not for other people. The reason is that when YOU check it, errors in uploading may be invisible. Make sure the other person sees the background, all the images etc correctly and hears the music if the page has music. When you view your own page, your browser may simply take the page out of your cache, showing you an old version.
  16. It is probably a good idea to keep your main, HOME page relatively short and to provide links on it to all your other pages.
  17. At the bottom of each page, add some kind of icon or image which the visitor can click to go back up to the top of the page. Notice the icon at the bottom of *this* page.
  18. Somewhere on each page, add a link to email you. See note at the bottom of this page.
  19. It probably makes little sense to put a "hit counter" on your site. Not everyone realizes that these counters, while cute, convey little useful info. The number of "hits" recorded is *not* a count of the number of visitors to that site.
  20. Keep your images and your HTML as small in terms of 'bytes' as possible so that your pages will load faster. When you have accumulated your images (pictures) try to shrink them as much as possible without losing too much quality. You can download free programs (see comment below).
  21. Do all you can to make sure your pages download to a visitor's computer as quickly as possible. For example, when you use Tables, add the "height" tag. When you add pictures, include the height and width tags.
  22. Speaking of "Tables" they are not a good idea; check it out and you'll learn that they are to be avoided if possible. I used to rely on them very heavily but now am trying to get rid of as many as possible.
  23. IF you want to have music on your website, you'll need MIDI files, that is, music files which end in ".mid." There are many links on my LINKS page to websites where you can download free MID files. Coding your page for music can be difficult. PLUS, keep in mind that many people do NOT WANT music, particularly music that starts to play automatically. To see how I did it on my HOME page, view the source. It is too complex to explain it here.
  24. give your images names that are relevant to the image and include the "alt" and "title" tags to all image links.
  25. Do NOT make a website which plays any kind of SOUND automatically when a visitor comes in. A LOT of good people visit the dub-dub-dub on "Company Time" and if sound suddenly starts from his/her work cubicle, it is a dead give-away that he/she is surfing the web rather than working.
  26. Your "Favicon" for your websites:
    If you look at the Title Bar of your browser, you should see the icon which I use for all my websites; it is a black hiker with a red hiking stick. I searched the WWW for "icon makers" but did not find many. Few were free and the ones that were free were not user-friendly. I never dreamed that Irfanview could make icons but thought I should check. IT CAN. Not only can it make them, it makes them better and much easier and faster.

    When you are happy with your icon and want to use it for your website, just save it as "favicon.ico" and upload it to your server like all your other images etc and add this line in the "Head" part of your website:
    <link rel="shortcut icon" href="favicon.ico">

A note about the email links on your pages, that is, the links visitors can click to send an email to you. If you don't take some care with this, you will be inviting the spammers to flood your mailbox with garbage. There are ways to code your link. Brian Livingston has published a small book on how you can protect yourself from spammers. You can find the book online here: https://WindowsSecrets.com/spamproof/. One easy way to add a link which spammers will have a problem with is to put your address into an image. You can easily do this with Irfanview. You can do a LOT more, of course, with the FREE Irfanview; see my page about it at http://www.sticksite.com/irfanview/. Another ways to put your email address safely into your website is to CODE it. You can get the coding at this website: http://w2.syronex.com/jmr/safemailto/.

My favorite freeware tools and other neat freeware items are listed on my FAVORITE FREEWARE page(s).

Some other sites worth looking at:
http://validator.w3.org
http://www.chamisplace.com/asp/hk.asp
http://www.netmechanic.com/accelerate.htm - online tool for shrinking JPGs and GIFs
http://sitescore.silktide.com/ you can check your site here for all kinds of data
http://www.sitemapdoc.com/ also a place to check your site
If you know of any great Freeware tools, PLEASE let me know........Thanks!

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