Beginning Design


Links Within This Page:

What you need
Info You Need for your web server
Editors (OK Lets Get Started)
Getting the name of your first file right
Codes and creating your first simple page
Microsoft frontage Express
Fine art of tuning your page
FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
The Do's and Don'ts of Web Design
A comprehensive guide to promoting your site
How to use Meta Tags

Well now that you have read a little bit of the history and you are here is a good sign so get ready for the world of  HTML because once you get started it is hard to stop. The Elation/Sometimes Frustration  you will experience is mesmerizing making all else seem trivial at the moment per-say. You may do everything short of throwing your monitor out the picture window and if you do I guarantee you will be down at the local computer shop buying a new one before the thought of replacing your window even occurs to you. Or hopefully if you follow the instructions I am about to give you it will go as smooth as silk but don't hold your breath on that one. Anyone who has ever sat down to a PC knows that frustration is part of the learning process so hang tight and go with the flow. I will try my very best to explain it in an easy to understand way. Why am I doing this? Because when I first started on the road of computers, programming,and HTML the resources were severely limited.and the majority of it was written in a language much akin to a first grader trying to make sense out of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.(not that my intellectual capacity is limited in any way) So a message to all engineers, aspiring or already there "The best job is an easy job and an easy job is an understandable one" (Hope I'm not going to regret that one wink). I am not knocking formal education by any means.Technology moves so fast its virtually impossible for educators to implement the latest into their curriculum. So in order to keep up with the leading edge technology you have to seek it out yourself. Universities and Tech Colleges tend to be a little behind sorry to say (speaking from experience).However you will learn the basics from structured courses to get you started but the real test begins when you try implementing what you have learned. So if your thinking of doing a degree in computer science......go for it but expect to keep up on the latest technology on your own. Unless your lucky enough to be at MIT or somewhere comparable.


What You Need

FTP:

So you have your page done and you now want to get it up onto the web. The best program I  have found is  CuteFTP - Home Page. This is where it becomes left up to you to figure out because all servers are different. Cute has a wonderful easy to follow help file and  a step by step which is just the best so if you follow it you should have no trouble at all. Just  remember your goal  is to upload what you have done from your floppy onto the server where  your website will be stored. Any Q you can  contact your server for assistance.


The Do's and Don'ts of Web Design:

1: Please Please Please No POP UP WINDOWS. When people visit your site they eventually want to leave your site and nothing is more annoying then windows popping up all over the place when you click to leave. When You want to leave you want to leave.....They are so annoying that software companies have actually written programs to auto delete the pop-ups for you. I don't know the names of them but do know they exist. I don't use them because I have way to much fun x'ing them out as quickly as they pop up while cursing the shmuck who designed it and thinking how I shall never return again......Get My Point!!!!!

2: Tell a little something about yourself it makes the experience seem a little more personal and that's why people visit your site. It doesn't have to be your life story but enough information to get a persons interest up or imagination what have you. Bottom line is People are interested in People, just ask the CEO chief editor of the National Enquirer how much money they have in the bank....

3: See # 1( I curse the person who invented them)

4: Keep your site easily navigable. Notice on the bottom of each of mine I have links to all of my pages, small but effective. The easier a person can find there way around your site the happier they will be and the more likely they will return.

5: Your color scheme is important make your fonts ( the letters of the alphabet you are reading   in computer jargon) large enough to easily read and color coordinated. You don't have dark blue fonts with light blue background, sound absurd? Well I've been on some sites and yikes when St Peter was handing out common sense they said "no thanks keep the change".

6: See # 3 Hmmm some might say I am a little obsessed but nooooo (I like VH1 Pop up video if that's any consolation)

7: Bells, whistles, large images and music, word of advice on this one. A little goes a long way. Put it plainly the larger your images the longer your page takes to load. Unless you have a T-1 line(extremely fast connection) or a cable modem your pages usually take a moment to load. So keep your add ons small. Music especially will slow your load time down of your page and most people get a little impatient but the vast majority will stick around ( you've heard of curiosity of the cat? Well its really not the cat they were talking about)

8: Keep your pages well organized and short. Unless your writing a book (how I feel) like me. Just kidding. If your pages do get a little on the long side what you can do is put some on page links at the top(when I do it I will explain more) and it will ease the strain and makes things much easier to find. Which I will need to do on this page. Or I could just delete this part and you would never be the wiser  hmmm........

9: Say Hi and Thank you To our Favorite rich person for making this all possible. Hey Thanks Bill and just think what you could have done if you would have went disco roller instead of Windows (inside joke). I'm not saying he is fully responsible but he was a definite driving force.

10: Last but not least and most importantly "have fun". Unless your writing an obituary column "which to me is not my idea of a good time" Keep your content to what your interested in and what you think other people might enjoy and have a good time doing it cause that's what its all about. If you become frustrated Ask someone to help, take a break, have a cold one, or a hot one (take that one any way you like) and get back to it another day. Trust me the WWW (world wide web) isn't going anywhere.

11: Try not to upload your site until completed or at least well on its way and if you do, put a under construction notation or sign on it so people will know.

12: A very renowned web expert listed this one as one of  his top 10 no no's. But due again to the wonderful democratic society we live in I can tell him he is full of pahoooey. Frames? I Like Frames!!! I believe it makes a site very easy to navigate. But!!! yes a But and "not the kind you admire on the street!! butt" For the people that do not particularly like frames use a no frames option on your site even if it means designing a different splash page or whatever just be polite and try to please all...."even the critics">>>>>Stepping off the subject for a just one second<<<<< Ya ever wonder where the critics came from? Do ya think they just wake up one morning and said "HEY GUESS WHAT WORLD I'M GONNA BE A CRITIC" or do you go to critic school perhaps that's it! Graduated with honors, Suma cum laude from University of Critic. Ah well guess they must go to the same school the political analysts go to (no one really knows for sure) One thing I can say for sure that day will never come  "opinions yes" criticize? well maybe only the critics!!!


A comprehensive guide to promoting your site:

There are 9 major search engines (well what I consider major) I'm sure some would tend to disagree but they are not writing this so ~rasp~. The major search engines are as follows not necessarily in order.

Yahoo, Excite, AltaVista, NorthernLight, HotBot, Go, Lycos, Webcrawler, Google

Sorry Bill G no plug for MS-search. Tell ya what Bill you send me 1% of what you make in one day and I'll change it to 10 and add you on, not necessarily in order of course!!! Wonder how many millions that would be hmmmm... Any How back on track....

You may find all of these search engines at the top of  this page. It is a Java based script pasted into this document and will open up a new browser window when implemented The reason I am listing them is because the best way to register your site with these search engines is to go to their site and manually submit it. Each one is a little different and some more particular then others. Yahoo for instance actually has real people "web experts" go and view your page or pages and decide if your content is worthy of  indexing. Some hints when submitting your site to. Make sure your site is ready, tags are proper etc. Be sure you get your site under the proper categories. For instance I believe this one is under Computers/Internet/web services and development or something like that but you get my drift....Be specific!!!! Don't be disappointed if Yahoo does not accept you immediately, if they do "My Hat Goes Off  To You" if not try try again. But first go back to your pages take a good look and ask yourself what you can do to improve. Put yourself on the other side and picture the other persons reaction to what your page/pages look like. Are they easily navigable? Do you have a back button, links to your other pages? Are any of your links broken? Meaning when you click on them a page comes up saying "invalid URL". There are a number of factors that may be hindering your progress. The trick is figuring them out. I would be happy to take a look at your site if your problems persist just send my a link "I love to see new sites". Be careful of using frames it tends to sometimes confuse the search engine spiders and your pages may not be properly indexed. Notice on this site I have a "no frames" link but I have not ran into any problems as of yet. I have a splash page (the first page you come to when you go to a site is referred to as a "Splash Page". It has all the proper meta tags Title (your title is very important so be sure to get it right mine is "Webmaxter Website Webpage Design" with my email address also. Also the description is important so give it a good plug when writing it, not a long one but to the point 30 words is about the limit, anything longer then that will be automatically shortened by the search engine.


How to use Meta Tags: They are used in html format to help the search engines properly index your pages. They are in between the Title tag and the Closing head tag. Please feel free to take a look at my Meta Tags by right clicking on this page remember not on a image and then click on view source to help give you a better understanding.

html

<head>

<title> The Title of your Page

<meta name >  ( You insert your meta tags here) the search engine spiders read these and index your site accordingly.

</head>

Yes it looks a little complicated but it is a little more in depth then what you actually would need in order for a search engine to index you. Actually all is you really need is as follows

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1">
<meta name="Description" content="your description">
<meta name="Keywords" content="What the content of your site or page consists of">

You may cut and paste this into your document if you like then just add to it accordingly.



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