Archive for June, 2013

webmaster tips and tricks

Posted: June 15, 2013 in etcetera, FYI, siteupdates

I’m working to get organized/phase out one of my old message boards. These were some posts/tips I’d written and wanted to keep.

webmaster tips and tricks
I feel compelled to share some hints about running a website – as if I’m such an expert.

Anyway… I’ve recently redid the tips I have posted at one of my sites:

A few other ideas that I typically employ:

* Try to make layouts that are browser friendly: test them in various browsers to see how they look.

* To minimize load times – for those not blessed with high-speed connections – I usually keep the size of any one page under 50 kb. (If you’re on a free webhost, that will also help keep you from going over your allotted bandwidth.)

* Don’t feel as if you need to use every single HTML trick that you know: sometimes less is more.

Please don’t think I’m saying that people who don’t follow my suggestions are wrong, because that’s certainly not true. Websites should express your personal taste, so there’s not necessarily a “right” way to do them. I basically try to design pages that I would want to visit: reasonable size, not a lot of clutter, clear navigation, etc.

more webmaster tips
A few other ideas that I typically employ when I‘m designing websites:

* I put my CSS on the page itself, instead of in a separate stylesheet, because I’ve seen on other sites that sometimes the stylesheet doesn‘t come in, leaving the page unformatted.

* Beware putting a Last Updated date on the main page. If it was any time prior to today, visitors will get the impression that your site is old.

As a side note, if you’d like to start a website and are looking for ideas, is there an old, neglected site for your topic that you could take over and build on? Just ask permission first, and be sure to give the first webmaster credit.

Things I look for when I’m visiting websites:

For a fan website dedicated to a certain TV show or movie, the top things I look for are:

* complete information about the subject (that is, for a TV show, all episodes are listed with a summary, or whatever detail they’re providing)
* a well-organized layout, so that it’s easy to navigate and find what you’re looking for – without having to click through many submenus
* original material is a big plus, whether it’s a recap or a review
* if it has advertisements, they’re kept to a minimum. And no popups!
* don’t have sounds or videos that start automatically. If I want to see/hear them, give me an option to select it; don’t force it on me.
* it doesn’t have to be updated every day, but it’s nice if the site doesn’t appear to be completely abandoned
* as for types of content I look for, I love original detailed summaries of the movie or TV episodes, top ten lists, quotes…

For a personal website, like a blog, the #1 thing I look for is: is the site updated regularly? (It’s so frustrating to find a site where the person seems really interesting and then you discover that they last posted nine months ago.)

[I wrote the below about two years ago, but I’m reposting it here. (Some of the points may be repeated above, but just go with it…)]

Complaints About The Internet

Sure the Internet is a plethora of information and entertainment. However, lately some of the sites I visit often have some problems:

* Yahoo – keeps displaying those heartbreaking WSPA ads. News flash, Yahoo: while those ads accomplish making me feel bad, they do NOT inspire me to visit this sponsor. If anything, they get me to minimize my visits to YOUR network of sites to avoid seeing them.

* – which I have visited for months without problems, now a) runs sloooooowly and b) gets locked up and “recovered”… but still doesn’t work right after the so-called recovery. Guys, please fix this, because it’s annoying for me to have to switch to the Chrome browser every time I want to view your page.

* Facebook – repeatedly changes their site’s features and then automatically sets users’ profiles to comply. No, I don’t expect them to value our privacy, but I do want them to know we’ve got their number.

* – I preferred their old blue start page to the new white one

* (multiple sites – msn and Yahoo specifically) – I get that it’s gotta be tough to post NEW news articles these days, but *please* refrain from posting pseudo-news with titles such as, “Will The Earth Blow Up?” Most readers know that no article can definitively answer such a question – and therefore, it’s a waste of time for us to read it. In other words, give it a rest, Chicken Little!

* (multiple sites) – I click on a link called the “20 Tips for ____” or “The Top 50 ____” only to find that the list is presented in slideshow form, with 1 item per page. They (really!) expect me to flip through 50 – or even 20 – pages. I’m not nearly that interested, ppl! Very often the next click I make is to leave the slideshow altogether.

* (multiple sites) – Similarly, when I see an article that looks mildly interesting, I’m put off to find that the article is spread across three or four more pages. Again, I’m not that interested in it!

* (multiple sites – msn and Yahoo specifically) – And, similarly similar, I click on a headline on their main page only to be routed to some video. I know why they do this – hello, they start with an ad – but I want to READ an article, not see a show. Especially if I’m at work with the sound turned off…

**Caution, I’m writing some words in an unusual way in this entry because I don’t want to attract spA mb’0ts.**

A while back, I added a simple PHP f_o r-m to allow visitors to easily con-tac-t me. Unfortunately, the spA mb’0ts found it and used it to generate much for my inbox.

So, I changed it to one from a freebie website, that included a captcha feature. Voila, no email inbox full of junk.

Recently, I was making some changes at that site, and I decided to try reposting my own f-o-rm… and not 24 full hours after I re-added it, I got a spam email.

But before going back to the freebie site option, I tried changing my original fo’rm to a checkbox only. Visitors check the box to confirm they’re real, and when they submit, they’re taken to the actual fo_ _rm.

That was almost two weeks ago, and I haven’t got any emails yet.

So, I thought I’d share this here as an option for other webmasters. It’s a tough decision: if you make the ph0rm too complicated, legitimate site visitors won’t use it. But make it too easy, and it seems only spA mb’0ts find it. And there are plenty of options to make it complicated – captchas, etc. The checkbox was a lot easier to code, and (if I was the one sending the info) I would much prefer a checkbox to a captcha verification.

Anyway, I’ll post here if I get any junk. Until then, assume it’s working!

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