Archive for the ‘siteupdates’ Category

website plans for 2017

Posted: February 4, 2017 in FYI, review, siteupdates

Another February, another so-called maintenance weekend!

Actually, since I accomplished the re-do of the eclectic website layout last year, I’ve already been doing a bit of “maintenance,” such as:
* assessing my real-life belongings, decluttering, and rearranging to optimize storage options
* restructuring my computer files to better outline upcoming projects
* going through the contents of my work computer, purging my personal items in anticipation of finding another job 😉

As part of the aforementioned restructuring, I tried to realistically plan and prioritize my ever-growing list of to do’s, including defining my website goals for this year:
1) Add photos from missing years (2014 thru 2016) to the photolog.
http://www.neloo.com/chezanne/index.html

2) Write and then add information for the next episode (“Gunz ‘N Boyz”) to the MacGyver episode guide.
http://www.rusted-crush.com/macgyver/maceps.html

3) Continue to watch and then type my comments about season two of The Young Riders episodes. Although I generally keep these write-ups simple (a list of points instead of working my thoughts into whole paragraphs), I’m still not specifying a number of episodes to complete this year. I don’t need that kind of pressure. 😛
http://www.neloo.com/fannesite/yr1s2.html

4) Do links checks at the fan websites. Usually I do this as part of changing the layout, but since each layout is now years in the making, with many links checks long overdue, my aim is to put a dent in that this year.

That may seem like a short list for a year’s worth of projects, but as I said, I’m being realistic. My free time is very limited, plus there are always other distractions, as I’ve described here:
http://www.rusted-crush.com/eclectic/todos.html

P.S. As of this year, my on-going maintenance has been made slightly easier, because I no longer run the “official” Jack Bristow fanlisting. In late 2016, while I was involved in finishing the eclectic redo, I neglected to update the JB fl, and TheFanlistings.org happened to check and found “inactivity.” I’m sure they emailed to warn me, but the address they have for me is one I no longer use (whoopsie!), and so I never got the message. Ah, well. :shrug: The last fan joined in July of 2012; for that reason, I did not reapply to be reinstated. Plus, while I have been glad for it to be the Jack Bristow fanlisting … for the last 15(!) years…  it will *awesome* to not have to update that site every two months to keep some “signs of life.”

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new layout for eclectic – done!

Posted: November 26, 2016 in FYI, siteupdates

The website re-do that I mentioned way back in April is – finally – done!

http://www.rusted-crush.com/eclectic/index.html

new layout for eclectic

Posted: April 16, 2016 in FYI, siteupdates

I have accomplished much on the new eclectic layout, but applying it to the site will not be finished (or, um, started) by April 18, as I ambitiously planned. However, if I am correctly estimating the amount of work left to be done, I believe a more realistic goal is to finalize and post the layout by the end of this year.

Barring any sudden need/inspiration to redesign, the layout is 95% complete. Below is a sneak peek, with the banner I started with plus the final (?) result.

zyecl2016

 

website update schedule

Posted: September 13, 2014 in FYI, siteupdates

I recently took some time to evaluate my website project to do lists. And I realized that nearly every week I was putting effort into tasks such as logging into free accounts, posting to free photo galleries, and checking my fan website polls and recording the results “just in case” that free service suddenly shut down. I was doing all of this to avoid having my account(s) cancelled for inactivity and/or to keep some signs of life at my websites, so visitors would know they haven’t been abandoned.

However, it occurred to me that a large portion of my *very* limited free time was being spent on chores I now deem “maintenance,” and this has been keeping me from the projects I enjoy, such as working on some of the new layout ideas I’ve been compiling for years.

So, in order to correct this and focus on higher priorities, I am relegating most maintenance-type activities to one day three times a year, with the current plan being the second Saturday in October, February, and June. Not every site/account will be updated at that time, and some updates will occur at other times, but with this “schedule,” visitors can have a general idea of when to check for new material at my websites.

I’ll reply here if my so-called maintenance plans change.

website review: Sitemeter dot com

Posted: September 28, 2013 in review, siteupdates

website review: Sitemeter.com

Pros/Things I like
-The service is free.
-It’s been around for years, and (from what I can tell) has been fairly reliable.
-They record various data about your site’s visitors, including what browser they use, screen resolution, etc.
-My favorite feature is the “last 100 referrers” to my websites. To me, where my visitors are coming from is at least as important as how many total visitors I receive. None of the other counters that I’ve tried offered this. (Although, to be honest, it’s been years since I added a counter, or tried any new counter service. The current offerings may vary.)

Cons/Limitations/Things I don’t like
-I think it does require registration.
-If your page receives only few visitors over a long period of time, they will cancel your counter for inactivity.
-Their reliability may be more questionable than I thought. See below.

Additional Comments
I have 8 or so Sitemeter counters, because of the Pros listed above. However, last month, the Sitemeter counter recorded zero weekly visitors for a site that had more than that. [My website host also tracks the number of visitors to my pages… but I leave the Sitemeter for convenience and comparison.] This made me check my other Sitemeters… and some, but not all of them, were doing the same thing.

Seeing that this was happening, I briefly considered looking for a new counter. Ultimately lack of time made me opt to wait and see what happened.

I checked again this weekend, and all of the counters that had been stuck at zero were working again.

But! I decided to make a note of the current stats, for my records, just in case they went down again, or ultimately disappeared. And for one of my larger sites, I had previously made a note of the stats back on March 8, 2010. I found the difference quite interesting.

Total Visits as of September 21, 2013: 229,969
Total Visits as of March 8, 2010: 230,983

So…in over three years, my site has had negative 1,000 visitors? o.O

As I said above, I’m left wondering whether Sitemeter’s service is less reliable than I thought. Still, for now, the bottom line is that I’ll continue using them. I just take the data they produce with an even bigger grain of salt!

– ~ *^ ~ –

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.

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webmaster tips and tricks
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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:

http://www.rusted-crush.com/webtips.html

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.

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more webmaster tips
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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.

* thesaurus.com – 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.

* msn.com – 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…

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PHP
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**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!

– ~ *^ ~ –

A “webmaster tip” is if you don’t have time (or HTML skillz) to set up a fan website, collect your data onto a message board or forum.

Lately I’ve noticed that there are some extremely well-organized message boards that could compete nicely with just about any fan website in terms of content offered. Based on that, some ideas for starting a fan forum include:

* If it’s a TV show, have an Episodes section with one thread for each of the episodes. You could start the thread with an episode summary, and then direct viewers to add relevant quotes or comments in the appropriate thread. (Note that if you don’t feel like writing episode descriptions of all episodes, start with just those for your favorites eps. Especially if it’s a hard-to-find series: I bet someone would love to read it, and something is better than nothing!)

* Don’t forget a “general” section to catch those topics that don’t fit in a specific episode.

* As the forum grows you can add sections for character info, fanfiction, fanart, etc. – anything that a “normal” website would have.

* A board can be an especially effective form of getting online if there’s not a lot of info on the ‘Net for your topic. Plus, the more visitors your forum gets, the more people you have to help you add content such as reviews, quotes, trivia, etc.

* One down side of having a forum, though, is that some people will avoid it simply because they’ve seen too many message boards with only opinions to offer. But if you’ve got good content, and you can stick with it until your board starts showing up in searches, there’s a good chance that people *will* find you – and keep coming back!

And not just for forums, but some general webmaster tips:

* Remember that it’ll take quite a bit of work to compile a good selection of content and organize it. Adding a little bit at a time is fine, but if you undertake the project, please stick with it! The ‘Net already has far too many unfinished and neglected projects.

* PLEASE don’t have light text on a dark page for any thing that requires a lot of reading. Your visitors’ eyes will thank you.