Archive for the ‘siteupdates’ Category

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:

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.

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!

– ~ *^ ~ –

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.

website updates

Posted: September 3, 2011 in siteupdates

I’ve been very busy lately with website projects, and I’m glad to announce that I’ve actually accomplished some things:

* updated my BtVS/Angel quotes site with a new layout:
Laugh Lines, Love Lines

* updated my 9/11 memorial page with a new layout and new content:

* contributed to a small transcript archive:
The Mad Archiver

ideas for content for a fan website

Posted: January 28, 2011 in siteupdates

If you’re thinking of starting a fan website, here are some ideas for content you could include for your topic:

pros: This type of information is something people search for.
cons: If they’re not original to your site, or if you don’t have complete information (and added in a timely manner for current topics), you can lose visitors to other sites.

pros: Again, this type of information is something people search for.
cons: And again, if your site offers incomplete or unoriginal data, visitors will likely look elsewhere.

pros: This may be the easiest kind of content to write because you simply rant/rave about your topic. Also, it’s original.
cons: Some people prefer facts about a topic rather than another person’s opinion.

pros: It’s original.
cons: Writing fan fiction is easy; writing good fan fiction is… another story (pun intended). Also, some people won’t even try new fics after having seen too much of it done badly.

pros: It’s original.
cons: Graphics can take up a lot of server space. Plus, using other people’s photos can be a target for copyright infringement issues.

When thinking of what content to include in your fan website, consider the type of content that *you* look for.

And whatever type of content you choose:
* Make it as original and as complete as possible.
* Present it in an organized way. (Having great content is useless if visitors can’t find it!)
* Don’t be afraid to start small and then expand as time/interest allows. (Please, no “Coming Soon” or “Under Construction” pages.)

website update – Angel’s Secrets

Posted: December 18, 2010 in siteupdates

At *long* last, the posting of the new site layout at Angel’s Secrets is complete!

And while applying the new look I took the time to do some much-needed cleanup, combining small pages with similar content and doing away with pages that were outdated. It took months (seriously, I started collecting ideas for the new layout back in March!) to accomplish, but I think the result is an efficient site that also looks good.

What do you think? Feedback about the new layout would be much appreciated!