Robyn's Web Tips for New Web Masters
Web Page Tips
Last Updated: 4/5/06
Web Site Content and Originality
Contact Information and Answering E-mails
Allowing for Expansion
Copyrights and Plagiarism
- The key to a good web site is originality. You should be able to write the bulk your web site
straight from your mind without referring to anything. Then, you know it is original as far as
experiences, ideas, and so on. I am writing these pages off the top of my head. Then, you go
back and proofread, add in links, quotes from others, references, etc.
- Original photos, videos, etc. add a lot of a site.
- Do not use copyrighted materials from others without permission. This includes quotes,
photos, computer code, etc. Ask permission to use photos, text, etc. If the person replies to the
e-mail, they almost always say okay. Any text that you did not write should be in quotes with a
reference. I use just the first name and date unless the person requests more. Any photos that
you get permission to use also should note that you did not take the photo. I say something like,
"Joe sent me this photo on 3/27/06."
- It is generally okay to provide the name of a book or link to a web site without requesting
permission. They would not have the book if they did not want to sell it. They would not have
the web site on the internet if they did not want the word of it to be spread around.
- Do NOT lie on your web site. You may be found out. In truth, most people do not care if
you have some advanced degree or did something extraordinary. They are on your site for the
information or product that they can use not to worship you.
- Avoid things on your site that people find offensive. Your web site should be child-friendly.
If it is by its nature meant for adults, the main page should have a disclaimer saying such with a
password if possible. Certain blocking software may block your site if it contains what it deems
to be profanity. Even my main web site, because it has animals and must on occasion refer to
their private parts with the correct vocabulary, is blocked by some systems.
- Keep a paper list around so that when an idea comes into your mind, you can write it down.
Re-type the list every once in a while even if you don't have time to enact your ideas.
- Every page on your web site should have a link to a contact page at the top or bottom. I have
both. Nothing is more frustrating to people than not being able to find out who authored a site to
correspond with them.
- Create a contact page. This is better than just an e-mail link at the top or bottom for a few
reasons. First, you will get a lot less SPAM!! Also, this allows you to elaborate on the
information, conditions for sending e-mail, how to order products if sold, perhaps e-mail forms if
you want to do that, links, etc. Here is my contact page. You can
see how putting that at the bottom of every page would take too much room.
- The contact page should include an e-mail at the very least. If you are a business, it should
include a phone number and street address as well.
- Include some personal information on your site or contact page but only as it pertains to what
you are selling. If you are "selling" free information like I do, you tell them what qualifies you to
do so, what relevant degrees you might have, etc. If you are not qualified, tell them you are not.
They will greatly appreciate your honesty. I am not qualified to write a site on web site making
but here I am doing it! If you are selling a product, you would of course explain the company's
qualifications and each product being sold. You cannot have too information but it should be
organized so that, for example, a customer could click on "more information" to read more about
- Do not provide personal information that is not relevant to the purpose of your site.
- Please!! Actually answer e-mails and in a timely fashion! You will make more friends, trust
- When answering e-mails, always be cordial. Never get angry. Believe me, I have been
tempted! If the person then e-mails back angrily or that they were offended, say you are sorry
(even if you are not). You catch more bees with honey as they say. The customer (even if you
are not selling anything but rather just putting out information) is always right they say. In fact,
they are not but you have to make them think that they are! As someone who sifts through
hundreds of e-mails a day, you will come to learn what is junk, SPAM, hate mail, and legitimate
messages. I do sometimes reply to hate mail but usually I do not. Try not to be offended by any
e-mails you get. There are all sorts of people out there.
- Use the content of e-mails sent to you. With permission, you can use quoted text or sent
photos. Give them credit where credit is due. You can also use the questions to tell you in what
areas your web site is deficient. If you get the same question over and over again, it saves you a
lot of time just to write about that and put it on your web site. For a lot of the questions I get, I
can just refer them to a spot on my web site that covers that.
- Nothing is more irritating to a visitor than not understanding what is on your site. So, please,
check and double check spelling and grammar! If that is not your forte, then have someone
proofread your site. This is more important for businesses than individual sites. Everyone
misspells a word here or there but if I go to a site where, every few words, a word is spelled
wrong, I do not think too highly of the author.
- Keep sentences relatively short and to the point.
- Try not to repeat yourself.
- A visitor may not even get to that point if they could not load your page. Avoiding overly
large pages, big photos, and too much fancy code will allow the site to load faster. For those,
like myself, who have dial up at home, we give up on a site if it does not load in a minute. So,
make each web page no more than 5-10 pages long with just a few photos. About 5 pages is just
- Instead of having big photos, have text links to photos or thumbnails which are smaller
versions of the photo. When the visitor clicks on a thumbnail, the big photo comes up. Making
thumbnails is more work so I use text links for most photos.
- On every page, the visitor should be able to find the copyright years of the site, the
author/webmaster's name (unless they want it hidden), an ability to navigate (see the next
section), and a link to an e-mail or contact information. Businesses should include phone and
address on the contact page.
- When listing a URL link, on a web site or in an e-mail, sometimes you have to add a space
before a period or comma following the URL, otherwise the reader may think that is included in
the URL. You can see this in the next section where I have a few links.
- Include proper spacing on the web page with occasional blank areas so that the eyes are not
overwhelmed. If text just runs on and on, it is hard to read.
- It is best to use black text on white. I like colors so I use mostly light colors but I do get a
LOT of e-mails with people complaining about it. It would take too much time to undo it, plus, I
like the colors. I would not, however, use a black or really dark background. I have seen such
pages, and I do not stay long because I cannot read it!
- Use tables and lists where it will make the page easy to understand and see.
- Be sure to check any altered pages before and after you put them up to be sure there are no
- So that visitors can find whatever they need, there should be a navigation bar or index of
some sort at the top of the page, top side, or bottom. The top is best. The nav bar should have
links to the main topics or subcategories on the site. If you have a large site like I do, you cannot
link to every page from there. Too many buttons confuses the visitor.
- Web pages should load in a reasonable amount of time. See above for more on that.
- If the site is more than a dozen separate URL's, then it should have a search capability for on
the site. You can have those written in code like mine is or done by any number of outside
companies. Most search engines have search options for within a site. Here is the one from
view , and here is the one from Bravenet: http://www.bravenet.com/webtool
s/search2/index.php . Both are free.
- Creating master indices and other places where people can go to get shortcuts to all the pages
on the site is a good idea. I have a master index which lists all my pages. When my site got too
big, I made subdirectories, each of which has its own master index linked from the main master
- All pages on the entire site should be able to be accessed from just 2 or 3 steps from the entry
page. Not only does this make finding pages easier but search engines will crawl (search) them
better. If I bury a site back in say http://www.fishpondinfo.com/fun/books/bats/purple/book.htm,
then nobody is ever going to find it! They also will never remember that URL. I do not
personally like sites with multiple subdirectories (each time you add a / , it goes to another
- Refer visitors to other pages on your site that are relevant to the discussion on a particular
- If a page has more than a few pages of text, it should have links/navigation within the page
itself. Most of my pages have an index at the top to quick link to that section. This page is an
- Before uploading changed web pages, check them on your computer to see if the links all
work. In some cases, you may have to do that when the site is up.
- If you have time to work on your site, it will grow and grow and grow. As my site grew, I
had to eventually add in subdirectories and renovate the site. If I had had the subdirectories in
place from the site, I cannot tell you how much time that would have saved me!
- Planning the layout of a site is very important. I am not sure what else to add right now.
See the above sections for more on photos.
- Photos should be kept small. If you have large photos, link to them from a text link or
thumbnails which are just miniature versions of the big picture.
- Only include photos that are not so great or out of focus if they are unique/rare enough to put
See the section above on Web Site Content and Originality for more on
this issue. I ended up writing most of what I wanted to say up there first!
- Do not plagiarize!
- If you did not write it, it must be in quotes with a name at the very least.
- All original (not stolen) content on a web site is automatically copyrighted.
- Do not share the e-mails of others on your web site without their permission.
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