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  • Helpful Websites for People Building Websites
  • Conclusion   .

    It seems like most websites are designed so the webmaster can show off. Or, if we wish to be more gracious, they are designed for the bandwidth of tomorrow. I'm not in favor of being ahead of the curve on bandwidth. When most people have T1 lines, we'll know how to use that bandwidth. Meanwhile, here are Toni Will-Harris's rules edited to include my thoughts.

    N: Improve content & graphics (getting the client to do the most work)

    For a start, let's ask the client to gather up all that he has on floppy disks. Most content will be in Word Perfect or MS Word. Someday I'll have a client who does a good job of preparing material for the web, but I haven't found him or her yet. Then lets convert all those documents to html thru the "save as" command. (Of course, if the source material is straight text with no word processing enhancements, then it's easier to save it as a text file and use that as your website source material.) Now, here is a critical moment -- who has the best translator from word processing to html. I've concluded that Star Office 5.0 is the best choice. It produces far simpler html than MS Word does (for a complicated document). That's important if you are the person who's going to carry it forward. No translation is perfect; rarely is a translation even satisfactory. So give yourself a break and get a free download of Star Office 5.0 for translating MS Word to html. If your source material is in Word Perfect, then first load it into MS Word and save it as a Word file because Star Office does not seem to have a filter to enable it to load a Word Perfect file.

    As stated above, I want to work with the html code. Bill Parke has developed the WebTek HTML Editor, a plain-text editor enhanced for composing HTML documents, that has an important added benefit in that it has a splendid help system explaining html code. This is not a WYSIWYG.

    I've struggled with how to get my clients to improve or enhance pages html pages. For that you probably need a WYSIWYG. I've more work to do on this, but my present approach is to let them edit my compiled page with Front Page, Page Mill, or whatever html editor they have. Then I strip out the header and use the body element as my source text, all under program control.

    Another big improvement in content and efficiency may lie in VML Graphics. This is a new proposal from the W3C group to allow you to draw high-quality vector graphics directly in your web page. I recommend you attend Adrian Smith's presentation on this at the Orlando conference.

    O: Promote the website.

    I've done nothing to promote my websites except provide good content and good metatags. I have a very active public and a great deal of traffic (see "Q" below).

    P: E-commerce

    On-line queries, secure socket layer, fulfillment, .... I've not started working here yet, but I sure look forward to it. And I'm glad Fred Waid is there to show the way.

    Q: Measure the effectiveness of the website.

    Webtrends is the service I use for information about the use of my websites. It is licensed and operated by my ISP at a cost to me of $10 per month for each domain name. It provides a wealth of statistics and you can look at my reports for SwimGold and for the Morikami Museum. These reports for July show 213,000 hits in 16,000 user sessions for SwimGold and 26,000 hits in 3,600 user sessions for the Morikami Museum website. We could have a workshop on analyzing web traffic reports. Measurement is complicated by the fact that hits are not counted when they come from the browser's cache. Further these sorts of measures don't tell you much about the value people find in the website.

    R: System Infrastructure

    This could be a big topic, but I'll limit it here to a tool for making backups called ParkeNet File Manager by Bill Parke. It is an explorer-like file manager for Windows 9x, with file synchronization functions, and many other features.

    Helpful Websites for People Building Websites



    This page will be periodically updated and will be maintained on the web at ../../quickrite/fasttrak.htm. By using it in your browser, all the URL's to helpful websites are available with a mouse click.    Have fun!

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