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Newbie Information - What you should and should not include on your web pages

Things to avoid

The debate goes on should you put a counter on your site? What's it there for? Well, you say with shrug of your shoulders, and bit of bafflement in your eye. To count the visitors to my site! Mmmm, but then everyone can see how well your NOT doing as well. (Besides counters do not mean anything because you can change the numbers!!!)

Think carefully before you put a page counter on the opening page of your site, unless you're Yahoo! or Netscape and get thousands of hits per day. Ask yourself this question: Do your visitors really need to know they're the nth person to grace your site that day?  It makes absolutely no difference to them.  What's more, if you look at most of the award winning sites on the Internet, you'll see counters are conspicuous by their absence.

If you want a counter to demonstrate to potential advertisers how popular your site is, then a better bet is to provide a link to an HTML analysis of your access logs. A record of your access logs provides a far more accurate number than a counter. A favorite tracker of mine is Extreme Tracker,  you install some code on your page.  They give you a URL to access all kinds of detailed info about who is visiting your site, where they’re coming from, when they’re coming, what browser’s they’re using, and a whole bunch more. The Loyalty Index tells you how many times they have visited you repeatedly or if this is their first visit. You can even view the statistics by day, month or even year."

Counters can show the numbers of 'hits' you're getting from search engines and agents, and so skew the genuine popularity of the site.

You could make a counter using FrontPage. Or you can go get a free one. You can get them complete with stats as well. You can obtain Free Counters and stats choose one that can be made invisible.

What more can you ask for?

What about news feeds or quotes to your site?  Do you want to be up to the minute? You can either trawl around looking for news yourself or have it feed directly to your page.

The most brilliant thing you can do on the net is to listen look and learn, to that end subscribing to a few helpful newsletters that bring you helpful advice and good content is a must.  I subscribe to so many I have lost count. I don't know about Netscape but Microsoft let you register at their site (you need the number off one of your Microsoft products I used my FrontPage 98 disc) and you can then subscribe to their newsletters of which they have quite a few and in different fields.

Here is a list of some of the ones that I subscribe to and I will tell you why.  They bring me information that I would have to go looking for. I still surf the net, but if you need some starting points in order to end up with some useful sites these guys do the business. Of course you can find Newsletters about all sorts of subjects but if it is web design and maintaining a site or your computer these guys tell it like it is.

Was Internet day now called Clickz
They send you an article that is almost always of some relevance to maintenance of your site. How to search search engines for instance. Now you could go find this kinda web site with info out there but here it is concise with pointers to other sites for more information all packaged up in a neat little ball.  Never mind that it is geared to business users, if you want a professional or semi-professional look to your site take note of what these guys say. You won't regret it.

Oh yes I could do with one of those you say. Well these guys are full of FreePints for everyone. Every two weeks that is. Free Pint is a free email newsletter for anyone who uses the Internet to get information for their work in any business or organisation. The newsletter is written by professionals who share how they find quality and reliable information on the Internet.

If you're trying to promote a business online, this NL is full of tips, in words you can understand. They have included a marketing tip of the week and a featured article.   

This is the fourth and final newsletter I am directing you to. I will list some others that I subscribe to on the web design page under free newsletters. These four are however I feel the best all-round help newsletters about web design and site promotion that you could read. These are the four I look forward to getting in my mail box. Particularly Lockergnome , because Chris Pirello writes it in a Michael Winner way. Down to earth and humorous! Read on!

His NL is all about downloads for windows and fixes for problems you might have. Not exactly web design but the programs he tells about are so helpful, I feel this NL would benefit you.


Leave a breadcrumb trail back to your home page from any page on your site. This lets surfers know where their at, and they can jump to any higher point without having to travel back through every link in the place!

Search me

Every web page needs their own search facility, or at the very least a link to one.  Surfers will and can get lost so this is very important.  Since you don't know where they are going to get lost you need to provide an escape route on every page!

Intelligent links

Too many web designers want to meddle with every aspect of a Web page, yet this is the one area which is a definite no-no: colour coding of Web page links. Now I am guilty of this, when I first started using FrontPage, as you do you mess around with everything seeing what works and what does not.  Themes links cannot be changed unless you go to the theme designer change the link colours and resave the theme with a different name.  When your not using a theme this is easily changed in background.   However not knowing this I tried everything to change the colours, well I managed it. Er, you just said you could not do that in themes? I hear you mutter.  Ha hah...not if you use style sheets. However, this is not supported in all browsers and versions and also it really messes up your links.  The only solution I had was to change the theme. This is what I did. From Blends to capsules, this time my own version. Using the font I had wanted to use. 

You see why changing link colours is such a no-no.  Browsers change link colours to show where visitors have traveled and which parts of your site still await them. If you mess around with this scheme, and visitors can't figure out where they've been or where they still have to go, they can get frustrated. That I'm afraid means they leave and in drovessss.

One thing to note well here is the fact that browsers can be configured to view sites according to their owners likes and dislikes. So either right click then select Page Properties and Background and either select your text background and link colours or configure one page say the index page, so that when you want to change things globally you can. Or click Format Background and the same as above. - This is a very important aspect you must not forget. If you want a quick laugh visit the premier site on the web and configure your browser to bright pink even the big boys get it wrong!

The part's other designers don't reach

Don't forget the parts people can't see. When your site is indexed by Web crawlers, it will have random text on the hit list unless you make it otherwise.  Be smart and use Meta tags to provide descriptive text at the search engine. You can use up to around 200 words. It's the professional thing to do.

<title>Here goes the title </title>

<meta name="description" content=" Here is the description">

<meta name="keywords"content="here, are, the, keywords">

Don't forget, if someone saves a page from your site and then loads it locally, the original URL is lost. Include an address on the page itself - in small type - or put it in a comment line in the original html.  Just place this comment code under the Head tag. Inserting your own url of course.

<!--saved from url=>

Remember, do your best to help your viewers if you want to keep them. 

For even more help with this aspect of your site my recommendation has to go to

Also let's give some thought to the table width holy war, closely related to the page width holy war.  Everyone can view a 640 x 480 page, almost everyone can view an 800 x 600 page without scrolling.  Far fewer people have 1024 x 768 - so the easy solution is don't use it.  On tables, use percentage width columns or pixel width columns.

Keep your visitors content

It's all about content, right? So get it right. Search for 'Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet' on the Net and you'll find thousands of pages where the words that should have replaced this dummy text never made it onto the page. Embarrassing in the extreme.

Never say a site is 'under construction' all sites are under construction. Better to say a site is in beta if you want feedback or need to test out your technical work on the net. This site is in beta and it always will be, because it will never be finished unless I abandon it or take it down. Visitors want constant renewal, and you must give them this if you want to see them again. Include things on your site if possible to interact with your public. Provide a reason for them to come back. Will you be back to this site? I hope so:)

Privacy Policy or statement

Do you need one? Yes you do, for help with this look below:

Online privacy and management are important to newbies who plan on conducting a lot of business on the internet.

Everything you need to know about dealing with privacy on your site, plus news, resources and more. 

Truste. (Free)
Rules and tools for protecting personal privacy online
How to Comply With The Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule USA specific
Data Privacy 
Data Protection
United Kingdom - UK Data Protection Registrar
United States - Federal Trade Commission

The Privacy Law Sourcebook ISBN: 1893044041
is updated and expanded for 1999 to include the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, and new legislation introduced to comply with the EU Data Directive. Also included is an extensive new section on privacy resources with useful web sites and contact information for privacy agencies, organizations, and publications.


Do you need one? Yes you do.

To make a disclaimer just look at other people's site's and see how they word theirs and tweak it to fit in with yours. Take a peak at mine