Web Page Help >>> HTML And Web Page

Hints and Tips that will save you time, and aggrivation!


This page contains information that I found useful in creating my page. My advice is subjective, and I will never claim to be the last word in page building! I have tidbits of information that I read and gathered over a long period of time. Plus, a little bit of my experiences, too. I have a LOT of links (on another page) to lots of pages for specific "how-to".

What's covered on this page:

backup

resolution

page file sizes

use proper URLs

read instructions

promote
your page

browsers

HTML standards

HTML validators

under construction

site theme /
lay out pages

gimmicks - toys +
novelty items

finding a
lost page

saving info
from the Internet

for every
page + website!


Using proper URL's [Universal Resource Locator = web address] especially at GeoCities ... but pertains to ANY webhost's pages.
MOST ANY server is case sensitive, especially when it comes to file names. For example: all of GeoCities' neighborhoods use upper and lower case letters. Get used to typing in URL's the way that GeoCities (or your host) gave it to you in your sign-up email, for example,
http://www.geocities.com/ Heartland/Estates/5555/ ... not /heartland/estates/
If you get into the habit now, you won't risk giving your URL out to someone (or some search engine, or some link from someone else's page?!?) and have anyone trying to get to your page, NOT be able to reach your pages, because the server won't deliver them unless they're written properly.

AND you need to "properly finish off" EVERY URL.

  • That means put a forward slash "/" at the end, Heartland/Estates/5555/
  • or list the page name, like 5555/index.html
    (a link checker / verifying service WILL NOT check any links that are not properly finished off! It will ignore all links that don't end in / or .html or .htm)
  • Yes, you might not be having any problem - Geocities has "redirects" up for MOST residential addresses in Geo, but, a) not ALL, and b) if the re-direct delays getting to your page, a search engine COULD think your site is inaccessable and not there! If you want to test this, next time you type in your Geocities url with all lower case letters, once your page has begun to load, LOOK to see in the location box - has it been changed to upper/lower case? If it hasn't, you (and your visitors) will get the "oops - we couldn't find that page" page! [back to top]  

    Saving information from the Internet.
    Have you ever been to a web page that has information that you want to 'keep', but it's too much to write down? And/or you don't want to print the whole web page, which might be several printed pages long? You can 'save that page' to your computer and later (off-line) copy it to a .txt or word processing document and edit/keep/print whatever part you want to. While you're on the page you want to keep, go to: File | choose 'Save as ...' and find a folder you want to put it in. You can rename the document, or leave as is, but for now, leave the '.htm or .html' extention on it. Later, off-line, you can open/view that .html page in your browser, then open notepad, (or wordpad, or .doc) and copy the text from the .html page, into your notepad/doc. Save the file, or print it out and delete everything if you'd like. If you have a HTML editor, then you probably know how to do this in a much easier way -- if you don't, email me; I'll be glad to write out the steps to tell you how to get a 'clean' printout without the extra work of editing out the HTML. [back to top] 

    Ever get lost following links and get a "File Not Found" page?
    And it wouldn't be so bad ... except ... that was something you were interested in and really wanted to see?

    Try backing up. No *grin*, not using your "back button", but try to back up on the URL that you were trying to go to. Maybe they're still there, but they just moved some pages around within their site. Lets say you were at my Geo site, and saw a graphic set that you previously bookmarked, but wanted to wait till later to get. Your bookmark (or link you followed) reads as:
    [ to make it easier for you to "follow along" I put the url parts in colors: ]
    http://www.geocities.com/roxys-place/FlrlGrnry/4ClematisGrfx.html
    See if the FlrlGrnry subdirectory is still there by taking off the "4ClematisGrfx.html"
    [ place your curser at end of URL in the location box, have it blinking, and use the backspace key ]
    http://www.geocities.com/roxys-place/FlrlGrnry/
    No? That's gone, too? Last, but not least, take off FlrlGrnry/ and back up all the way to
    http://www.geocities.com/roxys-place/
    and see if the SITE is still there. If so, you can probably find your way to what you were looking for!! In this case, since I moved most of my website, you'd find a note and link to my new site at Autumn Web.

    I have found many a site "rearranged the furniture" (I do it on occasion, too), but the information is still there!! Just have to "back up" and find it. [back to top]

    .

    No specific 'problem', just want to know where specific 'How To' information is?
    On another page {4Links2Help List}, I have some links to wonderful information sources and they will grow as I revisit each of my bookmarked sites.

    I said on another page: I cannot stress enough ~ backup! backup! backup! ~
    Whether you use GeoCities Editors, another Web Host's Editors, or your own editor on your computer to create your page; make sure you have a copy that is safely stored on your computer, on floppy disks, on zip disks, or on a CD! Systems go down, things happen, and you don't want the heartache of loosing your hard work because of this.

    If you use Geo's editors and want to save a copy of your pages and your graphics to your harddrive, you can do that while you are in File Manager. It shows you all your files and between the file name and the date you last updated the file, is the word "View" which is linked to your page. Just right click on that word, choose "Save Link As ... " and you can place that file in a folder in your computer. That will save the HTML file or graphic that you have clicked on. Do that for each HTML file and each graphic file you have. THEN -- make sure your computer's files are backed up!

    IF you are unable to save your files while you're in File Manager, or, using a different web host you don't have a file manager type option, you will have to visit each page of yours, from the menu at the top of your browser, choose "File" and then "Save as ..." and put ALL your HTML files and graphics into a folder on your computer. You will have to right click on each one of the graphics, including the background, to save them to your computer. You can then move them to floppy disks or zip drive disks if you are short of space on your harddrive. Please remember, if you save your page while looking at it on the Internet, MAKE SURE that you REMOVE all of the coding that Geocities (or other free hosts) puts on your page - for the popups, for the watermark, or whatever ad delivery system they have - or you will end up "hardcoding" those in your page. That means every visitor to your page will get TWO popups, TWO watermarks, or TWO ads! [back to top] 

    Tip: You have NO idea of how important reading instructions completely -- TWICE can be!
    I was able to use many of the Geocities utilities, and many other on-line applications with no problems. AFTER I read the instructions a second and third time, and finally realized that I wasn't following them to the letter!! (daahhh Mom!) Once I followed them, everything worked!! Reading the Help Files/Pages was extremely useful, too. Same thing goes for reading the instructions/manual for software, or for installing a program. I have learned to listen to (well ... read what they say) from those that should know! [back to top] 

    teddy bear image  Roxanne M. Flanagan 1-97bunny image  Roxanne M. Flanagan 1-97Some people love gimmicks, some hate 'em. Depending on the topic or theme of your pages, you may end up driving people away by having "too much" javascript, animated gifs, page fade-in, active-X, shockwave, frames or even extremely graphic backgrounds and bright colored text. Simply having too many animated graphics on one page WILL freeze some people's browsers!!
    Unusual backgrounds can be cleverly used -
    but you should make sure the background doesn't "kill" the text, and it can be easily read.
    Your text may need to be bigger, or bolder, or a different color to show up well against the background. Even if you're sure - ask someone you trust for a second opinion. This background is very mild, light enough that you can still read the text if I keep it large and bold enough.

    New "toys" and novelty items.
    PLEASE ... please ... please ... if you are going to use java, DHTML, active-x, and those types of features on your pages ... PLEASE learn how to do/write them correctly!! If you write "bad code" you will crash people's browsers and they will absolutely hate you for it ... they will never be back AND spread the word to stay away from YOUR page! [back to top]  

    Differences in browsers being used on the Internet.
    I'm sure, you're aware of the Netscape/Microsoft browser war. Well guess what? Whatever one you love and use, there are things that the other one(s) WON'T be able to 'read or interpret' the same way you intended when you created your page!! I put this here to let people know if you're creating pages that use html coding or have 'applications and extensions' that are not supported (recognized + read) by the other browser(s) ... you're creating pages that only SOME people can view as you intended them to look ... if at all. Beware of the "latest and greatest" of gimmicks that the editors "brag about having" ... do you know what's the percentage of people that will be able to see those "nifty things"?? There's a percentage of internet users who have browsers that aren't even up to standards, much less those "extra, non-standard" things. And whatever browser you do have, it's a good idea to keep up with the updates and patches (especially the security patches) that the manufacturer puts out, sometimes months after after the version is released. [back to top] 

    I started out using Netscape Navagator Golds 3-3.04 HTML Editor. I loved it because it is a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) Editor, and I could "see" my pages exactly as others will - while I created them! Including background images (like the graphic background you see here) and when placing my graphic images on the pages. And didn't add any "junk code"! Now, I use Macromedia's Dreamweaver. It is a DREAM to work with! Doesn't add "junk code". It writes HTML pretty much to HTML standards, which means 98% of the browsers being used CAN view my pages with no problem. You cannot say that about every HTML editor! I did purchase a couple of books (with pictures for examples!), the investment was WELL worth it! [back to top]

    Tip: Regarding frames, style sheets, dynamic HTML, flash, and layers and other applications that are supported ONLY by the newer browsers. If you want your page to be viewed by only some the Internet cruisers, don't offer a frames-free (style sheet free, etc.) version of your page. There are many people that simply dislike frames. There's too many people you'd turn away at your 'front door' if you don't have a frames-free, etc. option right up front. Do you realize that half the people on the Internet, are with AOL. And that AOL's browser is a 'specialized version' made compatible with AOL, but NOT a full-version browser that can "see" what's found on the Internet?!?!?! To see some percentages found by someone who did a detailed study, see another (short) page. [back to top]  

    Make sure you know (or have a list of) and follow all the HTML standards.
    Even if you use an editor to create your page, you still need to know the HTML basics because editors can't do everything. Also, you'll be ahead by knowing what HTML tags will be read by what browsers. Yes, there is a new HTML standard of 4.0, but if you create your page using html tags that older browsers can't see or read - you're cutting off visitors!! I have the most common HTML tags (per 3.2 standards) with discriptions on what they do, on the HTML tags page in this site. [back to top]

     
    So what can you do about it?? Validate your HTML, it's free, easy, and the report that NetMechanic puts out will make it VERY easy for you to understand what needs to be adjusted and tweaked so you're not stopping people at "your front door" (i.e. first page of your site.)

    The HTML validators will tell you exactly what coding cannot be read by a majority of browsers - if you ask it to check your page according to HTML standards.
    This is ALSO a great way to find out where you've made a HTML "oops" and are having problems with your page!! Net Mechanic http://www.netmechanic.com/ More information on another page.

    Tip: However you can:
    A) look at your pages with a different browser (friend's?),
    B) a different size screen,
    C) turn the images off on your browser,
    D) a different color resolution (256 limit on colors may make your background - or other people's backgrounds that YOU see - look downright UGLY), and
    E) a different size resolution. My pages look quite different on the: 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768, 1152x864, and the 1280x1024 resolutions. Nobody mentions this!! And I used to think if I wanted to 'see more of a page' on the screen, I had to buy a bigger monitor! I found things positioned themselves very differently at each resolution - and I needed to 'fix' things, so that my text started AFTER the large graphic, instead of half on top of it !! YOU can't control what resolution your visitors will be using, so make sure your pages look the best in ALL of them!! I use "QuickRes" to quickly check my pages in each of the above resolutions - it's easy, just a few clicks of the mouse, no restarting your computer! You can get them free from Microsoft's site, look for the downloads section. [back to top]

    You don't know how to change the resolution for your computer?
    If you're using Win95, while on your desktop, go to a 'blank' area and right-click the mouse. Choose 'Properties', then select 'Settings'. There is a 'Desktop Area' slide bar with (at least some of) the number choices listed above. Choose the next step up (more) to start, but you can keep the setting at whatever you are comfortable with. The higher the numbers, the smaller the text will be on the screen, but the 'more of a page' you will see in your browser. Also, while you're in there, if your setting is for '256 color', you can select High Color (16 bit) or True Color (24 bit) -- if your monitor and/or video card will handle it, and you may have to change the refresh rate settings, too -- and you will see the colors a LOT better. Click 'OK' and you're done.
    If you want to print out the above information about your resolution ... see this page, print it, and come back. [back to top] 

    Tip: Underconstruction signs.
    They're widely used, and some are even cute. My pages are continually updated, and I don't have a single 'construction' sign up. Actually, when you think about it, when someone's been to your page, if you DIDN'T update or change it ... why would they ever come back? 

    Did you use a paper and pencil to lay out/outline your pages before you started?
    It's not too late! Try to get to the point on your first page, or at lease give people an idea of what your site is about. Can you split your pages into logical sections? Do they logically branch from a central 'core' page? Do you have a consistent theme throughout the entire site? Do the color(s), style, fonts and graphics compliment each other? I started out with one page and it grew! ;^D ... I was grateful to have read the above advice early on, so I was able to organize what I had at the time, and plan for the pages I added later (and who says I'm done yet??). [back to top]  

    One of the most frustrating things is waiting for a site to load.
    Many things affect this. It's recommended that each page should be no more than 50K -- although 30K is about the limit for editing a page in some free web host's editors. (You can upload a larger html file, but you won't be able to do any editing on it through the editor once it's up.) If you use the same line/bar graphic throughout a page, it'll load only once, and fills in the rest. Graphics are always more 'bite heavy' than text, animated graphics usually much more, and large graphics, like photos, even more!
    To help load pages FASTER for you, no matter what the page-builder has done, you can change how your browser loads pages you view. In Netscape, I have chosen under "Options - General Preferences - Images" to load the text FIRST, then images. Since images will always take a bit longer to load anyway, this way, I can at least start reading the page while they're loading! See Image below:

    Settings for Browser Loading text first, then images. this image  Roxanne M. Flanagan 1-97

    Don't be afraid to promote your page!!
    Learn where to go and what to do. If you've created a page you want to show off -- submit it to be listed in the proper category of AltaVista, HotBot, InfoSeek and the rest of the search engines. You can use the free submission services to list your pages with the search engines, or you can go to each one and put your information in yourself. Whatever topic people are searching out, you want them to find you, too. Note: Yahoo is NOT a search engine! It is a "Directory". People review the items submitted for listing, and decide if it is "good enough" or "popular enough" for them to list.
    ALSO - change your browser settings to open on YOUR home page, not the default one that came with your browser or was programmed by your ISP. With Netscape, that can be changed in the "Options - General Preferences - Appearance" or v4.5 "Edit - Preferences - Navigator" and the URL where the browser "starts" can be changed. At least you can help your page's numbers by starting there every day! [back to top]

    Browser starting at your homepage URL image  Roxanne M. Flanagan 1-97

     
    Tip: Put a title on every page you do.
    What you title your page, is the words that will show up when someone bookmarks your page. It ALSO helps search engines find your pages! If you don't put a title in, it will default to showing: http://www.geocities.com/ whatever-url-is in their bookmarks. Look /\UP/\, at the top of your browser. If you bookmarked/add to favorites this page, your bookmark/favorite would say: "HTML Hints & Tips ~ Web Page Help" AND the search engines pick up that information - so if you were to search for "HTML help" (two of the words in the title), odds are, my page will be in that list somewhere (even if it's item #482 !). Of course, when you bookmark my page, you can edit your bookmarks to have it say whatever you would like, too ~ i.e. remove everything after the ~ if you would like to. Example of how to make a title is on the "HTML tags Basics" page.

    robots.txt files
    These are files that search engine's robots look for, and are supposed to abide by. Most do, but there will always be someone programming a robot that chooses not to obey the 'rules' that you place in that file. For example, if you have a section (directory) on your website that you don't want listed at search engines, then you can 'disallow' this section to be viewed and reported by the s.e. robot. Problem: if your website is hosted at a free place (like Geocities) you cannot have a robots.txt file, because that file needs to be placed in the ROOT directory, i.e. in the main directory of http://www.geocities.com/ -- placing it in the files at http://www.geocities.com/~your_address will do no good, robots won't read it there. An example of a robots.txt file (in text format) is here. More information on robots.txt files is available at Danny Sullivan's Search Engine Watch website. [back to top]

    Speaking of which ... What You Need To Know About Search Engines!
    Everything you need to know is at Danny's SearchEngineWatch.com website. There is a ton of free information there, and they also have a paid subscriber area. I am a paid subscriber, and I recommend you read, understand, and do everything he tells you about in the free section first. THEN if you want to, become a subscriber. There is just too much information to absorb, too many things to do regarding the suggestions, in both sections to try to do it all at once. And it is great information! You will be successful at getting your website listed at search engines and directories if you become "a student of 'the master'!", honest!! [back to top]

    Last, but not least, put your URL & email address on (the bottom?) of ALL your pages.
    Often, if you have something on your page that others want to "keep" or "share" with others, they will print it out, or save that page to their harddrive. Without your URL being viewed somewhere on the page, they may not be able to find your site again ... and those that they share the information with ... will have NO idea of how to find your site unless your URL and/or email address is listed. Look at the bottom of this page ... it's small, but it's there, right with the email address! If my page is printed or saved, anyone can find this site again! AND my email address is "showing" because some browsers don't "work" with the "mailto:" links. Every visitor that comes to my pages (or sees a print-out) can find my email addy. [back to top]

    Above all, remember ... you put your page there to be viewed by other's.
    Keep in mind that a frustrated visitor
    probably won't be a visitor for long, it's easy to 'move on'.
    AND you can be sure they WON'T tell their friends abut your site,
    or be willing to put up a link to your page!


    Are you actually still with me?!?!
    To borrow a line from ancient (but classic !) TV ...
    (Jackie Gleason) "And aaawwwaaaayyyyyy we go" ...


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