Web Page Help
Once you have completed the construction of your web page and verified all of the links and resources, you are ready to place it on a web server for viewing. Once it is "uploaded," anybody anywhere in the world with access to the Internet will be able view your work. If you are unfamiliar with the uploading process, here is a brief summary of the necessary steps to follow so that you can transfer your pages from your computer to the EdZone server. Before you begin, you will need two things--(1) An FTP program which is available on the software page and (2) A separate folder on your hard allocated for all of your files (.html, .gif, and .jpg) associated with the web site to be consolidated within. Note: The file "index.html" must be located in the chief directory of this folder, because the web server will look for this file when it is called upon by your guests. Here is the procedure if you are using WS_FTP:
Launch the WS_FTP program.
A Connection window titled "Session Profile" should appear inside of the host window. If it does not, choose "Connect" from the horizontal menu bar that rests on the bottom of the window.
Enter "edzone.net" for the Host Name and enter your User ID and password in the appropriate places. Compare your window to the one shown below. Press OK to log on the server.
WS_FTP has two windows for file management. The window on the left shows the directory structure of your local system, and the window on the right should automatically show you the contents of the personal directory structure on the remote server where your web pages should go.
In the local system window, browse through your files and locate the folder that contains your "index.html" file as well as the accompanying files for your web site.
Use the left mouse button to highlight the files you wish to transfer to the server, and click on the right arrow button between the two windows to place a copy of the file into the opposite window (the remote server).
After you have completed the copying process, you can press the "exit" button in the lower right corner of the window. Your web site is now posted.
To access your web site, use your personalized EdZone address in the location box of your browser. (Example address: http://www.edzone.net/~pjenning) Share this address with others. E-mail the Webmaster with this address to gain a link to it from the EdZone User Pages.
The first step in designing a web site is the proper planning of its outline or structure of pages. A good idea in the initial development is to draw a flowchart or a diagram of the complete site starting from the home page (index.html) and stemming it into the separate areas where you will want to organize your information. This habit can not only benefit you in a way that allows ease of editing and organization of material, but also can be beneficial to your visitors for navigational purposes. A good site is one that is easy to browse and has its information where it can be easily located by others. Here is an example of a rough sketch you could make for a web site:
It is estimated that you have 15 seconds to convince a web surfer whether or not to move on to another site. Your opening page should consist of the idea behind your site. The elements of your entire site should be specified here briefly and clearly so that the viewer does become confused about the content or the navigational structure. Also, avoid a large amount of graphics that will weigh down the load time of the page and also avoid opening pages that are so lengthy that they require a lot of scrolling to view. If an instant attention "hook" is not in place, then a surfer in not likely to continue exploring your site.
Make sure that your site has lots of good, useful, and updated information that people want. Be direct and do not use complex terms that surfers may not understand. Ask someone else to proofread all of your text before you put your site online. If you don't have anything useful on your site for others, then no one will visit and no one will return after visiting.
Make sure that you have a simple navigation that is easy to understand and that is common throughout your entire site. Following the tree-like structure in the above diagram will help you and your visitors. Be careful of "cross-links" that can skip between the branches of your structure and confuse a visitor of his or her location from within your site. Also, another hint is to provide easy access to your opening page in case a surfer does an internet search and gets dropped into the middle of your site. A consistent roadmap will guide users to the information they want from your site and not leave them lost and frustrated.
Too many graphics on one page can delay loading times and become a hassle for surfers to enjoy the content of your site. Animated GIF files are indeed an enhancement, but too many animations can be distracting for viewers. One animated GIF per page is a good rule to abide by for emphasis on a particular portion of the page. It would be wise to experiment with graphic file sizes using various formats and try to achieve to smallest size possible without losing the quality you desire. In some cases, thumbnail images can be generated with an optional link to a different page if the user wishes to view the full scale version. With this method, visitors who are browsing do not have to wait for all of the graphics to load if they do not wish to view them anyway.
GIF files consist of 256 colors and should be used on items such as titles, logos, buttons, and bars where there are "patches" of similar color. This limited color palette greatly reduces the file size because a full color spectrum does not need to mapped in order to represent your graphic. On the hand, photographs are primarily represented in the JPG format because of the diversity of color. A JPG file maintains its color depth but sacrifices its resolution quality as they are further compressed.
Most web sites dry up because their content become static and there is nothing new to attract vistors back. Once someone has viewed all of the information they seek on your web page, there is seldom a reason to re-view it. Hence, web pages that are always changing and provide constant updates are the most successful because each time a surfer visits and repeats a visit he or she can see new material. News stories, contests, user input options, and surveys are ideas to keep a viewer's interest and provide a reason to re-visit at a future time. The EdZone home page is an example of a page that is always changing because users will expect the news articles or sites of the week to change regularly and provide fresh material. It is also a good idea to check for bad links occasionally. Having a corrupt link on your site not only causes frustration to the user, but also indicates poor management and lack of care toward your visitors.