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Webmasters Note: This is a on going editorial, with tips from viewers on web site creation and design. It's so good, I put it here instead of the SSSG section. If you wish to contribute any tips or hints, please contact the webmaster either though the submissions form, or by emailing direct at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the cut-throat corporate world, we are witnessing unprecedented billion dollar mega-mergers. The trend towards "big is better" has even descended on the cyberspace community. An obvious example is the consolidation of Starcraft premier sites.
The driving force is survival of the fittest which compels the pooling of various talents in collective creative effort. Small sites seem doomed in the face of such dominating giants.
Encouraging words of appreciation are certainly a powerful stimulus for small or first timers to keep up the struggle. But it puts the cart before the horse. To encourage there must first be something worthy of being encouraged.
It is up to the webmaster to make his site a joy to visit. Here are some personal tips :
1. Have Fun
Pick a topic that you feel passionately for and have fun sharing it with fellow Netizens. The moment it turns into a chore, stop. Nothing of value will flow from a bored mind.
2. Look Around
Survey your competition (sort to speak). What makes them outstanding ? What can be learnt ? (Just don't rip off others' layout wholesale)
3. Carve Out A Niche
Don't ever follow blindly and do the same as the big boys. It is unlikely you can do a better job than them. Seek to be different and innovative. A good example would be the recently ceased News Contest by Tarsonis.
4. Get Known
Nothing goes around like good word of mouth, especially from respected sources. Be bold and approach prominent webmasters to drop a line or two on your site. This could be the big break.
5. Active Participation
A website lives for its visitors. The more the merrier. The challenge is to develop `customer' loyalty so that they keep coming back. One means is through active participation.
Engage your clients - find out what they want (e.g. via polls). Let them contribute (e.g. submitting battle reports).
In the end, it's all up to you (the webmaster) to make it a success.
Small can be just as beautiful.
>From : Vorlon (Starcraft pen-name)
Email : Vorlon@hotmail.com
Jdog Email - email@example.com
Jdog Web Design
I just read your article "The Small Site Survival Guide". I definitely agree that one little email is all a 'novice' webmaster needs to keep going. I started out looking at the vast web and wondering "Could I do this?".
I dunno if your looking for submissions for the survival guide, but here are some tips I have:
1. My number one rule is to design your site for the average surfer. 800x600 resolution, and Netscape/I.E. compatible.
2. If the site has a lot of content on a bunch of different pages, keep links to the various areas of the site handy.
3. Load time - nobody likes to wait a minute for a page to load, so keep the number of graphics and tables down. Use small .gif files and compress them if possible.
4. Get a good tracker. I use Extreme Trackers on all my sites. Not only do they count the number of hits to a page but they give loads of other important info, such as referring sites, search engine keywords and browser preferences of your visitors.
5. LINKS LINKS LINKS! Links are the lifegivers to any site. Try to get links to larger sites related to yours first, then fill out all the search engine forms. Personally, I wouldn't bother with Yahoo. I've
tried a hundred times to get listed on Yahoo but to no avail. But hey, maybe you'll get lucky.
The first and only Starcraft site I have made was the StarCraft Clan Roster (SCR). It started out as a little venture into naming the many clans on Battle Net. It took a long time and a lot of chatting in Clan Recruitment (ugh, not fun) to get a few hits, but after a while it
started to pay off. Clans started adding their names to the list and they kept coming. The last time I checked there were over 200 listed on SCR. All the clans had as much info as I could think of put on their own page. I was having a great time. Then my web space provider that I stored SCR on let me down, deleting my account. I haven't gotten a reply yet from their tech support and SCR is still looking for a new home.
Here's a new one by none other than David Shipley of Brood War Tarsonis fame, now with Planet AvP. The advice is pretty general, but very important. Makes me think about how bad my site breaks some of these rules...
Brood War Tarsonis
1. When selecting the font which you will use for your entire web site, it is wise to select one that everyone will have. You don't want to pick a font that is good-looking, but only one-third of your readers are able to see it.
2. As most of you should know, there are many other uses for stylesheets other than using them for links: using them for your text is a good idea; say you want to change all of the colors of your text in the entire web site from gray to white -- just a small change, and it changes it all for you.
Stylesheets can also be used to change just a certain link's color -- not all of them. As an example, look at my web site's news-post-headlines; as you can see, it's a link, yet it is bigger and a different color from the rest of the links.
3. When deciding whether or not to make a certain image a JPEG or a GIF, here are some tips: GIFs should be used when there are large blank spots in an image. JPEGs are the opposite.
4. In an Internet community which has all of the neccesary web sites, a new web site offering nothing new will have a small chance of 'making it.' A new web site that offers nothing new but finally achieves fame, is probably due to the fact that he/she does it better than all of the others -- I hate to brag, but that's how Tarsonis achieved fame (large amounts of strategies and interviews 8D).
To achieve fame the easy way, is offering something new that nobody has. Creativity is the key here.
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