Handy Tips


(Installation) One piece of advice ...  NEVER  allow a software package to become the default 
application for any type useage ... unless you are sure that is the ONLY software you want to 
use for a certain type of file. (I almost always click "NO" ... in response to this question!) 

Clicking "yes" means you have no other options. 

 DON'T remove (or lose) your right to choose!! 


 (An example of what I am talking about is there are dozens of programs that will both play and edit sound files. 
 For example, you probably have the following programs on your computer, as they are very common: 
Windows Media Player, Quick-Time, i-Tunes, Real Player ... the list is almost endless. 

 Every one of these programs will ask you to be the "default" player for sound/music files. Personally, I like 
 having as much choice as possible, and prefer to pick the program that will play these files. Once you have 
 made ... say "i-tunes" your default player, you will be unable to play these files with another program. 


On this page I plan on having lots of handy tips. 
(For web -  masters, and web page designers.) I may even devote 
an entire page to  "MS FrontPage"  tips. For instance, did you know 
that you can use FrontPage do create a web-page and post it on a 
server that does NOT accept FrontPage extensions? Its pretty easy 
if you know a couple of pretty simple tricks. 

 Oh yeah, check out my web page art / web-page background. 
 Click HERE to see something really cool. 

 Front Page/Web Building Tips 

# 1.)  I now have used the following programs to create web pages: 
Front Page '98 & Front Page 2000; Hot Metal Pro; Dream Weaver; and Trellix. (Trellix being a very poor-web-building tool, in my opinion.) The first and best advice that I can give you is really plain old common sense - - - Check your work often!!!  

Most of these programs allow you to preview your work in your default web-browser.  Do this often!!  

Very often the way that the page looks in the HTML generation program will  NOT  be the way that the page looks in your browser. (The way the page looks after actually being posted on the internet.)  Make sure you are looking at the most recent version of your web page, and not something that is stored in cache/memory and that is resident on your computer. 


To do this: [Clear the "Temporary Internet Files" and the "History" files in your web browser. (Right click on MSIE. Go to the "Properties" menu. Then go to the "General" tab.) You can then delete all the "resident files." This means clearing the folder marked "Temporary Internet Files." You can also clear the "History,"  and even determine the number of days MSIE will retain those files in its history. This has its good points and its bad points. The good point is the page will be saved and load much faster the next time you visit it. The downside is that it can clog up your memory. And it may not post the latest copy of the page you are currently looking at. I recommend that you set MSIE to retain the files in its history for 3-7 days. But don't be afraid to clear it on occasion.] 


It also can be a good idea to check your work thoroughly AFTER you post it on your server. You could also check it on a friend's computer to be sure.  Check and re-check!!!

# 2.)  Don't move or delete files without being sure of what you are doing. Too many times most people will sever the "link" on their computer for the necessary file. (Such as a picture or gif.) This will result in the constant problem of a file being missing and an image being left out of your web-page after it has been published on the server that hosts your web page. Keep a written list of what files you have on the server. I also highly suggest that you use the "K.I.S.S." (Keep it simple, Stupid.); method I learned in the Army. Label you files shortly and succinctly, but with enough information so that you look at it and know what it is. For example: A picture (in the JPG format) of your farmhouse, (for your website on famous and old farms); might be labeled - "redbarn1-pic.jpg." Make it easy on yourself. As your web-page grows, you will find it nearly impossible to keep all this info in your head!!  (Make sure your "img src" links are valid!) 

Don't depend on your memory!!! 

As your files grow, you may want to keep a text file in "Notepad," AND a written notebook. Jot down your file structure, important file lists, and other information in BOTH of these. I can personally guarantee that you will  ---   sooner or later --- find this information helpful ... even life-saving!  (At least as far as your web page is concerned.) 

# 3.)  Manage your files intelligently. Know what's in your files and what they do. Many people will run out of space and buy more, not realizing that many old and out-dated files are unnecessarily taking up space on the server in their account. Most servers offer FAQ's, (common and "Frequently Asked Questions."); that have lots of advice, help forums, and a "File Manager," or cgi bin. Become as familiar with the restrictions of your server as possible.  Use as many of the "add-ons" as possible.   (Like a "Guest-Book.")  KNOW YOUR SERVER!!!   

(Oct. 2002.  PS - to this comment)  KNOW YOUR SERVER!  This idea of knowing your server is very, very critical to your life as a webmaster.  You must read as many of the on-line help files as possible.  For instance, on Geo-Cities, I use their FP FTP Server to post changes and new pages. On Angel-Fire, I have found it is simply easier to up-load EVERYTHING via my FTP program. On another server, I create the files with Dream-Weaver, {or sometimes Front Page); but I have to use the servers trans-loader in the web shell, as it is a free site. I could go on and on, but I trust by now you get the point.

# 4.)  Know the file structure of your web page.  (For instance, how many folders you have on your web page and what is in them.) For instance, in my web page, I have a folder named  "Borders." This is a folder where FrontPage keeps all the information of the pages that have borders, (and thus share common information); and the HTML-coding that goes there. 


Thus common sense tells me: It is NOT necessary to update this file every time I update my web page(s), but only when I alter the information that goes in the border. Does this make sense to you? 


Another good reason to know your file structure, is so that when you update your web page you will know what to change and what to leave alone. 


Organization of your own PC is very important as well. I have literally hundreds of files scattered across three hard drives. Yet I can find things pretty simply because everything goes into its own file. Create folders for PICTURES, TEXT FILES, ETC. Every file of a different kind should be stored in a different folder - for ease of reference. 
(Otherwise you will do what some poor folks do, they know they have a file on their computer, but have no idea how to locate it!!) 

# 5.)  Another good tip? Well hang on and I will tell you. 


The first thing I must ask you is, "How do you get your files from your computer to your server?" This is very important and there are  MANY  ways of doing this. 


Many of the html-generating programs - such as FrontPage - have their own "publishing tool." In my opinion, this aspect of MS FrontPage is nearly worthless. I only use FrontPage when I am publishing a web site for the very first time.


Many people use the server's  "CGI-Bin/Web Shell"  to manage their web page. This is a control program right on your server where you can make changes and upload a file. Most of these are excellent (and getting better all the time), and have features where you can upload a single file or many. This is OK, but only if you have a relatively small web-site. When you get a fairly large web-site and start loading dozens - or even hundreds - of new files, you are probably going to find you have outgrown this feature. 


The next step is to look into something called "FTP." This stands for "File Transfer Protocol."  These are programs and interfaces totally dedicated to moving lots of files around quickly or easily. (Most of the big servers have their own FTP server to upload new files.) You can find out more usually in the "forum" or "help" section of the server you have you files on. It may also be listed in that server's 
FAQ's. ("Frequently asked questions.")  


I use a professional program called  "WS_FTP Pro,"  by Ipswitch. (You can download a trial version this program for free.)  Mastering this program was a real pain, but I am glad I did it. I can do a massive update (or even a total re-do) of my website in 5-10 minutes. (I also tutor people in how to use this program.) 

# 6.)  After you have the basics of your FTP program down, the next step is to log onto your ftp server and update your website. For instance, when I update my big chess website, I generally transfer the first 4 folders, the folder marked, "vti_cnf,"  and all the files in the general list. (This is the list just below the list of manila folders.) The program [automatically] only uploads the files I have changed. 

NOTE: This is a fairly unique structure and exists ONLY because I started this web-site with the program, "FrontPage 98." Your structure will probably be a lot different! 

A sample/example of a relatively problem-free upload is when I update the file/folder "vti_cnf." I do this first. Then I just go down the MAIN list below the file/folder list, high-light everything there,  (BELOW THE LIST OF FOLDERS!!!); then I transfer/update all the files in that list to my web site. 

# 7.)  Purchase a few good programs and then learn them better than anyone around!! For instance, I use "FrontPage 2000," [to generate the initial html code]; an html verification and checking program, [to check the html code for errors, there are many of these type programs]; and "WS_FTP Pro," to upload my files to the server. (I have already described a little how this process works.) I have spent 
many, many, many hours reading the "help files" that go with these programs. I can safely say I have mastered at least the basics of these programs. 

# 8.)  Another good hint is to purchase a few good reference books. (Like "Creating Web Pages for Dummies," by IDG. And I recommend you get a good reference book on HTML.) I have close to 50 of these type of books floating around, and I keep about 15 of these sitting right next to my desk where I do all my work. (For easy access.) Keep these handy!!

# 9.) Another good tip? (For web masters.) Make sure you provide as many links to your web page as possible!! For instance, I was discussing a chess-related topic on a chess server one night. One player was very excited about this and never had heard of a web page devoted entirely to this one subject. And my web page had existed for many months.


The moral of the story? If you find a chance about a topic on one page, and you have another page with a slightly different topic ...  MAKE SURE YOU PROVIDE A LINK! This may be the only way a visitor to your web site will ever find the web page on this one subject. And this is what all the big boys do on their web sites. 

# 10.)  Another simple [very useful] tip is MOST servers want your MAIN page to be named "Index-<dot>-html." (Some servers allow their pages to be named "index.htm," "default.htm," or nearly anything anything else.) 

MOST of the time, if you created your files with FrontPage 2000, (or an earlier version of this software); you will have to RE-NAME your pages from "*.htm" to "*.html." Otherwise they will NOT show up when you post them. (One customer spent MANY hours developing a nice web-site for her sewing business. She was using FrontPage 2000 and and her host page was a professional hosting company. BUT after posting her pages, they did NOT show up. [The default home page created by her home server showed up instead. I consider this to be nothing more than a "Space-Holder" ... and is only there as a template ... or to be replaced when you post your first home page.] The technical assistance simply steered her to the on-line help ... and after being frustrated, she eventually gave up and called me. I spent many hours - basically while she showed me what she had done, step-by-step ... only to discover she had missed the piece of advice telling her to make sure all web pages ended in the  " *.html "  suffix  --->  NOT   the default of  "*.htm"  that FrontPage automatically assigns to a page!!)  This little slip cost her several hundred dollars!  (This also goes back to my advice above of KNOWING YOUR HOST!!)    

# 11.)   You can build a website with FrontPage, but use you FTP program to post your new site on the Internet.

I recently did this for a client's web-site. (Angel-Fire) It was simple, easy and relatively straight-forward. 

When I first logged on, (I did this on my client's computer, so he could learn the procedure.); all that was there was just an "index.html" page placed there by the server. (Sort of a place-holder.)

First, since the client created his own files - with a little guidance from me - with the computer program, "FrontPage 2000," I had to create a file structure for the necessary files. I use the program, "FTP PRO" to take care of all my FTP concerns. I clicked on the button, "Make a folder or directory," and a screen came up. I named the file, "_borders." Then, I made the folders for: "_derived," "_fpclass,"  "_overlay,"  "_private,"  "_themes," and "_images."  Then you just open each folder and transfer the contents from your computer, (the panel on the left); to the host server. (The panel on the right.)  

NOTE: There will be a sub-folder inside most of the folders on your computer, named "_vti_cnf." Many servers like Angel-Fire will  not  allow you to create or post these folders on their server. This will NOT affect the function or operation of your web pages!

After you have transferred all the contents of each folder to the host (ftp) server, simply high-light the entire list below the folders and transfer that whole group of files with one touch of the button. 

I used a custom counter for this client. Now my client, after having been trained in the use of his programs, modifies his own files for his site and uploads them to the server with virtually no help from me. 

# 12.)  Should your web site be free or paid? 

This is a big question, and it is not easily answered. I would say stay a free site as long as possible, unless you are a full-time pro. 

BUT ... the services for a few of the paid sites far outweigh the minor detail of cost, some are only 5 dollars a month. (For the fee.) 

Also - - - DON'T over-spend!! Buy the lowest level of services first! You should definitely have managed your own site for a while PRIOR to going out and doing something like getting your own domain. 

Use common sense and and caution, and these questions should answer themselves. 

# 13.)  How do I put a {server} counter into a Front-Page file? 

I have been asked this question literally dozens and dozens of times. 

It is simple. Virtually every server has a line of code that will give you a counter on their page, ...  BUT IT CAN ONLY BE USED AS A COUNTER ON A SPECIFIC SERVER!! 

Once you have copied the code, I would save it. If you plan on making dozens of pages, it is best to use notepad and save this as a simple text file on your own computer.  (All mine are saved in a folder labeled, "text files." Duh!) 

Then open the page you plan on putting the counter on. Copy the code from your text file. First go to the point in the page where you plan on inserting the code. Use the "HTML" tab at the bottom of the screen. Insert the code there. Hit the "save" button. That's all there is to it. 


Click HERE to get a nice (free) counter for your HOME page. 

Click  HERE  to see a page dedicated to helping you with your new computer!!! 

Stay tuned for more tips!!

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