Essential things to remember when creating your web pages

Get Organised

Get Organised

Your computer hard drive is like a filing cabinet. Inside the cabinet are drawers (or computer folders) that contain your documents and other files. The server at your ISP is set up in a similar manner. So organise your web site before you go too far.

For a personal web site you may have a number of pages related to different topics. You could put them in folders (or directories) called: hobbies, work, family, holiday, and another directory for the images.

File Names

File Names

HTML files will be recognised if you save them with the htm or html extension.

Your first page is usually called index.html but this might be different depending on how your web host has set up the server. This will be the page that the browser downloads by default if a specific page is not included in the URL. It is best to put an index.html in all folders.

Best practice is to use all lowercase letters for file names, so you do not have to remember if you have used capitals or not. The web host computer does not work the same as a PC, it will discriminate between lower and uppercase characters. So it would be possible to have files named FILE.HTML and file.html in the same folder or directory.

File names should only contain:

  • letters: A a B b C c ... X x Y y Z z
  • numbers: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
  • hyphens: -
  • and the underscore character: _

Some servers will accept other characters (even spaces) but if you have used a character that your server does not recognise, you will have to change every file name and associated hyperlink on your site that contains the character.

Make your file names meaningful; this file is called "essential.html", the name gives a clue about its content, much better than, say "page2.html". It will also help you get better results on search engines.

Make It Easy

Make it Easy

When you start writing your web pages, you can make a basic page as a template and copy it to create your new pages. The basics will be similar on all of your pages e.g. the <head> section etc. You can also copy bits from page to page where you have similar layouts. This will also help you keep a uniform layout and colour scheme for your site.

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HTML Basics

Make sure your index.html (default) page loads quickly by keeping it small and not using too many large images. If the page takes too long to load people will not bother waiting for it to finish loading and will go somewhere else!

Give a short description of the page in the <title> tag in the <head> section of your HTML files, this will be displayed in the title bar of the browser.

Fonts

Fonts

The fonts you specify in your page design have to be installed on the computer that is running the browser, so avoid using lots of fonts that other people might not have. If you want to use a special font for a title create an image for the heading.

Colour

Colour

Use colour carefully, if you use too many different or contrasting colours it will give your visitor eye strain. Choose a few colours as a colour scheme and in general stick to the basic colours so that they will work on most browsers.

Hyperlinks

Hyperlinks

Provide hyperlinks to other related documents and topics. Also remember to give people an easy way to navigate between pages. Make sure you enter the file names and web addresses carefully. If you make a typing mistake your link will be broken, that is to say. it will not work.

Check Your Code

Check Your Code

Before you upload your pages check that everything works. Open your pages in the web browser on your PC and check the hyperlinks work between pages and that all the images display properly. It is also worthwhile using an alternative browser. Although versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer seem to be the most popular consider using Netscape Navigator or another browser.