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Observations about how to create a website
[I posted this originally to EPISCOPAL COMMUNICATORS. -L]
Like my friends Jan Paxton and John Rollins, I maintained my Anglican site
primarily with HTMLEdit Pro until recently. Now I use Netscape's Composer
module more than any other method. Netscape 4.0+ is a dream, almost like
using a word-processor. With it I publish right to my site. I use
CuteFTP if I need to move a large group of files in either direction.
I also occasionally save documents in HTML format directly from Word and
Works. More often, I copy such documents into the clipboard and paste
them into Netscape's composer.
I registered my version of HTMLEdit Pro ($79) and my copy of CuteFtp
($34.95). Netscape is free to educators, though I did buy the hardcopy
manual for $25.44.
With these simple tools I have created and maintain over 1,000 web pages.
I have also taught hundreds of students to post their major essays to
their own websites, and I devote only two class meetings to showing them
how. See all the basic instructions in a short file:
http://newark.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/how2homepage.html Many of my freshmen
report making thousands of dollars in the summer using these skills to
create pages for firms that think it is much harder than it is.
Visitors don't come back to your website because it is pretty: they come
back to your website because you provide new and fresh information which
they cannot easily find somewhere else. Don't be stingy with data.
Unless you have to, don't write documents that are strictly linear. Spend
time linking your site to helpful resources elsewhere, even resources with
which you disagree. Open minds recoil from an electronic cul de sac.
Help everyone, but especially those who disagree with you. If people
write to you asking for help, even if you don't have time to help, say so
respectfully. The screen does not have the twinkle of your eye or your
smile: you have to find verbal equivalents for those, or you will sound
like a scold. If you're tired and fussy, don't show it. If your visitor
is tired and fussy, be grateful that she visited and say so: that's
precisely the time when someone needs to be treated with kindness.. Find
your own cyber equivalents of coffee and tea. The world will not know
that you're a Christian if you disguise yourself as a sourpus.