Note: Since we are not in the business of creating / modifying and designing websites, we cannot help with the actual creation of your web pages. However, because so many of our clients ask for advice on this subject, and because it can be so difficult to find answers to some of these questions, we have put together this section of Website Tips. Please understand that these are meant as suggestions only, not "rules". It is up to you to decide which, if any, of them should be applied to your website, and how. We hope that you find some of the suggestions given here helpful to your online endeavor.
HTML and Your Browser
Do you know why you must use a web "browser" to surf the net? Most people do not. They only know that in order to go online they must use a browser. For most people that is enough. They don't want, or need to know more than that. If you are going to have a web site however, you will need to know a little bit more.
A web browser is a program. A program that reads HTML (hyper text markup language). Just like Notepad is a program that reads text (.txt) files, and Microsoft Paint is a program that reads bitmap(.bmp) files. The internet is made up of websites which in turn are made up of web pages written in HTML. In order to view these pages as they are meant to be seen you need a program that can read HTML and translate it properly. The program you need is a web browser.
Try this: From within your browser while viewing a web page, place your cursor on the page and right click. You will get a sub-menu of options. The exact wording depends on the browser you are using, but select an option to "View Source" or something similar. You will get a screen of print that makes very little, if any, sense if you try to read it. This is HTML . This is what the internet would look like to you if you did not have a program called a browser to view it with.
- HTML Web Pages
In very basic, very layman terms, you can think of the HTML code on a web page as little more than a list of commands surrounding whatever text will be on the web page. It tells your browser program what goes where, which directories, or folders, to go to get all of the different components needed to create and display the web page, and in what order, color, size, etc. to display them. Luckily for the majority of us, there is no longer a need to learn HTML in order to create a web page. You only need to have a basic understanding of what HTML is, and know that your web pages will be HTML pages. All of the text, images, or sound files that you want to put on a page will be embedded into an HTML page.
When you type in the URL for a website, you rarely enter a specific page of the site. For example, you might enter www.turbocheck.com or www.yahoo.com. This is all that is required. Your browser will automatically locate and load the homepage, or first page of the website for you. The question is, how the heck does your browser know which page is the homepage? Good question!! It is because when a URL is entered by the domain name only, as the examples above are, without a specific page designated, a browser will, by default, load any page named index.html (or index.htm) If you do not have an index.html page, a browser will display a File Not Found error. For this reason, it is important to remember to name the page you want visitors to see first on your website index.html (or index.htm).
A hyperlink is a bit of code that, when activated, (usually by clicking on a line of text or an image) will take your browser to another URL. The only way your viewer is going to be able to get from one web page to another is if you provide hyperlinks. If you have only one page, then it won't be a problem. If you have several pages, you may want to create a Table of Contents page that lists all of your pages and provides hyperlinks to each one.
The internet is a visual medium. Without color and images to provide interest and excitement to your pages, you would have nothing but rows of text. Boring! Chances are your visitors will lose interest very quickly and move on. But you don't want to overdo the images either. If you keep your visitors waiting too long for your page to load, well..they may decide to go find something else to look at. Below you will find a few tips on using images in your web pages.
- Image Formats
There are many different image formats. Since most browsers can read only .jpg and .gif images, those are the formats you will need to use. These are the best two formats for web use since they are the most compressed, resulting in smaller file size, which results in shorter load time. Remember that the larger a file is, the longer it will take a browser to load and view it.
- File Size and Download Time
The larger a file is, the longer it will take a browser to load and view it. We recommend a maximum individual image file size of approximately 35KB. Since .jpg and .gif image formats are compressed formats, a 35KB can be quite large and very clear if done properly. Remember that each file you embed in a page adds to it's overall size. So, if you place two 20KB image files in one page, you will have 40KB of image files that your viewer must load before viewing your page.