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    PlanetQuake | Features | Articles | Classic PQ | Web Page 101-Part 2
   

Web Page 101- Part 2

So You Wanna Be a WebPimp...

By Fragmaster

As the guy who handles web page hosting here at PlanetQuake, I see a LOT of web pages every day. I receive (on the average) 5-10 hosting requests a day from people who want their site on PQ, but I only approve around 1 in 25. I see the same mistakes over and over again. I thought I'd expand on Fargo's previous article to include the most common mistakes I see.

Web Page 101- Part 2 - By Fragmaster
  • The General Syndrome. Way too many web pages suffer from this: "The General Syndrome" occurs when the webmaster tries to cover too much. They end up with a page with little content and a lot of pages that say "COMING SOON!" or "Last Updated: January 3rd, 1996". It doesn't matter what subject you are covering: Don't spread yourself too thin. On the other hand...

  • The Niche Syndrome. "The Niche Syndrome" is the opposite of the General Syndrome. This happens when the webmaster says "Ah ha! I'll make a page that has stuff NO other site has and it'll be THE site for <insert name here>!" Now, this is a step in the right direction, but if you get too specific, nobody will care. I mean, why dedicate a page to strategic use of playing the Medic in TeamFortress? Why not cover all the classes? Make sure the niche you find isn't too small, or your page will just be a few paragraphs of tips and a few screenshots.

  • Ripoff Ralph. How many times have you seen that stupid rainbow divider bar or that animated .gif of a torch? Well, a lot of bad web sites seem to get all their graphics from KEYWORD: CLIPART. If you have the graphic skill of a carpet, don't go hunting for graphics to steal. Just do your best and don't get too complicated. If you DO rip graphics, make sure they aren't too obvious or tacky. Don't ripoff the designs or layouts of other pages (a recently opened Unreal site ripped off PQ's interview page layout for their interview page. How stupid is that?). Background images seem to be ripped off the most. The solution? Don't have background images, for the most part, they won't make your site any better... so why bother? This is especially true if you run a page with a lot of text. If you DO have a background, make sure the text is readable without the background (backgrounds don't always load, you know..). Backgrounds are #1 on the "Stupid Overused Web Page Tricks" list.

  • Frames. #2 on that list is frames. For the most part, you don't need them. Unless you have a lot of content or make them optional... just don't use them. A lot of pages tend to rip off the frame set of popular pages, which isn't too smart.

  • Shell Shock. A lot of sites suffer from "Shell Shock", meaning their site is just a shell with nothing inside. Don't put in sections that aren't complete. "COMING SOON" doesn't cut it.

  • The No-No's. This is a big problem: If you want your page to be successful, don't call it "MY COOL QUAKE PAGE". Don't even call it "KEVIN'S COOL QUAKE PAGE" or something like that. Try to avoid using your name in the title (Sure there's Blue's and Scary's, but....). Don't say "COOL LINKS", don't use "LINKZ or FILEZ", use spell check, don't talk in numbers, don't try to do a sCary or Janitor Bob impersonation... just avoid being tacky! Be professional! Another no-no (which I've seen way too many times lately) is something like this:

    HELLO! WELCOME TO MY PAGE! I AM ONLY 14 YEARS
    OLD AND THIS IS MY COOL WEB PAGE!!!!!!

    First off, don't use caps... ever, secondly... and this is what really gets on my nerves DON'T MAKE A BIG DEAL ABOUT YOUR AGE\DOG\Whatever! Nobody cares if you're 12 years old and smart enough to use dial-up networking. Mentioning your age is tacky. You SHOULD try to give your web page some personality, but bragging or acting like another webmaster (why is there an alarming amount of sCary wannabes?) isn't the way to go. Other tacky things include counters (in some cases), instructions on how to link to your site (I mean, DUH!), "BOOKMARK THIS PAGE!" reminders, excessive use of colored text (or blinking text), and large animated gifs.

  • Flesh it out... Somehow. TC and Clan sites are very hard to pull off. Why? Because... well... usually there just isn't too much to say. Flesh out your clan sites with art, demos... SOMETHING. Just a list of names and a declaration of "OUR CLAN IS K3WLi0!" isn't good enough. If you run a TC site, run a little editing section or update on your progress. Maybe give out tips, post some screenshots... make it worth visiting every week or so.

  • Design For Llamas. A lot of people tend to forget that not everyone on the internet uses the same resolution. I for one use 640x480 (yes, really...) and some pages are unreadable or even inaccessible. Make sure your page is at least readable in lower resolutions (even IonStorm's news page was guilty of this crime). The easiest way to check out how your page looks in other resolutions is QuickRes (a must have if you switch monitor settings a lot also).

After following all this advice... how do you know if your site is good? Well, if Slipgate Central lists it, then it's probably pretty good. If not, ask for suggestions from friends or look at other sites you enjoy. Make sure it loads fast, keep the graphics under 30k or so.... oh yes: Don't use Java unless you MUST. Ask yourself "Would I visit this page every week if I was Joe Quaker?" if not, then think of things you could add that would keep people coming back. If all else fails, ask yourself "Why am I running this web page anyway?" if you can't come up with an answer, then why bother? 

Remember, CONTENT IS KING. Don't settle for being a peasant.

Web Page 101 - Part 1

-Fragmaster

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