What Makes a Good Website?:
Principles of Web Publishing for Individuals
There are many types of website. Some are fun sites, designed
to entertain the eye: these are specifically designed to "bop".
Others are content-heavy commercial sites which change daily and
require huge staffs to maintain them - for example the various
The net now has as many "Gee Whiz" sites
as are necessary.
No individual can compete with the massive sites such as pathfinder.com But individuals can make a contribution in two ways:
- By creating very focused and specific lists of web links.
- By creating very focused and specific content based pages.
Here are some principles in creating focused and useful web pages with interesting content:
Principles of Page Design
- Keep HTML Simple
It has become tedious to be bounced around a web of
unnecessary webpages which have to be loaded and unloaded each
time. Many browsers simply do not work quickly enough. Where possible
I prefer to put links to most content on one large - if necessary
- page. It will load more quickly, and you can use local search
techniques. HTML Tables can be useful, but HTML Frames are overused.
- Reduce Graphics
Color and a simple background are fine, as are a small
number of illustrations. Graphics are fine also when they are
the point of the page [for instance at art sites]. But large graphic
files scattered for no real reason are not helpful.
- Stop the Clicking
Does anyone one enjoy "clicking" around complex
web sites? They are a pain to use, and liable to become impossible
to manage if the your project gets large.
Goals of History Sites
- Make the Information Available
From my other sites, I find it important to have as
many texts as possible online. In the coastal US people can usually
get anything from a library, but I find I get quite a number of
comments from around the world now, from places where texts are
simply not available.
- Add Content
Too many web sites show graphic or technical ability,
but have no content. This is OK when the page is simply a marker,
for instance giving the name and address of an organization. But
why not give readers more? Add relevant texts [without breaking
copyright!]. Link to other content-full sites.
- Tell a Story
A content based web page will function as a book or
resource for students. Try, then, to put the data you are making
available into some context, either by organizing it carefully
or by commenting on it. Creating a web page is a form of publishing.
Take the responsibility for doing it well.
- Point to Other Opinions
If possible include pointers to opinions other than
the ones you hold. Doing so will strengthen confidence in your