COSTUMES.ORG -- THE COSTUMER'S MANIFESTO WIKI

Computer1pagesMakingwebsitecost2

Making a Web site for Your Costume Program:Part #2 Development

ByTara Maginnis

Free Extras

Besides the obvious content of your site, there are extrasyou can add.Online you can find anumber of places that will actually give you free stuff to make your site morefun and useful.The most obviouslyuseful of these freebies is a Search Box.Search boxes come in two main types: a box that searches through yoursite exclusively, helping users find what they are looking for faster, and ageneral search engine that surfs the net for information. Both can be insertedinto your pages by a simple copy and paste code.Simple internal search boxes can be had forfree from many sources, but Atomz @160x120.jpg http://www.atomz.com

provides one of the best.Atomz alsooffers external search boxes, as do Google, Alta-Vista and Yahoo.

Other fun extras caninclude screensavers (for example with show photos and renderings from yourproductions), eCards, and desktop wallpaper.Any image you have can be made into eCards at @160x120.jpg http://www.spacesurfer.com

,which provides the system for sending them on their own site, so you only haveto provide the images and link to their pages.Simply generating images in Photoshop, or scanning in art and photos andsaving as a jpeg can make desktop wallpaper.You can download a free screensaver-making program at Computer BasedTeaching Tools free_screensaver.htm@160x120.jpg http://www.easyteach.com/free_screensaver.htm

You can also add featuresto your site that provide information for Students on your local area.Make a local links page that provides both prospective and currentstudents with useful local information like theatre show and movie times,weather status, and an eGroup for your students to share information.You can get code to insert a box showing a local weather report here: index.html@160x120.jpg http://oap2.weather.com/oap/index.html

You can set up an eGroup for your costume class, or other theatrestudents at @160x120.jpg http://groups.yahoo.com

Style and Content

As you begin to constructyour pages (whether using a WYSIWYG editor, web wizard, or straight html)remember a few very simple rules:Textneeds to be legible against the background, and divided logically, images needto be small enough to load quickly and be viewable within the frame of thebrowser.Links, whenever possibleshould go somewhere, not to an endless series of “Under Construction” pages.Navigation should follow some sort of logical progression.While these points seem basic (and are) it is amazing how many sites seemto ignore them.For a great primeron what NOT to do while site building see www.webpagesthatsuck.com@160x120.jpg http://www.webpagesthatsuck.com

for the latest examples of bad design on the web, and how to avoid repeatingthese mistakes.

Try instead to do thefollowing:

Make sure that the content of your site can be found in a logical, simple fashion from your main page.

Try to make your main navigation links so that they appear in the frame of the browser window before you scroll down.

Avoid splash pages, “mystery meat” and other high-end fancy web wing-dings that confuse users, or require plug-ins unless they perform a vital purpose on your site.

Choose a simple, (hopefully bland) low-contrast web page background, or just a plain color.Think white, beige, lilac, not hot pink or Kelly green.If you desperately want something with more zip, you can use one with a fancy left border and a bland solid color in the center.

Make sure the text is both in a contrasting color and value. (Remember colorblind people read web pages too).

Keep pictures a reasonable size, or link to big ones with thumbnails.

Include a link back to the main page from every other page in the site.

Server Space

Once you have a version ofa web site made on your computer, you then need to consider where the site is tobe “hosted” so it will appear online.Ifyou built the site using an online wizard, the site is already located at ahost, and you can skip this step, but most sites you will build on yourcomputer, (using a Word Processor, or Web Editor) then copy to a “remotehost” also known as a “server”.Asa bit of obscure information, most servers are small plain black or blue boxesthat you will never meet.They canbe located in Newark or San Diego, or in the same room with you and it won’tmake much difference to your relationship with them.There are three main options for you to choose from: YourUniversity, Your ISPor a Commercial Server, or on one of many Free OnlineProviders.There are advantages,and disadvantages to each.

Your University Server

Most of you will choose toput your site on to a server provided by your University.This is usually quite easy since your computer help desk at your schoolwill be able to walk you through all the steps, and space is usually provided toyour department for free.Onedisadvantage to using a university server are that in some cases universitieshave quite rigid design templates that they require all departments use, whichlimits your creativity and content.Happilymost universities do not.Space mayalso be limited. The other worry is that by posting your material on theuniversity site the lines of who owns the intellectual property contained inyour pages can get blurred.Facultywho wish to maintain the maximum copyright control of images and text may chooseto avoid this option.(I do).

Your ISPor aCommercial Server

Many of you already“own” server space on commercial servers because you pay for a commercialdial-up or cable Internet service provider (ISP) account at home.Most of these accounts include rights to use 5-25MB of server space on acommercial host, which you already pay for in your monthly Internet fee.These accounts can come with little or great tech help depending on yourservice provider.These accountscan free you from university constraints on the design or intellectual propertyrights of your site because you pay for the hosting.If your site is especially large (bigger than your ISP or university iswilling to host) or generates a high volume of traffic (known as“bandwidth”), you may need to pay a commercial server company to host yoursite.This is how my own site, TheCostumer’s Manifesto is hosted.Tosearch for commercial hosts see www.comparewebhosts.com@160x120.jpg http://www.comparewebhosts.com

Free Hosts

If you don’t have anon-university ISP, and don’t want to pay for a commercial server, but stillwish to maintain your site off of the university server you can put your site ona free host.Free hosts providespace on their servers in exchange for advertising space on your site.This option can be nightmarish or delightful depending on the host, andif you choose this option you should carefully check out different free hostsbefore you commit your site to one or another.There are hundreds of free hosts, and some of these have minimaladvertising, while others are a maze of annoying pop-up windows, and evil Javacode. (Tripod and The Globe are notable offenders in this regard).The bad thing about free hosts is that they can change the rules of yourservice at any time, because the service is free.Many free hosts are listed at www.freewebspace.net@160x120.jpg http://www.freewebspace.net

Site too big for free hosting?

Uploading

Once you have decided on ahost you will need to upload the files that make up your site to the remoteserver.Again, several options areopen to you:FTP, Online“Wizards”, and Front Page Upload.Ifyou are using Front Page to build your site, this program has a built inuploading feature that automatically operates the uploading, and later,updating, of your site.Follow theinstructions provided with Front Page Help files to set this up and run theapplication.Some free serviceproviders (notably Geocities and Tripod) have online “wizard”programs to manage uploading.Followthe online instructions as they carry you through step by step.Other WYSIWYG editors sometimes include upload features as well.

FTP

Most of you however willeither need or want to upload using a program called a FTP (File Transferprotocol).The best known of theseis WinSock FTP, which may be obtained online by a simple download at:download_eval.pl?product=WL-1000@160x120.jpg Howto support the costs of hosting your costume site through affiliate programshttp://www.ipswitch.com/cgi/download_eval.pl?product=WL-1000

WS FTP is free to faculty and students of educational institutions. Mostpeople like Cute FTP, a fancier version available at www.cuteftp.com@160x120.jpg http://www.cuteftp.com

for $40. Operating FTP for the first time is easiest if you simply Ask a WebWizard (anyone you know who has made a web page and uploaded it via FTP willdo) to show you what to do.You cango here: getting.html@160x120.jpg http://home.earthlink.net/~j_engel/getting.html

for a detailed text explanation of how to set this up, but learning FTP via textdescription is exactly like trying to learn to make a thread-loop chain stitchbelt loop with just a text explanation.Atwo-minute visual “show me” will do it, where an hour studying the textprobably will just get you confused.

Publicity

After making a site, it isalso desirable to let the world know it exists.You can gotothe big Search engines (Yahoo,Alta-Vista, Lycos, Hot Bot, Google, etc.)directly and fill out their short online forms. Other engines can bereached by going to one of many sites like Submit Plus submitplus.bc.ca@160x120.jpg http://submitplus.bc.ca

that have Wizards that help you to list with dozens ofengines at once.Go to theCostume Web Ring webring@160x120.jpg http://www.marquise.de/webring

and sign up to be part of the Ring. My own site doubled its traffic theweek it went on this Ring. Go to the main costume sites on the Ring (TheCostume SiteThe Costume Page, and The Costumer's Manifesto)and write e-mail to each web mistress asking if she will please link to your newsite.Backhome at your university you should let the university web builders know where tolink to your site.Print the URL inTheatre programs and Dept. brochures, and get this added to your facultybusiness cards.

For more information andfree services to help you build your pages, visit the sites listed below.

WebLinks:

FTP:

FREE FTP PROGRAMS ftp.html@160x120.jpg http://www.coolfreebies.com/ftp.html

SubmitYour Site to Search Engines

Promotion World:www.promotionworld.com@160x120.jpg http://www.promotionworld.com

Atomic Submit:Submit@160x120.jpg http://www.atomicdesigns.net/Analog/Submit

CostumeRings & Sites

The Costume Ring:webring@160x120.jpg http://www.marquise.de/webring

Main Costume Sites:maincostumesites.htm@160x120.jpg http://www.costumes.org/history/100pages/maincostumesites.htm

Corsetorium Web Ring:cic12142@160x120.jpg http://members.aol.com/cic12142

Fun &Useful Free Stuff

Yahoo eGroups (Free emaillist & chat) groups.yahoo.com@160x120.jpg http://groups.yahoo.com

Craft Themed Backgroundsfor Web Pages:Craft.html@160x120.jpg http://www.autumnweb.com/Roxys/Themes/Craft.html

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More Free Sewing Graphics: mygifs.html@160x120.jpg http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Plains/6446/mygifs.html

Remotely HostedApplications (Things like guestbooks, cards, forms, etc.):Remotely_Hosted_Applications@160x120.jpg http://kresch.com/resources/Remotely_Hosted_Applications

Free Content Links:@160x120.jpg http://www.woodoggy.com/

This article is part 2 of a2 part series on Making a Web site for Your Costume Program