Teacher Website Dos

Basic Tips for Creating Your Pages

So, what makes a good web page anyway? You know a lot about that from your own surfing experience. They're nice and clean looking. They load fast. They are easy to navigate. They have good, understandable, usable, original content. Make yours like that. Here are some fundamental rules to help you.

Overall Site Design

First, decide on the common look of your site. Every good web site has a common look and feel. The navigation, colors, basic images all stay the same throughout the site. Unify the pages with a common theme. On your pages keep the graphics small and clean. Make the layout logical and easy to use. Keep it simple - Use only a FEW fonts, colors, graphics on each page.

Here are a few basic Do's.

DO

  • Content, content, content! In Real Estate, it's Location, location, location. In web sites, Content is King! Original, useful content is the reason visitors come to your site. Ask yourself what YOU would want to find on a site like yours. Then, create that content for your visitor. On the other hand, if you don't have something useful to say, save yourself and your visitors the time and aggravation -- don't make the page.

  • For newsletters, syllabi, and other documents, it is recommended that you convert these to pdf format. 

  • It is recommended that you convert all PowerPoints, Word Documents, and Excel spreadsheets to PDF format and link to them.

  • When linking to your uploaded file, it is best to set the file to open in a "New Window". This will cause the document to open in a new window without leaving your website. Failing to do this will mean that the only way to navigate back to your site is by using the "Back" button in your browser. If the user opens the document in a new window, when they close the document, they will still be at your website.

  • Make sure your pages load quickly. In spite of the increased speed of modems, visitors will not stand for slow loading pages. Images are a common culprit for slow-loading pages. Make sure to re-size your pictures before you upload them to your site. A good program for this is Microsoft Office Picture Manager. Do not upload high-resolution pictures taken from your digital camera without first of all resizing them,

  • Keep your page length reasonable. Web surfers have gotten more knowledgeable these days, so the old rule of one or two screens no longer holds. They will scroll down for more good content. But, still keep your pages relatively short. Three or four screens long should be your maximum. If your pages are longer, create anchors (bookmarks) and put links at the top of your page.

  • Your website frontpage is your "welcome mat". It is a good idea to change this page regularly to keep it fresh. You can use this page to blog, put up news items, student pictures, etc. This will keep your welcome page fresh and inspire parents, students, and the community to return to your site. If your front page never changes, it becomes mundane and dull and parents will be less likely to return. The front page should "tease" your visitors inspiring them explore your site.

  • Make sure your navigation is logical as it provides a "roadmap" to enable your visitor to access your content. Decide on your main navigation pages and create sub-pages when necessary.

Proofread Your Pages

This should go without saying, but -- check for errors. Spell check for obvious typos, then read your copy, then read it again. Most editors that you might choose to use have a Spell Check feature. Use it. Check your links to make sure they go somewhere. Make sure all the graphics are coming up. After you have created a page or pages, actually go through the site (the master copy before you FTP it to the server) in your browser to see how it looks to your visitors. If you can, use more than one brand of browser to review your work before you post it.