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Knowledge Archives - Temp3.net Web DesignTemp3.net Web Design

Temp3.net Web Design

Website design, SEO and Marketing FREE Tips and Techniques


Structure of HTML Document - Part I

The usage of tags inherits the idea of tree structure in HTML document. Tags can be cascaded to create elaborate trees representing a single document. Going back to our previous example we can add an emphasis inside our paragraph as follows:

<p lang=“en-us” id=“hello-world”> 
	Hello <em> World! </em> 

Notice that the tag ‘em’ is used for emphasis, an italic font in most browsers. Also notice that the code is a bit more spread out. It is a good idea to pick up good code style habits from the start. Extra white space in HTML does not effect the document in the web browser. Coders tend to follow the style the of a tree, but that is not necessary for your code to work in a web browser. In HTML, white space is ignored by the browser. All HTML documents must be encapsulate with the main tag ‘html’. Something that looks like this:


	<p lang=“en-us” id=“hello-world”> 
		Hello <em> World! </em> 


Before the first ‘html’ tag, normally appears a ‘doctype’ tag. This tag tells the browser what version of HTML it should expect. In older versions of HTML this was a long paragraph that developers normally copy pasted. The new standards, HTML5 shorten the need. It is my recommendation that if you are just starting with HTML go ahead and start with HTML5, but be aware of older versions.

HTML5 doctype:

<!DOCTYPE html> 

HTML4.01 had a number of options, one example you can find below. There are multiple versions in HTML4.01, for more examples please refer to HTML doctype reference.

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/strict.dtd”>

So if we go back now and revise our HTML sample code, we will end up with the following:

<!DOCTYPE html> 

	<p lang=“en-us” id=“hello-world”> 
		Hello <em> World! </em> 


Getting comfortable with the structure of HTML is not a difficult task. It might take some getting used to, but it is not impossible. Further information about the structure of HTML document is soon to come. If you cannot wait until then, I suggest you read the Basic Structure of a Web Page. The next step in learning HTML is to move on to practice. Until now I have shown you HTML, but we have yet to write some and see the results in the browser. For this next step you will need only 3 things. A web browser, which I can assume you have. A text editor, any kind will do. Finally you will need patient. No one learns something new all at once. Proceed with your own pace.

As a final thought about text editors. You do not need anything fancy at this point. I am aware that many web developers and designers will recommend expansive software. The truth is that when you are starting off you do not need all that. There are free option for text editors that can do all you need at this point.


Free tips from Google's SEO guideline

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past 12 years or are in complete denial, you are surely aware that google is the number 1 site on the planet. Google is ranked the number 1 visited site according to Alexa and has a reach of nearly 50% of internet user to date. Why does this matter to you? Because if you want any site to succeed to have to play by google's rules. There are many scam artists and websites that claim they can get you to the number 1 spot on google, or get you free traffic from search engines. DO NOT fall in to temptation to try them out. Also, do not pay for anyone to tell you google's so called "secrets". Beside their search algorithm and some other business secrets, google is a very transparent company. In fact, they have a starter guide to SEO which is going to be the main reference for this article.

SEO Basics

Let's start with web page titles.The html title tag is used by search engines and browsers to tell the user what is the topic of a particular web page. The webpage title is what is going to be displayed in search engine result as a link to your page.  You should try to find the best description for your web page, while keeping the description under 80 characters long. Try to avoid ambiguous and generic words in your page title such us 'home page', 'next page', etc...

While you should use different, unique page title for each website, you should also make good use of the "description" meta tag. This tag is what will be displayed in search engine results following the link to your page title. Try to make this tag describe in short, but more detail then your page title. Use it to summarize your page content. As with the page title, the description meta tag should be unique to each page of your website.

Improve your site structure

The internet is driven by links and so is your website. Having a good, solid URL structure will improve you site's SEO. Keep in mind that the URL will be displayed in google's search result. You should have a URL that is descriptive just as the page title and the meta tag. Use words and dashes "-" to separate them. When you are building your website, use keywords to structure your folders and sub folders in addition to your page titles.

You navigation is the way humans and crawl bots are going to go trough your website. Make sure you keep it in mind when you are designing the layout of your website. Also make sure you use breadcrumb trails for extra convince. The last thing as far as structure is a site map. This is one page that contains all the links to all your webpages. You should have 2 versions of site maps. one should be an html version for humans, the other should be an xml version that you will submit to google and other search engines to crawl.

Optimize content

After all is said and done, content is key and king. You can do all the tricks in the book, but without good, quality, keyword rich content, you will not have a good ranking. Interesting and original content is more valuable then copy-paste anything you found. In fact, if your content is not original, you might get panelize by the search engines. Use the google keyword tool to search for keywords that are searched and a lot and are low on competition. However, create content for users, not for search engines. Do not write for robots, this will not work in your favor as you might think.

When you are writing content try to put in some links to other websites, primarily your own. Use god keywords for your anchor text instead of just 'next page'. If you have images as part of your website, make sure the file name of the image is descriptive and use alt text to describe the image. As a side note about images, having a long load time for your website is generally bad. Remember to lower the size of your image files and store higher resolution as eternal links.


Crawlers, spiders, web-bots, it all refers to the same thing. Instead of a human user it is a robot, a pice of code that visits your website and others and follows the links outbound from it. To make the robots visit more efficient, google suggest using a robot.txt file that sets permissions for robots. If you have login only areas, you can create a user name and password for crawlers to use. In googles webmaster tools there is a guide that will help you generate a robot.txt file and monitor the crawler errors, if any.

Mobile SEO

Over the past few years, mobile internet via smart phones has grown. With the lunch of the iPad and other tablets, there are predictions that users will use mobile platforms more than regular computers in just a few more years. In order to accommodate the mobile user, you should create a mobile version of your website as well as notifying google of such website. Google can recognize mobile sites as the domain starts with 'm' instead of traditional 'www'.

Promote your website

As a final note, promote your website using back links and other creditable websites. Do not try to promote each little section, but rather the website as whole. Google will crawl and index your entire website on it's on. Avoid scams, spamming and using any 'black-hat' ways to promote your website as you will get penalize for it. Use Google Analytics and Googles webmaster tools to analyze your website and the traffic you attract.


Know Your Web Browsers

You might think to yourself that a discussion about web browsers has no place in website planning. You are very wrong in many ways. When planning your website or a website for a client you should keep in mind the user experience. After all the work is done, the user is going to use a web browser to visit your website. This is not a discussion or argument in favor of one browser or another. This is just a note about the market to which you are targeting your website. Over the past 4 years, mobile internet has became more popular than expected. We will dived this discussion to 2 separate ones.


Desktop and Laptops

Looking at the market share data on the right we can see the Internet Explorer still controllers 52% of the browser market share use. This should come as no surprise, because every new windows pc is shipped with Internet Explorer pre-installed. These figure are decaying, but it is not going to change by much in the near future. When you are planning a website, for yourself or a client, think about the browsers your average user might use. You may conclude that all your users will use Firefox, maybe because your website is about Firefox plugins. A good practice would be to test out the final product on the 4 major browsers, Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari. If it works on all of these, chances are it will work on all.

Mobile Internet

The rise of the mobile internet almost duplicated any work web developer need to do. The data shows that currently (January 2012) Safari controls slightly over 52% of the market, with Opera mini and android trailing behind. This is a complete different ball game than what we saw in desktops and laptops browsers. Also, the screen size and functionality changed significantly with touch screens and smaller screen sizes. You should presume your users will want to access any website from a mobile device or a tablet and accommodate it accordingly. Sometimes that mean redoing the entire site and others just a minor CSS change. Either way, get hold of the main 3 devices or emulators and test out the final project on all browsers and platforms.

Final thought
As a final note on browsers. This might seem like a lot of work, and sometime it is. However, after doing it once or twice without the initial thought, you will learn to keep all this in the back of your head even before you begin to think about development. As is with security, the end user has to be thought about throughout the entire process of building a website. At the end of the day, if you build a website users don't like, it's life will be very short lived.


Domain Name & Hosting

Getting your own domain name

Why should you get your own domain name? Because it will allow you to grow farther than anything else. Having your own domain name will give you control over the content showed on your website. For example, if you choose to build a WordPress blog using WordPress free services, you won't be able to put any ad units on it. That means if you are thinking of getting any revenue from your website via ads, choosing WordPress is a bad choice.


Choosing the right domain name

There are many good tips a guides for choosing the right domain name that will come up with and google search. You want to keep in mind the domain name you chose will be one you will have to stick with. Why? Because it some time to get traffic to a website and you don't want to do a lot of hard work and then switch the domain name. These are a few rules I feel are good to stick with:

  • Keep it short and simple
  • Try to stick to ".com" or ".net"
  • Easy to type
  • Grammatically correct

If you need more help with this you can try How to choose a domain name and 12 Rules for choosing the right domain name. Brainstorm on your ideas for a while. Do not settle on something just because it is taking you a long time. If you find noting is going your way, walk away and think some more later. This might be one of the most important decisions you make after you have decided to build a website.


Choosing a hosting company

For the last thing, you should choose your hosting company wisely. Unless you plan your website content to engage in any adult or prohibited materials, any of the big names should do. Personally, I would avoid GoDaddy.com. Why? I have my reason that are mainly political and irrelevant for this discussion. I would highly recommend bluehost and hostgator for hosting and buying a domain. When we start doing some practical stuff I will use either one of these for demonstrations and screen shots.


So what should you look for? Well, the main thing I look at is:

  • Disk Storage size
  • Domain Hosting
  • Web mail addresses and email forwarding
  • FTP access
  • SSH access (optional)
  • MySQL and php 5 support
  • javascript support
  • Built in feture (such as wordpress, Drupal, Tikiwiki, e-commerce features etc...)

This list widely depends on what you need from your web hosting provider. We will go into more detail as we go along this guide. In general, it doesn't really matter at this point and you can always switch providers. We will go over all this later on again and again.


3 Ways to Start a Website

Pay someone else

This is probably the most expensive out-of-pocket route, but it is there if you wish to take it. There are many people, like me and others, that will be glad to do the work for you. The difference you have know some knowledge about website building. Now when you go hire someone you can ask relevant question and be sure you aren't be scammed. Know this, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Try to hold yourself from being cheap and getting some programmer you found online that will build you a website for $20. While it might be true, it probably won't end quite the way you want it to. My advice is either to find someone local or at least someone who is available to Skype with or talk over the phone. I have heard some horror stories in this department that I don't really care to repeat. If money is an issue, consider hiring a young high school or better yet a college student. Having someone with little experience is not as bad as you might think.


Do it yourself

This might be the most time consuming, but it is the most rewarding. If you do decide to it yourself, make sure you have the time, are a fast learner and are generally above average on a computer. Just because you know how to logging in to Facebook and check emails on Gmail doesn't mean you are ready to take the construction of your website on yourself. Fear not, there is a lot of help available to you online, but it is a changeling task. Many people chose this option just to find out they don't have all the tools they need and give up half way through. You have to be committed, have a plan and stick to it. This is the route I chose to take and in the following stages I will go into every detail I can about what I did and what I am doing as I go along.


Using a Framework

Frameworks are not new by any means. The first frame work is dated back to 1993 named Common Gateway Interface or CGI for short. We have come a long way since then and Frameworks have become very powerful. Some of the popular ones include but aren't limited to Drupal, Joomla, Rails, Yii Framework and etc. There are also tools like wikis and blogging platforms that for the sake of argument we will consider Framework. So what does all that mean? A Framework takes away all the overhead of building a website and give you some tools that can make your life a lot easier. Should you do it? It depends, if you are considering it you probably have some basic web skills and can figure it out by yourself. Most of these Frameworks are very well commented and well supported by large communities. In the mean time I will wish you good luck with these.


Basic terms to know before you start a website

Weather you decide to build a website yourself or if you hire someone else to do it for you, there are several of terms you might want to know. These will help you communicate with someone in case you do outsource the construction of your website. They will also help enrich your knowledge in case you do decide to do the work yourself.


Domain Name

A domain name is the web address of your website. It is a string that appears in your web browser address bar and that your visitors may enter to get to your website. For example, this website home page address is www.temp3.net.


Web Hosting

This is where your website will be parked. It is a space allocated on a server somewhere storing the files of your website. When a user access your website their computer 'fetches' the files to display your website content.


FTP or File Transfer Protocol

FTP is an internet standard for transferring files. It makes uploading and updating your website very easy. This is something you should check that your hosting service provides. We will look more in to this when we consider making a decision about hosting services.


SEO or Search Engine Optimization

SEO has been the biggest thing of recent years. It refers to having your website setup so it is found by search engines. The following is what Wikipeida has to say about SEO:

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the "natural" or un-paid ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine's users. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic search,[1] news search and industry-specific vertical search engines.


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