13, Year 2008 Web Page Notes

 (2008 presentation notes)

  1. Definition: What's A Blog ??
    A blog is one of many types web pages -- generally intended to be sort of an online diary or journal, but can be "tweaked" to use as a fairly attractive web page.
    - The source I use is Google,aka Blogger.com, aka Blogspot.com. There are many others available.

    A. The Concept

  2. If you want a web page for either business reasons or just to expand your skills, there's no longer any reason for you not to have one.
    - For organizations with no web page, even a simple 1 page site with schedule / overview / contact info would be 1000% improvement over no web page.
    - Note that pages you create may look BETTER than my mine, as you likely may have more artistic talent then me.
  3. The Two Main Steps:
    You can create and maintain an inexpensive web page of reasonably-nice appearance, at a cost of about $9 per year, that you can easily update yourself, by doing the following 2 steps:
    • Create a web page, by using a currently-free blog from Google (Blogger.com) or similar.
    • Register a "forwarding domain name" of the format "YourName.com" from a low-cost Registrar like GoDaddy.com, or 1and1.com, or similar (~9/year), and then forward it to your web page.
      • The domain name is optional. You don't need a domain name to have web page.

    B. Advantages Of Using A Blog

  4. Low cost.
  5. Simplified Hosting:
    You don't have to worry about finding a web hosting company to host your domain, and all the accompanying details. Google provides you a free, reliable hosting service via a blog page.
  6. Updating:
    You can update it YOURSELF.
    - A blog is easy to update. It's almost like sending an email -- except after you finish editing, you click the 'Publish' button for a blog, instead of the 'Send' button as you would with email.
    - Any family member, friend, or responsible high-school student could be hired to handle updating.

  7. Photos:
    Photos will display viewable size, but when "clicked", will open FULL size. Blogger software does this automatically.
    - For best results, use a photo-editing program to re-size appropriately before uploading -- like Photoshop Elements, or free online
    Picnik.com (free online PhotoShop Elements??).
    - I usually reduce the full-size photo to 1500 pixels wide max, and usually 30% - 60% "quality".
    - Blogger will display the photo about 400 pixels wide, and open it to the full 1500 pixels when you click on it.

  8. Multiple Administrators:
    - You can give (and remove) "Administrators" privileges to people, so they can also update/add/remove pages.
    - You can also configure the blog to give a particular user "Author" type "privileges", so they can edit only 1 or 2 pages, but cannot modify the rest of the blog.
    - (Negative: Unfortunately, any "adm" can delete whole blog; not like Yahoo groups where "owner" can assign privileges.)

    ------------More Advantages Of A Blog

  9. Turnaround Time Minimized:
    This frees you from needing to write an elaborate description of what you need changed, sending it off to a web design company, then having to WAIT for it to get done.
  10. Software:
    - The only software required is a free web browser like FireFox or Explorer or similar (either Mac or PC).
    - This frees you from needing complicated or expensive web-authoring software, that requires continuous updating and relearning

  11. Any Computer:
    You can update your website from ANY internet-connected computer. (Because all data is stored on Google's computers, not yours.)
  12. Change Appearance:
    You can easily change the whole color scheme by changing to a different "Template", & then further "tweak" that template.

    C. Disadvantages Of Blogs

  13. Less Fancy:
    You cannot create as fancy a web page using a blog, compared to what can be created by hiring a professional web designer using a professional web page program like Dreamweaver or GoLive or similar.
  14. Limited Formatting Tools:
    You can only do only relatively simple formatting; you cannot (easily) have tables, or links to the middle of the page.
    Comment - I put this outline on my own website, rather than Blogger, because I wanted tables.
    - Note there are "how to" blogs that deal with "souping up" & customizing your blog.
  15. Size:
    A blog can become cumbersome if you're trying to build a really large website.
  16. Backing Up:
    Not as easy to "back up" as web site that resides on your hard drive.
    - I periodically use my Mac to save the whole blog as a PDF file, as a backup method.
    - If you cannot save in PDF format, you can use "save as web page archive".
  17. Can't Store All File Types:
    You can upload only JPG, GIF & PNG formats (photos). Other file types you might need,such as PDF files or Quicktime movies, have to be stored somewhere else.

  18. Statistics
    - There is no easy way to tell how many visits to each page of a blog. (Some ISPs include built-in statistics that tell you this.)
    - You can apparently add counters by inserting them into the HTML, but seems sort of clumsy.

    D. Examples Of Local Blog-based Websites

  19. Pa Design Gallery ('Tic-Tac' template, blue background, apparently modified)
    - In Greencastle Pa - no connection to me, just a nice example.
    - Note the 'automatic para. numbering does not seem to work with this template
    Demo - use "View Source" to see what blog template was used
  20. SusquehannaSeniorNet.org ('Thisaway Blue' template, blue background)
    Demo - Show how this "connects" to Brown Library's main website JvBrown.edu. It gives SeniorNet a way to operate its own "satellite website", to update its own info, without having to bother the Library's webmaster, or worry about disturbing the main website.
    - Allows a 2nd person to update the 'Class Details' page.
    - Links to YouTube class overview videos.
    Observe - Some templates use black text on a white background, others use colored text on a colored background.

  21. NineDollarWebPage.com ('Rounders 2' template, gray background)
    - The support page for this "Easy Web Page" project.
    - The concept has been for me to do the initial setup of web page and domain name registration, then "turn it over" to the owner so they can maintain it.
    - - The "weak spot" in the concept, is that owners tend to procrastinate doing their updates, and they forget the "training" I have given them.
    Observe - Can make title shorter (example $9web), so page numbers or names show in multiple tabs.

  22. KaraffaConstruction.com ('Minima Black' template, black background)
    - This black template nice for displaying photos; probably not so good if lots of text.
    - Used logo and photos provided by Don Karaffa.
    Demo - "Masking" is turned on (hides actual address).
    Demo - Clicking on a photo, opens it full size.
    - 'Back' button usually returns from photo back to web page, but occasionally not.

  23. CatawissaTrackCleaners.com ('Minima Black' template, black background)
    This site displays PHOTOS of unique, custom-made products; an EXCELLENT use for a web page.

  24. WilliamsportBallroom.com ('Ms Moto' template, magenta background)
    Allows multiple groups to post their dances.

  25. KidsAndTrains.org ('Rounders 3' template, dark blue background)
    Hands-on model railroading program for community kids, a volunteer effort run in Danville
    Demo - the YouTube video allows the organizer to show the program to the whole world (talks 2:15)
  26. Track2 RailNet Fall Train Shows Page ('Rounders 2' template, gray background)
    A good example of how a blog works well, for listing a modest-sized calendar of events