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Here is something I wrote back in 1997 from the first web page I ever created. Remember how cool geocities was when it started offering free web pages :)

The Elements of a Good Page!

For about two years now I have had the pleasure of being a QA engineer blah blah yada yada. My main project has been my companies site. (see about me to see where I work) I have spent a lot of time testing our pages and comparing to other sites. Some are rather blah and some really stand out and grab you. To have a good site you need to have something original. If you can't be original you have to be the best at compiling and updating links. :) Seriously, I have seen lots of pages that have the same blah format.

Hi I'm blah and here is my significant other and/or family and/or pets and here are my cool friends links and sign my guestbook before you leave. P.S. this page is under construction so I'm not like finished yet. :)

Not like there is anything wrong with that because we all need our little place in cyberspace but there are certain ways we can improve. First of all add some original content. Type stuff. Put your thoughts down in the electronic void. Anything you write yourself is original. Don't just link to people you know that have the same stuff. You can even ramble if you want. At least that looks good the first time through. Then keep adding new stuff. Have a what's new section for returning visitors. Commercial sites can get away with making a page and then not updating it for months at a time. But that only works if you are selling widgets. Even then you better redo your stuff every few months or be lost in the crowd.

Organize your stuff. If you can don't put it all on the front page. Give people something to click on. Let them exercise their mouse and their clicking finger. Scrolling can get monotonous. Make lots of pages. Keep the layout the same so it all looks like it was planned. Same backgrounds and layout graphics are a must because they load up so much faster. Load time can make or break the experience. Keep your front page to it's minimum in terms of space. See my web resources for links to tune up and optimize your pages. Keep animated gifs to a minimum also because they are cute but distracting. I wonder if people will get upset if I say 'you seen one java lake applet you have seen them all'? :) Add a link to 200k of jpg files in your photo album if you want but give people the option. I also think embedded muzak is better as a link. And if you have ever waited 2 minutes to download someone's wav file saying Hi welcome to my page, you wouldn't do it to other people.

Free banner services can be OK, but don't stick them at the top like they want you to. Advertise your own content first. Only paid ads or required ads from free page providers belong at the top.

Keep linked images towards the end of your page. That way if they don't load at least your viewer has been looking at your stuff for 30 seconds. Counters belong at the end because they get stuck often. And guestbook's also go down. If you can create a link to your guestbook page. There are a couple of free books so grab them all and give your readers a choice of signing the one they like. It looks like guestbook surfing is one of the better ways of advertising your site. Look at other peoples stuff. View their code if you are curious. HTML is one of those things where if you see something cool all you have to do is view source and you can see how they wrote it. By the way, if you are going to copy someone's code at least acknowledge them on your page somewhere. What goes around comes around.
And lastly, don't take things too seriously. Strange things can happen in the cyberworld. In some ways it mimics real life but in others it's doesn't have a clue. Don't hit people with a "sign my guestbook" request anywhere within the first 25 words on the page. Be happy. And when you do ask, ask nicely to sign your guestbook. Don't beg :)
 

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