Web Site Tips for Burbank High Students
by Self-Appointed Online Substitute Teacher Wes Clark (BHS Class of 1974)
"If I were a 13-year-old and I wanted to create subversive art, I wouldn't go out and buy an electric guitar. I'd get myself a personal computer." (Thomas Dolby as quoted in the Los Angeles Times, 6/6/94 )
I am certainly not a professional web site developer; I'm a writer and HTML coder by hobby only. However, I know what I like! Here are some tips for aspiring Burbank High authors of web sites subversive and not.
1. Content is more important than format. Think about it: why read a boring or pointless book that looks nice? In the WWW this means put some useful information or worthwhile content on your page. Nobody wants to read a page that has "Welcome To My Web Site," a smattering of links and an admonition to "Come back often!" (Given that, who would want to?)
2. Grammar is still important! Just because it's an electronic medium doesn't mean that you can post any old poorly-written text to the world. That's right, THE WORLD. There is the potential for people across the globe to see what you've written. So unless you want to come across looking like an uneducated rube, use good grammar! (You can start by using the spell checker that probably comes with your word processor or web authoring tool.)
3. Don't bother with "Under construction" images. Everyone now understands that web pages are continually in development - there's no need to advertise the fact.
4. Make it possible for your readers to contact you. When you post your site to the web, and people start to read it, you will develop a relationship with your public. Personally, I have found this relationship to be a delightful surprise and have incorporated my readers' comments (with my public responses) on a letters page. Without being too corny about it, this has enriched my life.
5. If you want attention, provide a service. There's a saying in vogue among Internet users: "Information wants to be free." So provide some! The WWW is very accomodating; this can be anything from a Gilligan's Island episode guide to your own personal writing. Try to fill a void if you can.
6. Let the search engines know who you are. If you want the public to beat a path to your door, they have to know how to find you. The Yahoo, AltaVista and Lycos search engines are a good place to start. If your web site is really good word of mouth will take over from there.
7. Keep your page updated. Your web site on the WWW is more like a magazine or periodical than it is like a book. Nobody wants old news, so update your page at least every month or so.
8. Make sure your links work. Nobody likes potholes on the Information Superhighway. Check out your links every now and then to make sure they go to current addresses.
9. Use graphics sparingly. Not everyone has a fast network connection to the WWW.
10. Be True to Your School. The Beach Boys said it best and, besides, I ran out of tips.