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[Tutorial] The 10 Pillars Of Web-Mastery

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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2002 3:40 am    Post subject: [Tutorial] The 10 Pillars Of Web-Mastery Reply with quote

(This text was originally written by Thurman Faulk.)

The field of webmastery (the art and craft of being a web master) is chock full of myths, lies, damned lies, misunderstandings, hunches, guesses, and advice from people who don't know what they are talking about.

People are desperate to have their site noticed. Each day, people come to chatrooms, newsgroups, and other forums and ask "How can I increase traffic to my site?". They usually get a few answers from people who are repeating something they've heard, or that they read in a magazine somewhere.

As a result, the web is cluttered with the skeletons of aborted websites, hit counters perpetually stuck at "You are visitor #23!", and dynamically-updated newsfeeds being read by nobody at all...

The purpose of this document is remedy this situation. This document contains real, valid, accurate information about webmastery. The ten points listed below are in no particular order. Here we go:

    1. Gimmicks neither bring users to your site nor keep them there. Newsfeeds, polls, chatrooms, search engines, etc., only serve to clutter a site, not to improve it. Portals are out. A good website does not attempt to be an "all in one" solution, because users have become sophisticated enough to find the good stuff on their own. They get their news from CNN.com, chat from Yahoo, searches from Google, etc.

    2. The single most important factor in creating a website that will draw users is content. You must have original, compelling, useful and interesting content or services. If you don't, there is no reason for the user to stay at your website. You may find yourself getting a lot of hits, but it's just from people seeing your site, being disappointed, and leaving. Yes, we all know how fun it is to have a site and how boring to create content, but them's the breaks. A site must have high-quality original content or services in order to win users; There are no exceptions.

    3. There is no reason for a user to go to a site that is simply "like" another site. If you want to create a site like Yahoo, Slashdot, Google, Hot or Not, or whatever, ask yourself why you're doing it. If you're doing it for programming practice, that's fine. But if you're seriously expecting users to visit the site, you should probably come up with a different idea.

    4. No, all the good ideas haven't already been taken.

    5. A website should be clean and simple. A website that looks like Las Vegas will never gain a serious audience. A nice font on a white background with a logical layout will go much further than multicolored text with animated gifs in an auto-scrolling frameset with alert boxes and background music.

    6. You won't make any money with banners or affiliate programs unless you have a large and dedicated audience, and you won't have a large and dedicated audience if all you're doing is hyping your affiliate programs and prominent banners. Content must come first. When you get 10,000 hits a day, then worry about banners.

    7. If you don't know HTML, you're not a webmaster, you're someone who has a website. Learn HTML. Learn CSS. Learn a server-side scripting language, such as Perl, PHP, or ASP.

    8. Design is not everything. Usability is not everything. Content is not everything. The three together, however, are everything.

    9. A "hit" doesn't mean someone liked your site, it just means that they have seen it. It is no different from a glance at a stranger passing on the sidewalk. You will know you have an audience when you start receiving regular e-mails containing praise, questions, requests, etc.

    10. Popups and banners may seem harmless, but they detract from the appeal and reputation of a website. Avoid them until you have a serious audience from which you might actually generate some revenue.

I hereby declare all the things written in this text to be true. Follow this advice, and you will be spared from much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Last edited by ShaolinTiger on Tue May 14, 2002 8:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2002 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good sound advice there Shaolin, thanks Very Happy

For people genuinely interested in quality web development there's a whole heap of info to be found at The Webmaster World forums. I know I've plugged this site before (and no I'm not affilliated, just a regular user) but here I go plugging it again:

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