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Here we are in November already. The world is just turning too fast.
John has had a stack of work to do lately. He is the Finance Director for our Church and budget preparations for next year have demanded his time beyond his normal busy schedule.
We are looking forward to Thanksgiving with all our family so we can see our children and grandchildren. If you live in the US, we wish hope you have a great Thanksgiving. If you live elsewhere, we wish you many blessings for which to be thankful.
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Linda and I decided to build a new website focusing on the needs of seniors. With the recent announcement that the Social Security cost of living adjustment for 2010 is going to be ZERO, tight budgets just got tighter.
This site is created to help seniors stretch their money to get the most out of life with what they have.
This site is a major content site so we are building it using Site Build It.
Please visit it at www.frugal-senior.com
Note: If you are experienced at using CSS, this article may be too elementary for you so you may want to skip it.
OK – I admit it. I have resisted learning CSS since I felt I did not have the time, and I could build respectable websites with the plan old in-line styling of HTML.
I have been following the improvements that Site Build It (SBI) has been making to its web building and web hosting products, and I was amazed at how much better a website could be made using CSS.
In the past, I have heard some webmasters criticize SBI for making “clunky” websites since SBI did not allow all the “bells and whistles” that were available to the developer. Well, that is not true anymore.
Another feature that SBI added was the ability to put “includes” in a webpage. This allows you to create HTML code and put it in a text file on your site. You put the “includes” command in your HTML page where you want the information in your text file placed and as the page is being loaded by the server, the code from your text file is placed into the HTML page at the spot you specify. This is HUGE! By doing this, you can make a change in the included text file and it will show in all your HTML pages since it is dynamically loaded each time a page loads.
The best example of using an “include” is the footer for every page of your website. At the first of each year, you should update your copyright statement on every page in the site. Before the “include” you had to change each page. With the “include”, you can change the text file in one place and the change will show on every webpage on your site. How cool is that?
As we said previously, we have been doing research on a new website and we decided to develop a site based on helping seniors live frugally in their retirement. I made the decision to build it based on CSS so I would be forced to learn how to use CSS.
When you are comfortable with a programming language like the old “on-line” style method of HTML, it is frustrating to learn a new method. You know there is a way to do what you want to accomplish, but you do not yet how to code it and you have to stop and research every little technique to learn it. However, I realized that I would never learn CSS without the “pain” of forcing myself to go through the process.
SBI is very helpful. It has an example of a CSS Style Sheet and the corresponding HTML that uses it. It also has a tutorial to step you through the process so you can see how the style sheet and the HTML page relate.
This is how I learned CSS. Am I a pro at CSS? Not by a long shot, but I now know where to go to look for problems or where to add items in the page.
Let’s talk about CSS and how it works.
In the old in-line styling of the pre-CSS days, every webpage was coded with all the content and style code in it. Usually the developer created a template with the layout on it and started each new page using the template. Once the content was placed in the proper locations in the template, it would then be saved as the new page into the website.
What happened if you decided that you needed to change something in your layout style? You had to go through your website and change every page in the website. If you had a few pages, this was not too bad, but if you had a few hundred pages, it was almost impossible.
Now with the CSS and the “includes”, I can change the entire “look and feel” of the pages on the site by making a change in the CSS sheet or by changing the included text files.
A great example occurred today when I added a Google search page to Frugal-Senior.com. I wanted to add a link to it at the bottom of every page. If I were to do it the old way, I would have had to modify the 19 pages we built so far. With the “includes”, I changed the footer text file for the “includes” and it was changed on all the pages.
Building web pages has come a long way and SBI is staying on the front edge of technology. The company keeps investing in making improvements to keep SBI site owners ahead of the competition.
This is a helpful website I had heard about. I tried it and it works well.
You can give it a web page URL or give it selected text and it will search the Net to see if it can find your information repeated and if so, tell you where it is located.
I experimented with a couple of my articles on Ezinearticles.com that I knew were picked up by other ezine publishers. CopyScape.com located all the copies of the articles on the Net. It did not find any that were used without permission.
CopyScape.com has a very limited free search feature, but it is cheap to use. You purchase credits and the cost per search is $.05 USD.
Remember this tool for the future. It might come in handy to protect your articles.
When you start to build a full blown content website, you should include the following pages. It gives your website credibility and the word is that Google likes to see these pages in a website and it will help your ranking on Google.
Since we just went through building these for Frugal Senior.com, it refreshed my memory about these required pages.
I have put the links to each of the pages on Frugal Senior.com so you can go to the page to read the content and understand what its function is.
Home Page – every site must have a home page that gives it its domain name.
About Us – tells the reader who you are so your readers can trust you.
Disclosure Policy – tells the reader that you are or are not running a for-profit website so there is no mistake about it.
Contact – allow your readers to contact you so you are accessible.
Site Search – place a Google customer site search on your site so your readers can find information they are seeking.
Google Site Map – this is a must if you want Google to crawl and index your website quickly. SBI creates this automatically and updates it automatically whenever you add or change a web page on your SBI site. This is an XML page so it will open in a text editor and not be formatted.
The following are additional suggested pages that I found when searching Google for “must have web pages”. These apply to a site that is selling a product or trying to build a mailing list.
Terms and Conditions
We published an article entitled “Things to Include on Your Home Page” in Volume 1, Issue 22 dated 9-8-09. The important items have not changed since then.
Also, if you need help building a search page on your site, this article will show you how to do it.
That wraps up this issue. Until next month, stay tuned.
John and Linda Howewww.spend-til-the-end.com
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