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Making an Editor's Website Work
This was my first of two presentations to the Editors' Association of Canada in 2003. The other was about backups, and took place in November.
Editors' Association of Canada
15 Jan 2003 B.C. Branch Meeting
by Derek K. Miller
I took the photo above, of a TransLink bus being towed by a big truck on Burrard Street just before the EAC meeting in January 15. I post it here for four reasons:
- So there's at least one picture on this page.
- Because you don't see that sort of thing every day.
- To demonstrate that for any task, you need the right tools.
- To illustrate that you can put anything that interests you on your website, something I talked about that night.
Whether you attended the January EAC meeting or not, you might find these useful:
- My slides from the presentation.
- Audio of my speech (added 9 Feb 2003, to go with the slides). Please excuse the constant background fan noise from the projector—I couldn't quite filter it out:
All three are MP3 audio files, so your computer needs to be able to play MP3s. Try QuickTime (Windows and Mac—free!), iTunes (Mac and Windows—yes, free!), or WinAmp (Windows—oy, free!).
- Part 1 - 14 min 40 sec (2.5 MB MP3 file)
- Part 2 - 31 min 48 sec (5.4 MB MP3 file)
- Part 3 - 29 min 55 sec (5.1 MB MP3 file)
If you want to save the files to your computer before playing them, simply right-click (Windows) or click and hold (Mac) on the file you want, then choose Save or Download (depending on your web browser) to download it to your computer's hard disk. Double-click the downloaded file to play it.
- Additional things further down this page.
Using web pages instead of PowerPoint for presentations
Added 19 Jan 2003
My slides are simple HTML web pages, and when I wrote about that in my online journal, I received some interesting responses and hits from all around the Web.
Useful links for people new to building websites
Added 17 Jan 2003, updated 20 Jan 2003
When I asked people at the meeting what a website is for, the suggestions included promotion, bringing stuff together, information, links, convenience, point of contact, prestige, background info, research, news, samples, a résumé, and fun.
I suggested a site is really for two things: for visitors to get information or to do something useful (as they see it). Here are some links that might help you do that:
- NEW 20 Jan 2003: If you're not yet ready for the whole get-a-domain thing, at least get yourself a permanent e-mail and web forwarding service, such as the one from Pobox I've used since 1996. Cheap, and your e-mail address need never change again. Even though I now have penmachine.com, my pobox.com address still serves as my personal mailbox, and www.pobox.com/~dkmiller has pointed to every website I've ever had.
- The Non-Designer's Web Book (2nd Edition) is a good resource for anyone new to creating websites. You can get it from Amazon.ca, Chapters.Indigo.ca, or the publisher, Peachpit Press.
- Deciding on a web colour scheme can be a pain. The Basics of Color Theory and VisiBone sites help.
- Minimalist Web Design lists a lot of sites (mine included, amazingly) that don't go crazy to be cool or weird, and just get the point across. I've nominated Panic Software as a new entry, but it hasn't shown up yet.
- Dr. Jakob Nielsen is highly opinionated, and many disagree with him, but he's the world's most famous web usability guru, and I think his ideas are good.
- There are many Canadian domain registrars who'll help you find and register a domain name (as I did with penmachine.com). Here's a list of some that do .ca domains (I'm sure they'll all do .com, .net, and .org too). I use Domain Direct, from TUCOWS in Toronto, but many registrars are good.
- Check out your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to find out how to use the free web space your probably already have. They might even have a way for you to pay to use your own domain name with that site, instead of the long and awkward address (such as www3.telus.net/[whatever]) they provide by default. If that's too expensive, Domain Direct's "URL Keeper" service uses some simple but nifty code to point your domain to any site, cheaply.
- When you're submitting a site, the first two places you should go are Yahoo! and the Open Directory (a.k.a. dmoz.org). Pick an appropriate category for your site, then add it by following Yahoo!'s or DMOZ's instructions.
- You can also let Google know that your site exists, which would be wise.
- Free or cheap tools I use to help run this site are Blogger for my home page journal and newsfeed, Atomz for site search, Extreme Tracking for visitor statistics, Morten Frederiksen's syndication subscription service, and the World Wide Web Consortium's HTML and CSS validators to check the web page code. Finally, I use BlogRolling to manage the list of external links (the "blogroll") on my home page.
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