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travelweb page stuff This page includes information to how is site was done and how it is maintained.
NetMechanic - Free Web Site Tune-Ups! Link and HTML testing, Server Reliability Testing
 Please feel free to check these guys out! 
After all how do you think I manage a 500+ page site that includes over ,000 links? 
How This Site Was/Is Done
Other pages in this section:

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While some Webmasters prefer to keep it a secret, I don't mind sharing how my site is done.

To start off with, I have no formal computer training. Like many, I started off with the free space my IP provided, and Netscape Gold 2.0. The site is now on it's own domain, however most of the grunt work is still done by Netscape (4.04 Composer).

After a lot of reading, experimenting, and asking questions, the site has changed and grown not only in size but quality. 

I use the old rule of life, "KISS" (Keep It Simple, Stupid).

    First you will notice the lack of frames, these can be a pain in the rear, and are over used on the net. There is very few occasions were they are needed. I use tables to control the flow of my pages.

    You will also notice very little usage of plug-ins. Other than to hear the background music on some pages, there is no need for them here. I think it is rather rude to require someone to add, more software to their machine, just so they can visit.

    Java is limited also, to only where needed. Many times it takes longer to make something work, with out using java. However, more people can access, with out the fear of crashing, or waiting for the script to load.

    Very little graphics, is another one of my trademarks. While most Americans have flat rate, unlimited dial-up service, this isn't true world wide. Many people have to pay by the minute! Unless the graphic is serving a functional purpose, I keep it small, and only use enough to add a little spice to the page. I try to take advantage of the visitors cache, by using the same background graphic and navigation graphics on each page, it only has to be loaded once. Speeding up load time.

The web space, better know as the host.
    Yes, I'm saving for my own server. However owning and maintaining a server requires several thousand dollars, and a lot of time. Including a baby sitter, if you ever go on vacation. So like many people, I use a Hosting Service.

    There are many different companies offering this service, prices can range from free to hundreds of dollars. I spent three weeks, comparing rates, services, and checking references before I picked Affinity.  Right now I'm running 5 commercial sites plus this personal site with this company. Since November of 97, there has been a couple of headaches, however they been on top of the situation every time. (all hosts have bad days, at one time or the other) The worst, was that the server was off line for 6 hours once. They offer both UNIX & Win servers, this site is on the UNIX, while 3 of the commercial sites are on the Win server (the Win, is set-up for SSL, better known as secure sites, used for online ordering).

    Why I choose Affinity - for $19.95 a month I get:

      30 megs of web space - If you don't think that's much room,  I have over 400 pages, that require over 1,600 files, with plenty of room to spare!
      25 POP - email address and unlimited aliases
      They will register domain names for you, at no extra charge
      Good tech support!
      They have a Site Control panel that makes managing the site a piece of cake.
My IP (internet provider)
    Since I don't have my own server yet, I must also use an IP to access the net. Since I dumped AOL back in '96, I've been using Earthlink. By far I would consider them the best. When I started with them I had never seen the net, much less knew what a browser was, or how to configure my modem. When it came time to do my first page, they were there willing to help. No question, was considered dumb. Over the years they have given me hours and hours of free live tech support. Now days, I don't need call them, in some ways I miss the tech folks, but on the other hand they did their job well. They not only fixed my problems, when I had them, they taught me how to fix them.
The counter
    Yes you have seen it, but didn't know it. While some people use it for bragging, I use it as a tool. It not only lets me know how many people, but what time of day they visited, type of browser they use, which many pages they went to, and much more. This information help me to determine if a page needs work, if a page isn't pulling traffic it need improvement. Also I avoid uploading during peek times. Just case you are interested the counter is over 1,000,000 visitors.

    There are many free services, however they are either limited when it comes to abilities, or require some type of advertisement. So I choose a commercial counter "dbasics".  In the beginning, when this was a small site on the free space I used the service (pay by the month, using their server), however as the site grew and attracted more people it became more practical to buy the code, and run it off my site. The company offers GREAT tech support, trust me in the early days they heard from  me a lot. Installing the code on your own host isn't like doing brain surgery, but on the other hand it isn't easy either. For a small fee they will do the install, unless you are cgi savvy, I would suggest letting them install it! On the other hand if you are using the service, it's very easy.

Graphics and Music
    Well I'm color blind, have no graphic talent, and tone deaf. While I do some of my own graphics, the good stuff has been done by others. Berry from Space Cows was kind enough to do my logos, while other great folks offer free graphics. Links to these places can be found on the "Graphics for Your Page". All my background music is also from other great people who share their talents for free, links to all these sites can be found at, "Extras for Your Page".
Keeping things up to date
    If you have seen much of my site, you will have noticed I do a lot of links. I stopped counting at 4,000! Keeping up with links is one of the hardest things to do. Sites are subject to move, or even vanish with out warning. On the average month about 5% (200+) of the links will break because of this (404 errors). In the early days, I would spend hours manually going to each site. One page could take up to 5 hours to check. Than came NetMechanic, it checked my links for free. The only headache was because of the size of my site, it would only do one page at a time. As of May 99, I have signed up for their new "Pro service". For a very small fee, it will check all of pages for broken links, any code errors, and several other things that can slow down a page. For the next year, no more typing of URLs, the robot will send me a monthly report of any problems. Life just got easier!

    Why did I pick NetMechanic over Website Garage, the answer is simple. The Garage didn't exist when I first found the Mechanic, also the Garage will only check the first 25 links on a page for free, while the Mechanic will do hundreds! For a small site, the Mechanic offers everything you will need for free, for bigger sites like this one the fee is only a token, for the time saved. I also prefer doing business with smaller companies that treat you like a person, rather than larger companies who treat you as an account #.

While I not selling any of these services, I do recommend them. After all I use them.
    If you do decide to use any of them please let them know that you found them from here Earthlink, Affinity, and NetMechanic offer incentives, and since I'm not a rich person every little bit helps!
      Earthlink - knows me by "robinpow"
      Affinity - knows me as ""
      NetMechanic - just use this link, it will automatically know your came from here
      dbasics - Well just tell them "Robin"  from Robin's FYI sent you.