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how to design and build a web site
Constantly criticized, nit-picked, undermined, sidelined, ignored, humiliated, passed over? Read this

Web site design
Designing and building your own web site

The power and versatility of the Internet is only just being recognised. One of its uses is to make contact with like-minded people, so if you're tackling bullying or any kind of abuse you can form groups, raise awareness and educate the human race in a manner that has not been hitherto possible.

The secret of a good web site

Conrad Hilton said that the three most important things to consider when building a new hotel were location, location and location. When designing a web site, the three most important facts to consider are content, content and content. Fancy graphics and moving text may impress at first, but surfers will only stay and return if the content is good. People tire of coloured, blinking and rotating text, and quickly switch off - these widgets are reminiscent of someone having just discovered how to use them and has to show off by including them.

So, consider what it is about your web site that will make people a) want to visit it in the first place, b) stay on your web site once they've found it, c) want to return again and again, and d) recommend it to their friends. Spend some time answering these four questions before you start. Ask these questions continually to keep the content good.

The person who creates and maintains a web site is known as the webmaster or webmistress.

Content

If your web site is a campaigning one, you're more likely to be credible if you avoid the use of self-deprecation, indignation, shock, horror, and outrage. Stick to the facts and let people feel these emotions themselves from what they read. Avoid using the third person as in "they shouldn't allow it" or "it shouldn't be allowed". Also avoid the use of exclamation marks, double quotes, and whole words in capital letters - these all invite disbelief.

Spelling mistakes, especially if there are many, make the site look amateur and poorly prepared. Use a spelling checker with all options turned on.

Site name

Choosing a name for your site is important. It needs to be individual, unique, reflect the content and purpose of the site, and be short, snappy and memorable.

Site structure

Your web site can be as small or as large as you want it to be - it's up to you. Some sites consists of just one page (the home page), others consist of hundreds of pages. It's best not to make pages too large.

The object of a web site is to attract as many people as possible. If you're going for more than one page, think of your web site as a building - the more rooms it has the more interesting and attractive it will be to more people who will be attracted by the content of a particular room. You will need:

Home page - this will be the normal entrance to the site which announces you, your web site and your message.

Core pages - the ones with the meat, the important information.

Special interest pages - each covers a specific angle.

Doorway pages - these are designed specifically to attract Internet surfers. Using the analogy of a building, then unlike a modern building where you want to channel everyone in and out of the front door - for security purposes - with a web site you want to create as many doors (entrances) as possible. Each page (doorway) is another opportunity to be found in the search engines. At the bottom of each doorway page, the person is invited to visit the main page or other pages. My pages at related/jargon.htm and related/domestic.htm and related/paranorm.htm are examples of doorway pages.

It's a good idea to keep pages small and focused. A big page takes a long time to download and many surfers will move on before the page is fully downloaded. My Internet connect speed is usually around 46Kbps, but many people still connect at 9600bps or less.

Before you create your site, write down all the angles and related subjects you can think of.

Improving your rankings with the search engines

Research suggests that for surfers to find your site it must appear within the first three pages of the results returned by the search engine. Usually, this means in the top 30 sites listed. Aim always for the top ten.

You can improve your rankings in the search engine by using keywords in the form of HTML meta tags. Meta tags are NOT a magic solution - they're just one component in your visibility strategy.

Keywords

For each page, consider what your top, say, half dozen or so keywords or phrases are. If you sell chocolate, they might be chocolate, chocolates, truffle, praline, cocoa, chocoholic. Mine are bully, bullying, mobbing, stress, harassment, discrimination. Put yourself in the shoes of the people who need your site; what are they going to look for? Once you've decided what your main keywords and phrases are, write your body text so that these appear regularly, especially at the top of the page and within the first paragraph.

Spend some time before you start thinking what keywords you can use on each page. Think of each page as a new opportunity to attract surfers - you can use the same words on different pages but you might like to have a couple of common words and make everything else different. The keywords and phrases must reflect what is on the page and the same words should appear throughout the body text.

Feedback suggests many people use phrases, so I've also included workplace bullying, bullying at work, bullying in the workplace, etc. Regard each page as an opportunity to concentrate on one or two phrases and all the variations thereof.

To get some idea of what surfers are actually searching for, use the keyword generator service at http://www.marketposition.com/keywordgenerator.htm

Click here for an idea of the most popular search terms.

HTML Meta Tags

Each web page is stored as mark-up language, ie your text and references to other files interspersed with special "mark-up" commands that your browser will interpret as it displays it for you. The most common mark-up language is HTML, or HyperText Markup Language. For example, "<p>" means start a new paragraph, and you'll find a matching "</p> " at the end of the paragraph. This may sound complicated but once you know what to do it's simple.

At the top of each HTML file you'll find meta tags. If they're not there, you can insert them. These can be used to include keywords and phrases which the search engines will note. Spend some time thinking of the words and phrases that the people you want to visit your site will use to find you. Put yourself in their position. What words or phrases would you use?

Think up about half a dozen key words for each page. These should appear at the front of the list of meta tags and should also appear liberally throughout the text of the page. The structure of the HTML at the top of the web page is:

<head>
<title>Tim Field shares his unique insight into bullying, a cause of stress and the common
denominator of harassment, discrimination, abuse, conflict and violence</title>
<meta name="description" content="
insight into bullying, harassment and stress">
<meta name="keywords"
content="
bullying, bully, bullies, bullied, workplace, workplace bullying, mobbing, stress,
work, bullying at work"
>
</head>

The <title> should come first - some software packages put it last. The <title> can contain up to about 24 words. The list of keywords can be 1000 characters long - the search engines vary. Put your most important words and phrases first. Do not repeat identical words and phrases, but you can and should include variations. If you have space, you might even like to include common mis-spellings, as this is what people will type! For example, as well as "harassment" you might include "harrassment, "harrasment", "harasment", etc.

You might also want to include both UK and US spellings, eg "behaviour" and "behavior", "counsellor" and "counselor".

Don't worry about the colour of the text - this is done for you. If you're editing the HTML yourself, make sure everything balances, eg "<title>" must have a corresponding "</title>", and so on. Make sure you have the correct number and type of angled brackets < and > and double quotes " ... ".

Spamming

Most search engines detect spammers and exclude their pages. Repetition, except in normal text, is not permitted. In the keywords, you can repeat words if they occur in different combinations but you're not allowed to repeat words exactly. For instance, "bullying, workplace, workplace bullying" is OK, but "bullying, workplace, bullying, workplace bullying, bullying" is not.

You can use almost any words or combinations of words you like, but if you include swear words, there's a possibility the search engine will not list your URL.

You can be a bit cheeky and use well-known names, especially if they have some relevance, eg you could use Nelson, Mandela, Nelson Mandela, on one of your pages. Or other famous or infamous people, eg Tim, Field, Tim Field, etc - for preference you need to work the name into the body text as well.

Other spamming techniques which are forbidden are to repeat words in different colours, or making the repeated words so small you can't see them, or making the repeated words the same colour as the background. The search engine designers are always trying to keep one step ahead of the spammers. Forget spamming and concentrate on good content.

Submitting your site

On most search engines you need only submit the Home Page and a crawler or robot will scour your site and list all pages. Other engines you can submit each page separately. On others, eg Yahoo, you may have to submit separate pages to separate categories of the search engine.

Once you've got you meta tags set up you need to register your URL with the search engines. You can do this by:

a) registering it with each individual search engine - put up the search engine's Home Page and click on the "Add URL" or "Submit a page" option; see

www.yahoo.com
www.excite.com
www.lycos.com
www.hotbot.com
www.northernlight.com
www.infoseek.com
www.webcrawler.com
www.altavista.com
www.directhit.com
http://webdir.euroseek.com
www.alltheweb.com
www.searchallinone.com

Read the rules for each one - these often contain hints on submission. Yahoo is, I think, the only search engine where URL's are check by a human being - the others use robots.

b) or you can use a utility to submit it to all the search engines

c) or use one of the facilities at (say) www.register-it.com or www.submit-it.com to submit your web site.

d) or use a combination of these.

Note that registration often takes two weeks or more before your site appears in the search results.

I suggest first playing with the search engines to get a feel for how other people structure their sites, the titles they use, etc. You may be able to save other people's web pages as HTML on your computer, then you can look at their HTML. Not everyone pays attention to the HTML so look at several different sites to get a feel.

There are various utilities which will submit your site to the search engines. Many require payment. I don't use these.

Finally, don't be in too much of a hurry to register your site. Get it set up and make it rich with content first.

Useful articles on web design:

Lycos guide to HTML and search engines

Jennifer Stewart's Ten Elements for Successful Web Site Design: http://www.write101.com/101web.htm

Bob Weinstein's Six Mistakes You Should Never Make On Your Web Site: http://www.pathfinder.com/fortunesb/articles/0,2227,454,00.html

Optmising the text found in the META Description tag: http://www.webposition.com/metadescription.htm

Tim Field
Webmaster of Bully OnLine at Bully Online
August 2003


Where now?
Lots of information and ideas for tackling bullying including the legal aspects
Action Home Page | Action to tackle bullying
Guidance for employers on policy development
Bullying and the trade unions | Bullying and the law
Case law on bullying, harassment, stress and personal injury
Court judgements in cases relevant to bullying
Long v. Mercury Mobile Communications Services
Hatton Barber et al: 16 practical propositions for a personal injury case
Right to be accompanied | The need for risk assessment
High Court injunction to prevent unfair dismissal | Obstruction to justice
Bullyonline action forum for validation and re-empowerment
UK Dignity at Work Bill | Swedish law on Victimization at Work
Bullying and human rights | Waters v. London Metropolitan Police
Barber v. Somerset County Council
Zimmerman: retaliation in the US courts
Bullying history: books, articles and publications since 1992
How to lobby your MP: example letter and summary of inadequacy of UK law
Amicus Campaign Against Bullying At Work (CABAW)
Tim Field's written submission to the Dignity at Work Bill debate
Getting another job after bullying | How to recover from bullying
Setting up a bullying survivor support group | Sample support group constitution
Using the search engines to find other sites on bullying etc
Dealing with viruses, worms, spam etc
Designing and building your own web site
Advice and guidance for new Internet users
Tim Field's book Bully in sight validates the experience of bullying and
defines the injury to health caused by bullying and harassment

Home Pages
The Field Foundation | Bully OnLine
Workplace bullying | School bullying | Family bullying
Bullying news | Press and media centre
Bullying case histories | Bullying resources
Stress and PTSD
Action to tackle bullying | Related issues

Success Unlimited
Books on bullying and psychiatric injury