Home

 

Selling out

A PIECE OF MY MIND
(Yes, I can spare it)

When you visit eFuse.com today (which you will hopefully do), you will notice something new—and I don't just mean the new articles and questionnaire and free font (yes, free stuff again). You will notice advertisements (or maybe you'll ignore them entirely, which is perfectly all right, too!)

I can hear you sighing now. "Just what I need, more ads in my life." Well, let me explain. The reason is simple: Money. Hey—this is the real world, someone's got to pay all eFuse.com's professional writers (not to mention yours truly—hey, have you seen the price of a loaf of bread lately—I've taken to baking my own, but that's another story).

I thought long and hard about this and the bottom line was that *someone* had to pay: It was either you, or some nameless, faceless advertisers. I know that ads cost you—it costs you both time, and in some countries, connect charges. On average, the ads should add less than six seconds per page. We're also using a system where the ads usually do NOT download first (like on so many sites), so in most cases, the content appears first, then you see the ads. So you shouldn't have to wait longer to start reading a page.

I've tried to make the ads as painless as possible. I did a lot of experiments and hit upon a design that helps. The ads are clearly separated from the editorial content by color. While I can't change the fact that the ads themselves are usually bright and colorful, the dark border around them helps to make them blend with the background.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Now—I want to know what you think. If you answer our latest "Your Two Cents" survey called "What's bugging you?" )

you can tell us what you think of the ads, and what bugs you about the web in general (and eFuse.com too, if you'd like). Your opinion matters, so please take the survey—and in response, you'll get a lovely script font (for both Windows and Mac), designed by a Pulitzer Prize finalist music composer (I kid you not).

While you're taking the survey, you can also tell me if you'd like to see bread recipes on eFuse.com. No, they have nothing to do with the web, but like the decision to put ads on your pages, sometimes you have to "get real."

 

GET BACKground JACK

A web site background can be one of the simplest and most "economical" ways to make your site stand out (and become so memorable that people will remember your site, and return to it). Yet backgrounds mystify a lot of people. Toni Will-Harris explains background graphics with such rare clarity that you will understand it, or your money cheerfully refunded.

SELLING OUT

You may be too young have to heard of people "selling the Brooklyn Bridge," but it was a common scam that became a cliche—selling something that wasn't yours to sell. I not only heard about this—I did it, at least in a TV movie called "The Mae West Story," starring Anne Jillian. I played the guy who played the guy who tried to sell her the Brooklyn Bridge in one of Mae's movies. If you don't believe me, rent the movie. I'm in it for all of about 15 seconds. I make quite an impression and got a haircut that it took me a year to outgrow.

But back to reality: How do you legally sell something that wasn't yours in the first place and make money off it! Affiliate sales are the web's win-win answer and John San Filippo tells you how.

WRITING AND THE WEB

How is the Internet affecting the English language? And how can the way you use English affect you? Christopher Meeks explains how the internet, and even e-mail, can actually improve your writing, and gives you some great ways to help organize your thoughts. Come on now, you know there's more text than graphics on the web, so just break down and read Chris' excellent article and learn how to express yourself more clearly. It could be the first step to world peace, or at least getting what you want for dinner.

INTRANET IN AN INSTANT

So, the boss decided the department needed an intranet—and then decided you were just the right person to create one. Problem being, you don't really know what to put on an intranet, let alone how to create one from scratch. It's OK, you are not alone. JD Shipengrover gives you some useful shortcuts to get you up and running in no time.

WHAT'S BUGGING YOU?

Now's your chance to flame, without getting Smokey the Bear all upset. Are there things about the web that make you so made steam comes out of your ears? Tell us what they are. And, as thanks for taking the time to speak your mind, you'll get a free font.

 

FRONT PAGE DUMPS USERS
(but we'll take care of you)

In an extremely unceremonious (and, I think, hasty) way, Microsoft closed down their excellent Site Builder Network for Front Page users. Instead, they've dumped them into their "Developer's Network," which is really for programmers. What they're telling people is, "We don't care what your real job is—you still need to be a programmer." Well, this is the total antithesis of what we believe at eFuse.com. We believe that your real job is important, and it's our job to make it easier for you to build a web site (without you having to be a programmer). So if you've been dumped by Microsoft and FrontPage, or have friends who have, dump them.

Why not e-mail this FuseLetter (or even just this paragraph) to your poor jilted friends. Sign up for the FuseLetter—we'll take care of you. To join the FuseLetter, just send e-mail to: or go to www.efuse.com, enter your name in the box on the home page.

TAG, YOU'RE IT

So you thought you were too good to use ALT tags on your graphics, huh? Well, think again. The US federal government is working on standards designed to ensure that Web sites operated by firms doing business with government agencies are fully accessible to the disabled. ALT tags are one way to start.

Importing sites from Front Page (or anything else) into NetObjects Fusion

I'm often asked if there's a way to import a site created in Front Page into NetObjects Fusion. The answer is: Yes, absolutely—I do it myself all the time.

It requires a small investment in time that will quickly pay for itself the first time you have to manage your site by adding, moving, or changing pages on your site. For example, my own site was built over many years (it started in 1994, the "dark ages" when the commercial web was in its infancy). So I used many different programs to build the site—from the Notepad, to Word, to HotDog, HotMeTaL, Word, Vermeer's Front Page, Claris Home Page, PageMill, PuppyMill, Microsoft Front page, Symantec's Visual Page, and a bunch more I seem to recall that I've forgotten. Getting the site consistent was difficult with all those programs, so I tended to resist adding or changing my site, because it was always a lot of work.

But once I brought it into Fusion, it was much easier to manage, much easier to make consistent, much easier to grow.

  • You can import the site either from your hard disk, or from the web. In either case, start NOF. From the opening screen, choose:
  • Create a new site: from an existing web site.
  • NOF will ask you if it's local (on your hard disk) or remote.
  • For this example, let's say it's local.
  • In the "Home page" box, enter the location of your home page—or click on the browse button to navigate through your hard disk to select it.
  • You can choose to limit the number of pages or how deep in the structure it will go. This can be useful if your site is online, so you don't get other sites sucked in from external links. If it's on your hard disk, you can just stay off-line, and it won't try to import external pages.
  • Under Domain name: enter the domain where your site will be located online. This helps Fusion manage links.
  • Click on OK.
  • Fusion asks you what you want to call this new site. Enter a name and click on OK.
  • Fusion imports the site—the graphic, then the HTML files.

Then it builds a structure for the site inside of Fusion. This can take some time in a large site, because there's a LOT of work to do. Be patient. Have a cookie. Take a meeting. Better yet, take a nap. My own site of about 250 pages took about 45 minutes to import. Your mileage may vary. When it's done, you will need to do some cleanup work.

Fusion does a good job figuring out structure, but it can't always tell what pages were in which sections, so you should look at SiteView and drag pages into the proper order. This can take a little time at first, but it pays off quickly because then Fusion makes it so much easier to manage, organize, reorganize and grow your site.

Next—you will probably want to create a new MasterBorder with your site's navigation. That way you can easily update this on ALL your pages at once, rather than a page at a time.

I recommend you look at each and every page in your site—just as you'd do any time you made a major change to a site.

If you're created a MasterBorder for your navigation, as you go through the pages, you can delete the old navigation and change to the new MasterBorder that contains your "global" navigation.

You may also want to do some cleanup work, tweak layouts, etc. Fusion does a good job importing sites, but because it's translating pages into its own format (which allows for a LOT more precision), you will probably find you can improve your site's layout once it's in Fusion, and you'll want to do it. If you're working on a large site, I recommend you do this a few pages at a time.

TIP: Here's the fastest way to clean up an imported layout. Because most modern web pages are created as complex tables, NetObjects Fusion often imports these pages as tables so that the import is as accurate as possible. That's fine—until you go to try to edit the page, and then this format can make changes difficult.

What I recommend is this—double click in the content area of the page. This is probably going to be a single table column. Choose Edit/Select All, then choose Edit/Cut. This will remove the content from the table.

If there's nothing else you need to save, you can then choose Edit/Select All and choose Edit/Clear to delete the rest of the objects from the page (if you choose Edit/Cut again, you will LOSE the content you cut originally, and you don't want to do that). If you need to save something from another table cell, just drag the table out of the way.

Create a new text box, click inside it, then choose Edit/Paste. Your content—text, graphics, everything, will now appear cleanly into this simple text box which is much easier to resize, shape, move, and in general manage.

If you have a small site, say 20 pages or less, you can do all this in about an hour. If you have a large site, plan on spending a few sessions of a few hours each to do cleanup work, and to tweak and improve the site the way you can do much easier in Fusion than any other way.

 

GO GORE!

I'm impressed. Not only does the Al Gore for President web site look good, it's smart on many different levels. First—its design leads you through a process. If you answer the poll, it asks if you want to sign up for the mailing list. If you do this, it asks if you want to volunteer. Say yes, and it offers you a link to official Gore2000 merchandise. This is what I call leadership. I'm serious. It's a logical progression that looks at the way people think, makes logical assumptions, then makes it easier for people to get involved.

And another stroke of genius: Check out the source code (choose View/Source in your browser). They use this "cheap" space (cheap because it's plain ASCII text and doesn't take long to download) to target a message directly to web developers and programmers. Talk about brilliant, targeted marketing! They're going right to the source (pun intended). This is a web site that's truly well thought out. I learned from it, and I'm sure you can, too.

That's it for now. Here's looking at you, kid!

Daniel Will-Harris

 

Previous

Next

Like the stories? Buy the book!

Home | Subscribe | Index | Will-Harris House | MyDailyYoga | ElementOfTime
eFuse: Learn to build a better web site | Need Fusion Support?

The SchoomozeLetter is ©1998-2005, Daniel Will-Harris, all rights reserved. If you'd like to use any article on the web or in print, please ask for permission. If you're an agent or publisher looking to publish these pieces, just drop me a note.