Web Site Building · Planning · Management and Maintenance

What this is about:

The management and updating of any web site is a time consuming business. It's also incredibly important and there are plenty of traps for new players. If your viewers in any way come to believe your site is not going to develop and grow, there's no point in giving you a bookmark and making a return visit. Managing your site's growth and maintaining the appearance and functionality will keep it evergreen.

Experience Breeds Complexity

by Loadstar

Site Maintenance Webmasters of large sites should remember that as your site, and your experience grows, that site will become more complicated. It's all very exciting. Once you reach this stage you should be testing all of your pages as many different browsers as possible, and on Windows, MacIntosh and Linux. The more complications on a site, the more differences you'll find in the way they display. Don't ever let anyone tell you it's only possible to code correctly for one browser; you can modify code in minor ways and have your pages display perfectly for all of your viewers.

Some time ago I faced moving my web site, at the time it was around 400 pages and just the thought made me break into a cold sweat. In my case it proved to be an easy matter, and I accomplished the move in just a short time because I have my web site mirrored on my local computer.

All the files reside in their individual directories. So I was able to fire them up quickly and then just change the paths for a dozen so they referenced the correct server. I know some people insist on always using the full paths in any URL they reference, even those on their own site. I usually don't.

That way, if I move a file, directory, or shift servers, I don't have to worry about too many changing paths. It's something else which is very time consuming and extremely prone to being overlooked, leaving your site with a dead link. On a large site, that dead link could well remain undiscovered by you for months.

Once my files were up, I created a page on my previous URL to automatically redirect visitors, using the following line:

<meta http-equiv="Refresh" content="10"; URL="http://www.newurl.com/">

I then promptly forgot about it for around 18 months. When I returned, intending to take it down, I was stopped when a look at the server access files showed that people were still hitting the old URL. If you move servers, never forget that some people keep bookmarks for years, so try to maintain a redirect as long as possible — and notify referrers of your new URL. You don't want your visitors to become your former visitors.

Be Persistent

“Perhaps the most important aspect of Web site management is that you enjoy yourself. Put your heart and soul into having fun with your creation.” &mdash Loadstar

Two other things I did immediately after my move, and these things I still do every single month. One, I run search engine submission software. I won't get in-depth into this, it's a whole subject on its own, but there's a fine line between submitting too frequently lest the search engines take you to be "spamming" them, or timing it right to improve your listings.

Second, I run link checking software to search for dead links or graphics. At one stage my site had 1,800 outside links. Obviously I couldn't check them all manually. That's one of those problems peculiar to large sites.

Web site design can have a very steep learning curve. Every so often I come across an idea and mentally slot it away for adaptation on my own site. I suggest you do the same. It isn't stealing. Modify the ideas, make them your own, simply learn from other people who already know a bit more than you may at this stage. Even more than that, if you're curious about how something has been done on a web site approach the webmaster for advice, in most cases they'll give it willingly.

One last thing. Perhaps the most important aspect of Web site management is that you enjoy yourself. If you ignore every other detail in this article, I at least hope you'll take my advice on this. Put your heart and soul into having fun with your creation.



Loadstar is webmistress of the highly acclaimed Loadstar's Lair. This is one of the largest collections of tiger pictures and information on the Internet. You will also encounter galleries of digital art and photography, a humor section that doesn't hold back, marvelous poetic justice, and a tour of Loadstar's home, New Zealand.