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Now it's time to begin developing your website.  First of all, several tips applicable to everyone who puts a website on FreePages, no matter what method you use to develop your website:
  • Rules were NOT made to be broken.  Do not include any files in your web that are not allowed on Freepages.  If so, the server may not allow you to upload, and if they find that you have done so your account could be disabled. When you signed up for Freepages web space, you had to read and accept the items in the original agreement at http://accounts.rootsweb.com/index.cgi?op=show&page=freagree.htm which lists some of the items, but you should also read the Acceptable Use Policy.  Some of the basics of what is not allowed are
    • files that are used as storage (such as MP3, zip files, video files, etc.);
    • your GEDCOMs - these are storage, too - see the link for suggestions on what to do if you want to get your entire GEDCOM online;
    • files that cannot display the ad banners (examples include files of Adobe PDF, MS Publisher, etc);
    • pages that are password-protected - if you don't want everyone to see it, don't put it on the web;
    • content that is illegal, obscene, indecent, defamatory, incites racial or ethnic hatred or violates the rights of others (examples include copyright violation or privacy issues as well as the obvious ones);
    • pages for the purpose of commercial use, advertising or fee for service (selling something).

You can link to other websites which may contain some of these things, but you are not allowed to load these items or sell anything from your FreePages space or your account will be closed.

  • One for all.  FreePages supports .htm, .html, and .shtml pages.  The .shtml are secure pages, primarily used by retail sites, so you probably won't need those since selling things on Freepages is forbidden.  Either .htm or .html will work well.  It's best to use only one page name extension, just so you can easily remember what they are.
     
  • A Capital Idea.  Capitalization is important - in your ID and password as well as your page names, pictures, and links.  The Unix server at RootsWeb treats items with the same name as different if they have different capitalization - index.htm and Index.htm and index.HTM and INDEX.htm are seen as different pages by the server.  When you're linking to a file, the link must be EXACTLY the same name as the item you're linking to or the server won't be able to find it and you'll have a bad link. 

    May I STRONGLY suggest that you put everything in lower case (small letters)? I found out myself (and heard later from a lot of other people) that if I forgot, and some had capitals and some were in small letters, the links didn't work correctly when I put the wrong version on the link.  This applies to page names, pictures, and anything else you put on your webpages.
     
  • Don't space out.  Your file names (webpages and pictures on your site) should never have a space in them. Spaces often cause a problem with uploads.  And some browsers will not load items (web pages or pictures) which have a space in the name.  So it's best to not have spaces in the names at all.  If you don't want names that run together, use a dash - or underscore _ where a space would be .    For instance - zuber_cheri-page.htm
     
  • Don't get framed! Search engines don't understand frames.  When the search engine visits the website to spider it for indexing on the search engine, then the spider will either leave or only look at the pages on the site that aren't in frames, so your page may not show up in search engines like Yahoo, Google, Alta Vista, etc.. 

    In addition, frames don't work well on FreePages.  RootsWeb ads are added to your site every time there is a beginning and ending body tag, which on a normal page is at the top and bottom.  However, on a frame page each frame has its own body tags, so an ad appears at the top and bottom of each and every frame which can get messy and unappealing.  So think twice before using frames.  Try using tables, Server Side Include (SSI), or Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to achieve the affect you're going for.
     
  • Make mine a double.  If you're publishing to more than one community/directory of Freepages, it can get confusing and sometimes difficult to keep them in line and remember what goes where.  I've found it best to set up the pages for each community as a separate web on your computer to make it easier to publish when you're ready to do so.
     
  • What's your name?  There are three different "names" for any webpage:
    1. The header is the major heading on your page that everyone sees when they open a webpage. (on this page it is the big blue words "Genealogy Computer Tips")
    2. The title tag or title element (officially it's element, but many people call it a tag)  Title and Meta tags are important.  (On this page it is "Computer Tips - Page Development").  This is the "official" name of your page.  It shows in the bar at the top of the browser when a page is opened.  It is also the name that RootsWeb uses to index your page.  Usually the title tag will match the header on your page, but it's not absolutely essential.  As you move on in developing your pages, be sure to check out the information for adding the Title tag and Meta tags to your site to enable viewers to find your site better..
    3. The file name (i.e. index.htm)  Your home page / entry page at the first level of your website should be named index.htm or index.html (or any capitalization version of that) for two reasons: 
    • The Unix server, when someone goes to your web folder, will automatically pull up the index page if nothing else is specified (assuming one exists!).  If there is no index page, individuals will see your directory when they don't specify a page in the URL.  Also, having an index page allows you to be able to give out a shorter URL to others (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~zuber/ rather than having to add the actual page name to it and making the URL longer -  http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~zuber/index.htm). 
    • An index page must also be present at the first level of your website for the FreePages server to index your page and add it to the FreePages directory.  You must also have a title tag on your page for it to be indexed properly. 
    • Besides the "required" index page in your main folder, you could have an index page in every folder of your site.  It is entirely a matter of preference, but having an index page in every folder would avoid having someone able to view a directory of your pages rather than the page itself.

Now remember these items as we move on to actually begin developing your pages.

 

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This page was last updated on Saturday, May 29, 2010.

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