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on July 30, 2003
"Not returning an email is the Web's equal to being ignored by a clerk. I don't mean setting up a program that sends a nice form-style thank-you-for-writing letter. Users want an answer from you."
Yes, and I'm a bit behind this week. :> I also hate those form letters. arrgggg
This is a great book for anyone who is starting out and wants to try to figure out who their site is for and why people will want to visit their site. This was the first thing I thought about when creating mine, but often people just have an idea and run with it. With the advice in this book, you can :
Plan your site for your audience
Create meaningful text and navigation
Add images and other visual enhancements
Communicate with your visitors
Find the best ways to promote your site
Joe Burn?s has a HTML Goodies Web site and there you can learn HTML, JavaSCript and other website creation tools. He has been creating websites since the first version of Mosaic was released. Since then, he has taught thousands of people to build great websites. Including me. ;) Well, I do the best I can.
A lot of people think building a website is very difficult because they think you have to know HTML, but the truth is, if you get FrontPage, you don?t have to know very much.
The Contents Include:
Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged
Before Your Write a Word
Begin the Design
Your Site and Your Server
Text and Color
Links, Links, Links
Images and the Visual
Hello? Anybody Here? How Many?
Outside HTML
Promoting Your Site
There are great ideas like looking at who your competitions is, finding out how you want to design your template, choosing a font that can be read and making your site more well-known by word of link.
The author is also "so" correct about his ideas on "critiquing" other sites. That is a great idea because then you learn what you like and don't like. One of my main concerns was navigation.
There is also some great advice on domain names and what you should avoid. I guess using "the" in my one name isn't suggested, but then again, it has worked for me.
While I'm not so concerned about how to read HTML, I do like having a basic understanding. There are some tags and their functions listed on pg. 140.
For the longest time, I had no idea what the difference between a "hit" and a "visitor" was.
I just purchased my own URL for another 9 years. I'm in this for the long haul! People say they sometimes get lost at my site in a good way, so I think this book helped me.
It is strange, but when I first put up my site, I had webmasters arriving from who knows where telling me what I was doing right and wrong. It was the best thing to ever happen to me in regards to my site. If you are willing to take constructive criticism about the construction of your site, you will find people are very willing to give great advice. Of course if they tell you to change the background on every page, run, run, run quickly.
Well, the way I've built my site, I have no idea how that would be done unless I go to every single page. I assume there is some logical secret, maybe just changing the one image would solve the entire conundrum.
Great book for anyone just getting started. This has lots of the basics. You can also visit his site for added information.
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on December 23, 2001
. . . still a lot of useful info in here for more experienced folks (who sometimes tend to forget some of the basics).
I think the thing I liked most about this approach to site design is that Burns keeps it absolutely free of HTML version-specific or browser-specific gimmicks. A previous reviewer panned it because Burns didn't give examples of how to use transparent GIFs, pixel shims, etc. -- well, thank goodness, becuase that would've ruined the entire premise of the book. Burns advocates for knowing your target audience, knowing what your "killer app" is, and then doing everything you can to deliver as much of that "killer app" to your target audience as you can. He also advocates against throwing images or elements onto a page/site just because you can, or because it's the "newest" thing; he does hammer this over and over, and I think that's valuable for a large number of part-time amateur web authors who have never really thought about *why* they have a site, or what they put on it.
The other thing I really liked were Burns' critiques at the end of each chapter. It's very easy to find things you don't like & knock them; anybody can do that. Burns goes beyond this, though, and offers suggestions for improving site design, praise for things well done, and a chance to see how different design concepts are carried out by all levels of author.
It's not an HTML "how to" book, so if that's what you want, I'd recommend another of the author's books, "HTML Goodies." But, if you're new to site design, or are very experienced yet want to improve upon what you already know, this is a great book.
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on July 29, 2001
This is the kind of book that an aspiring web designer should read before learning HTML. For it is not just another HTML book, in fact it contains no HTML at all. The author presents pages followed by his opinion regarding the design. As Burns is the first to say, his opinions are not infallible, there can be circumstances where you may not want to follow his advice. However, he does know what he is talking about, so do not be hasty towards the contrary position.
I found the book easy to read and the choices for sample sites were well made. Rather than make it easy for himself by picking sites that are awful, in general he chose pages that were quite good. If a site had been atrocious, the problems would have been obvious, even for a beginner. By choosing good ones, he could then point out the �flaws� that are easily overlooked.
This is a book that should be read either before or concurrently with a book that teaches the construction of pages. It is not necessary to know HTML to understand the material and web pages are like houses, you should first learn to read the blueprints before you start to build the walls.
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on July 22, 2001
I have been working with web pages for over 4 years and I have taught web design classes. I thought I had a good idea of what is involved with the design, setup and marketing of a web site. Now I find this book and there are so many things I had never thought of before.

As with other Joe buns books this book is an excellent representation of what you can do if you have a little guidance to help you along. Burns is truly remarkable in the ways he is able to present ideas clearly yet make them understandable at the same time.

The book begins with an overview of what things to look for and what ideas to consider when planning and designing a web site. Then Burns has you consider 5 questions before you begin the actual design layout, an approach that will help in making a better website.

There are other topics like the 10 things you shouldn't put in the website, to choosing a server and ISP, to text and color, there is something for beginners and experts alike. Burns also spends time explaining links, images and visual effects before moving on to counters and web site promotion.

Overall there is about everything you need to have in order to make sure you have a successful website right from the start and for years to come. A first-rate book from a first-rate author.
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on August 29, 2001
Joe Burns has done an incredible job putting together the most useful information on creating your site. The first few chapters are so useful, I cannot believe I did not do all of the recommended things before.
Now I am much more confident the site I am working on will be more appealing, and target the visitor, their needs/wants, and not what I like.
This is a must read, if you do nothing else, read his chapter Two, on, "Before you write a Word". If more people read this book, there would be a lot more GREAT and SUPER web sites, as opposed to the spattering of GREAT one's now. It is worth taking the time to stop doing what you are working on, and read this book.
He is a bit opinionated, however, 95% of his thoughts are right on, and I have already seen it work on my new site.. You will not find chunks of code, or cookie cutter templates here, but you get the design concepts, and how to make your pages stand out and get visitors that want to come back.
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on October 26, 2001
Web Site Design Goodies is a pefect book for beginners but not for novices and experts. Some of the pros of this book is that it contains many critiques (not reviews - it offers as much advice for imporvement rather than just ridicule) of websites and lists some of the common mistakes beginners make. I also found his chapters on site identification and promotion quite useful. Some of the cons on the otherhand is that it does not cover advanced topics such as transparent gif tricks, complex tables, etc, and that the author repeats himself on certain subjects far too many times. Bottom line: get it if you are a beginner, don't get it if you are anything more than that.
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on March 16, 2004
This is yet another great book by Joe. Joe Burn's is a unique technical author that writes as if he is talking to you. I recommend this book to anyone-that includes the non-technical folks--interested in setting up his/her own website. WHY? Because this book IS for beginners. It is written in a simple to follow, easy to read style. I wish more technical authors would follow Joe's simple style for their writing. Highly recommended!
Zev Saftlas, Author of Motivation That Works: How to Get Motivated and Stay Motivated
PS this book helped me open my own website!
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on August 3, 2001
This book will take you through the basics of designing web pages and then moves on to more advanced materials. Not much can be said about this book except that it really covers the topic. If you are designing web pages for large companies or just want to set up a personal web page, this is the book for you. Be warned, this book is on web design, which means it is mainly authors opinion, you may not personally agree with this books teachings.
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