My web site (k0bg.com) has been active since April 27th, 2004. From humble beginnings, the current visitorrate exceeds 1,000 per day, and the hits average about 1.5 million ormore per month. These figures double during the beginning of the vacation season, and wane a bit during the winter months, except forabout 2 weeks just before Christmas. I'd like to think I'm on tosomething. Over the years, I've learned a few things which might help others wanting to start their own web sites. They're in no particular order, but the more important ones are close to the top of the list. You're obviously free to comment about them,as we'll all hopefully benefit. 1.) Decide whether your site will befor personal consumption, or public consumption. If it is for the former, do whatever you want to do, and read no further. If it is for the latter, then pay attention to what's below. 2.) Bite the bullet! Buy yourself adecent web layout program. I use Adobe's Dreamweaver which retails for about $350. There are others, but you get what you pay for. Whatever application you purchase, make sure it supports HTML5. Whatever you do, don't use a word processing application to do a webpage, especially MicroSoft Word. Ugh! From a personal standpoint, I've never liked any of the offerings from MicroSoft, including their new $400+Vision Studio suite. But, if you have Winders 8, a really fast CPU,and tons of RAM and storage space, it does have some fancy layout options. Speaking of which... 3). The index page—the first thing you see what accessing a web site—is the most important page ofall. It tells visitors what your site is all about. Spend whatever time it takes, to put your best foot forward. Expect to change it several times. However, once it looks good, and tells the rightstory, leave it alone! 4). Don't get fancy! Busy backgrounds, music overtures, rolling messages, scrolling photo montages, flashing icons, and animated GIFs just aren't conducive to revisits. Pictures of your favorite pet or breed shouldn't be used either unless that is what the site is about. 5.) If your site will have a lot of photos, then invest in a good gallery program. Most hosting sites have one or more available. It is best to choose one with FTP capabilities. 6.) Don't use more than two fonts for dissertation pages. If you have to highlight a point, use bold or italics rather than a different font. If the content is mostly verbiage, Times New Roman is the ultimate for easy reading. Not everyone has a brand-new, HTML5-capable browser, so use one of the seven universal net fonts. The same goes for background colors. Ofthe 255, eight-bit colors, only 240 are universal. Once everyone switches over to HTML5, it won't matter, but it does at the moment. 7.) Don't put everything on the index page! Instead, do a logical index page with links to the information inside. Keep re-paging to a minimum. That is, don't link to a page containing nothing but more links to yet other pages. 8.) If at all possible, the subject matter should be unique. That's sort of difficult to do nowadays, asthere are over one billion web sites, and growing every day! One way to accomplish this is to stick to one specific area or facet. For sure, amateur radio is full of them! The name (URL actually) should beunique too, and one way to assure that is to use your call sign. Finding a unique one otherwise is getting nearly impossible. In anycase, it should fit the contents if possible. If not, the index page should. And, while you're thinking about what the subject should be, think about the following. There isn't much that hasn't been published about antennas, so that's a poor choice as a simple Google search will attest. Contesting is a close second, DX chasing is about third, and not too far behind is operating techniques. I don't want to start a trend here, but there seems to be a dearth of home brew amplifier sites. Same goes for tower installation sites, at least theones that know how to do it correctly! Josh Wolfe said ages ago: …it is best not to know very much, than to know a lot things that aren't true! In other words, there are a whole lot of amateur radio related sites full of misinformation. So whatever you choose, know your subject! 9.) Stay away from all of those free web-site Java scripts. No one but you will care about how many visitors you've had. What's more, most folks don't care what your local weather conditions are like, what their IP address happens to be, or what country they're from? 10.) Forget about free (and/or cheap) hosting sites like GoDaddy. The problem is, you have no control over the ad content that's presented. Imagine a sanitary napkin ad atop your treatise on safe tower erection! Ugh! A decent hosting company like iPower, which I use, will set you back up to $150 per year depending on the other services you opt for. In my personal case, the total is close to $225 per year. That includes 10 TB of storage, one of the best Photo Galleries ever designed, daily stats, a daily backup of the site, and unlimited email accounts (which I don't use). If you're marketing a product, most hosting companies have a plethora of applications to help advertise your site. If you're an individual, then think about this. Most search engine sites (Google for example) have forms you fill out to register your site. You input the important points about your site. This aids them in setting the database search words which drive visitors to your site. Learn about meta data! If you want the low down on meta data, then do a Google search for same. The one thing you want to remember about meta data key words is this simple fact: Don't get verbose! Use too many, and traffic will be diverted, rather than be directed. By the way, each page should have the same meta data, so it pays to build a template to be used for new pages. 11.) The old adage about a picture being worth a thousand words is true, but to a point. Any picture file larger than about 150 kilobytes takes too long to load, especially if there are several on one page. If you have to purchase a photo editing application to accomplish this, then just do it! Photo file types are important too. Although most browsers support GIF, JPEG, TIFF, and PGN, it is best to stick with JPEGs even though they're slightly larger than other file types. The simple reason is, they scale better. For example, you typically do not want full-sized photos to appear on a page full of verbiage. All decent layout programs allow you to thumbnail almost any sized photo, and JPEGs always look better than other reduced fileformats. All that is necessary is to link the photo to the full-sized image. This may seem like Greek to a neophyte, but if you buy adecent web page layout program it won't be! Make sure the photos are tagged with a descriptive name. This helps sight-impaired visitors to grasp the content without actually being able to see the photo. 12.) I use a lot of links both on-site, and off-site. On-site links should replace the existing page, and off-site links should open a new page. This is easy to do if you bought the software I suggested above. It is also important to enter the complete URL. In other words, include http://www.title.com. All links should be regularly tested, as they change almost on a daily basis. Web layout applications do this for you, but for external links, use Integrity by PeacockMedia. It is free, but they do ask for a donation, or at least a link to their site. There are dozens of other things you should avoid, and the following speak for themselves. A) Plagiarism! Quoting a specific statement, or even a paragraph, is within the confines of the law, as long as you cite the reference. When you don't, it is plagiarism! In other words, stealing! This is true even when the information presented is generic (well known fact). And make sure you state on the index page that the contents are copyrighted, even if they'renot. B) Copyright infringement. Just don'tdo it! If you need the reference (typically photos), ask first. This includes governmental sites like NHTSA, OSHA, FCC, and others. Personally, I've never been turned down! I tell the copyright owner why I want to include the information, and that typically suffices. Just make sure that you cite the reference. However, if your site is a money maker—non-personal—then expect to pay royalties. C) Most photo galleries have provisions for visitors to up-load their own photos, or at least comment on whatis already there. Whatever you do, shut those features off! If you don't, you'll soon discover all manner of porn-related postings. This is a particular problem with blogs. D) Blogs. Unless you have a whole bunch of friends to watch over what's posted, don't even think about it! QRZ is a blog of sorts, and look at all of the folks they have to watch over erroneous posts! Blogs should always require some sort of logon to post comments. I'm in favor of that. However, personally I'd go a bit further and demand verification of call sign and identification. When you don't, you get a whole lot of miscreants who hide behind an anonymous pseudonym. E) Cookies. Cookies are little bits of information downloaded to a browser's data files. They can be useful in many ways. A good example is saving logon information, a form of ID as it were. I don't use them myself, but if you decide to, make sure you bone-up on their use. Again, Google is a good source of information. F) I've save the most important issue for last, but in reality it is the first. If you don't have the time to keep your site regularly updated, forget about having one! Nothing is worse than searching for a specific issue, only to find out the data is 5 or more years old! Good Luck!