Virtual Mechanics Newsletter
-- Helping You Get The Most Out of Your Website --
August SiteSpinner WebTips

Hi there,

The long hot days of summer are here, at least for some. Though many people take a vacation this time of year, work and school are just around the corner. Now is the time to start thinking about any new websites, or edits to your existing site that you might want to make before September is upon us.

In this issue:
Design  - Are you to the left, to the right, or to the center?
If you surf around the web you should notice that there are a number of different ways that websites are laid out - the fixed width, top-left justified site; the fixed width centered site; the expanding/contracting width site; and lastly the site that includes a combination of all three.

How you layout your site  is determined by a number of factors, including, but not limited to: the purpose of your site, your intended audience, and your software's technical capabilities.

The most common format for laying out a website is to create pages that are top and left justified, with all the objects within the page kept static - that is they do not change relative to the user's computer settings. For an example of this see Craigslist:

Another common design is to have everything centered. You create a page, say 800 by 600 and then center it. No matter what the visitor's screen settings are, or how wide they have their browser set, the page will be centered. For an example of this, see the Virtual Mechanics Home Page:

Another option is to layout a site in which the objects on the page expand and contract to the screen resolution or browser settings - is an example.

Lastly, some sites use a combination of the above. Yahoo's page: is an example of this.

The top-left justified is the easiest to build and the most cross-browser compatible. The centered site is the next easiest (this is my personal preference) and is the most popular layout by large sites. The other options are a bit more difficult, though can be worth the effort. They take a bit of experimentation to get the objects set correctly in terms of relative positioning versus relative sizing.

All the sites types mentioned above can be created with SiteSpinner V2 and Web Engine V2 (beta). Centering pages is easy with SiteSpinner and WebEngine. First off, be sure that you have designed your pages relative to the 'Guide Border' (icon on the top tool bar) as this is the reference guide for centering.

Go to the Page Editor > Special Effects tab, and check 'Center Page Horizontally' - that's it. If you would like the effect applied to all pages, simply press the 'All Pages' button.

A couple of notes:

a) be sure that all objects are centered within the Guide Border. The Guide Border dimensions can be changed under Options > Project Options. Whatever you set this at, your content should be placed assuming that the blue outline is the browser's horizontal boundaries.

b) do not use Relative Spacing or Relative Sizing (functions on the bottom tool bar) on any objects if you plan on using the Page Center function.

One last note, SiteSpinner and Web Engine also allow you to create relative 'Vertical' positioning and scaling. You don't see too many sites that employ that, so if you want to experiment with something new, that would be the way to go (and be sure to drop us a note with the URL if you do!).
How To - Promoting Your Site
Promoting your site and generating traffic is a topic of significant interest to every web manager and designer. Getting a top-ten ranking on the major search engines can go a long way to accomplishing this objective. Simply set up your Meta Tags properly, organize your web pages and submit your site to the search engines and voila! Your done - right?

It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that if 100 web managers submit their site to the search engines under specific keywords, at best only 10% of them will succeed in getting a top-ten ranking (maybe 1 will get all 10). Search Engine ranking can quickly become a game in which you are constantly tweaking and changing your site in order to maintain or improve your position. There are many other factors, gimmicks and games that can be employed in the quest for the 'holy top-ten ranking'. These include topics such as Gateway pages, Word Density analysis and much more.

Although achieving a high search engine ranking is a valid and potentially profitable objective, it can also become quite unproductive. It is a lot like trying to ride the crest of a wave. It constantly moves and there is always someone else that wants to be on top. There are many other promotion techniques that can be equally or more productive than search engine ranking depending on your business. Working to improve your search engine ranking gets a lot of attention and press because it appears to cost nothing and can be learned by anyone that is willing to invest the time. This is deceptive however. Time is money, or in this case, web site hits. At some point, the time invested does not generate a profitable return.

So how else can you promote your site?

Techniques for promoting your site can be divided into two major categories. These are traditional promotion techniques and Internet promotion strategies. Examples of the former include 30-second Super-Bowl TV ads. Examples of the latter are to purchase banner adds on all the major Internet sites. Both these techniques are guaranteed to generate some interest in your site if for no other reason than to find out where you are getting that kind of money. For the rest of us, the Internet still provides many opportunities to promote our sites and attract visitors at minimum expense.

In a future newsletter we'll get into more specifics on site promotion. In the mean time remember that even though some of the techniques and methods may have changed, the need to promote your business has not. All basic marketing philosophies, gimmicks and concepts apply. Streaking the Oscars with your URL on your butt will probably work.
Community Tips - Placing a 'Favorites' icon in your browser bar
These Tips are created by readers and SiteSpinner users and posted to the Virtual Mechanics Community Forums

Voice23 writes:

Here is how I placed a logo icon on the address bar of IE ...
> continue reading...

Site of the Month - Walking the Tour du Mont Blanc
Site Title: Walking the Tour du Mont Blanc

Site Author: F B Medhurst

Site Link:

Site Description:
A guide to walking the Tour du Mont Blanc, a long distance wilderness hike through three
countries and probably the most exciting long distance hike in Europe.

Site Built With:

Webengine was ahead of its time. Despite being in beta mode this product has continued to provide excellent functionality over many years. With the advent of the latest version , now called  SiteSpinnerPro, Webengine is likely to cement its premenant position.
Offers and Promotions - Free, Profesional Web Hosting
Host Your Website with Jumpline. Registered users of Virtual Mechanics products receive a full free year of webhosting.

We're not talking about a low-end webhosting account. Jumpline is offering their Standard IP VDS account free for a year. That's a $240 savings. Your free one-year's webhosting includes:
Free access is available with your purchase of any Virtual Mechanics product.

Read the Frequently Asked Questions for more information

Already a registered user of a Virtual Mechanics product? Contact us for instructions on how to take advantage of this offer (be sure to include your Serial Number available under Help > About).

Already have a webhost? No problem. All Virtual Mechanics products publish to any webhost you wish to use.


Don't Forget to Forward This Newsletter To Your Friends!

As always, we welcome your feedback.

J. Peter White
Virtual Mechanics Inc.
< Celebrating 10 years in business - 1998 - 2008! >

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