PURPOSE: I have put together a list of internet resources so as to promote the creation and development of Objectivist websites...
If you are going to spend any time on the internet, it will be necessary to find an inexpensive internet service provider, preferably one which charges a flat monthly rate, rather than by the minute or hour. One can easily find an internet access provider which charges only twenty dollars per month, regardless of how much time one spends on the net, and yet offers quality service. Imagine -- you can be connected to Japan for twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, four weeks out of the month, and still pay only twenty dollars, or less.
Two internet access providers which you might want to try are:
... or you may wish to shop around, looking for internet access providers in your area. In that case, check out the list of internet access providers in your own state at:
Internet Access Providers Meta-List
WARNING: I would strongly recommend staying away from "full service" internet access providers, such as Compuserve or AOL -- although they have started adding options for flat rate service, their service is often poor, and while they make it easier for you initially to get into their little corner of the internet, they tend to make the transition to the World Wide Web more difficult, and lock you into software which is often idiosyncratic, obsolete, and incompatible with much of what you will find on the internet. Better to get yourself a browser, a less flashy internet access provider, and a good search engine, such as Infoseek. Then go out and find exactly what you need or want on the World Wide Web for yourself.
If you are going to have a website, you are going to need some webspace to put it in. Many webspace providers charge you forty dollars or more a month simply to rent the webspace, then they start charging you after so many accesses, or the download of a certain amount of information. Sometimes this is justified, especially if you are attempting to put together a commercial enterprise and have special needs.
However,there are many webspace providers which will give you webspace for free. Often, all they will require is a click-ad at either the top or the bottom of your page which they use to generate traffic for a commercial site.
Two of the most reliable free webspace providers I have found are:
GeoCities and Tripod both offer two megabytes of space (which is roughly equal to one thousand pages of material, without graphics) for free. Both are accepting new applicants all the time, and usually respond quickly to anyone requiring some space. As the processing of applications is automated, you can probably start setting up your site today. Furthermore, their servers are fairly dependable, allowing people access to your site nearly continuously. And what advertising they require is small, tasteful, and at the bottom of your pages.
However, if you would like to try your luck with some other service, check out the list of free webspace providers at:
The Free Webpage Provider Review
It may be a bit of a crapshoot, though. With many of the providers from this list, they are often unable to process new applicants, unwilling to respond to your inquiries, provide servers which are very slow, require large ads at the top of each page, etc.. In fact, one free webspace provider accepted my application, and then promptly went out of business the next day. But who knows -- you may get lucky.
HTML (i.e., "HyperText Markup Language") is the primary language in which websites are built. There are other languages, but every browser is equipped to read HTML, whereas if you are using a different language, chances are many -- if not the good majority of browsers -- will be incapable of reading your material. For this reason, if you want to create a website, learning HTML is a must.
But learning HTML is easy. HTML does little more than format your text and add hypertextual links both within a webpage and between webpages. Generally, taking ordinary text (plain acii) and turning it into a HTML web document requires little more than the addition of a few tags.
Three good sources of information on how to write in HTML can be found at:
Using HTML - Table of Contents
The WDVL: Hypertext Markup Language
HyperText Markup Language
You may also want to check out resources listed at:
Useful URLs: WWW Topics
And, once you have your page up on the web, you may wish to check the code with:
Doctor HTML's Report
Warning: There are some very reputable companies hawking programs which are supposed to be designed to help you write web pages. Actually, what such programs do is perpetuate the illusion that learning HTML is difficult, and then act as a crutch for someone who should be learning how to walk. Do not use them. If you are using one, I suggest that you get rid of it. They are worse than useless: they make the later updating of your pages more difficult, and stand in the way of a natural learning process which would otherwise quickly overtake anything which they have to offer. Avoid them at all costs.
Freeware is software which one may acquire and use for free. Shareware is software which one may acquire for free, but which one is at least morally required to pay for if one is to use it, or continue to use it beyond a given trial period. Such software can often be useful in terms of building a website. For example, one may wish to create graphics for one's site, or one may use a given program to upload pages to one's site (e.g., "Fetch").
Two sources of such software include:
SHAREWARE.COM -- the way to find shareware on the Internet
home - Welcome from The Mining Company
The primary means of generating traffic for a website consists of search engines. You enter your URL ("Uniform Resource Locator," or more coloquially, "web address") into the search engine, the search engine then indexes your page, using a relevancy formula to determine which searches your website should show up on, and how far down the list of sites it should appear. This is an invaluable service, at least when things go right.
Unfortunately, many search engines take weeks to add your site to their data base, or use relevancy formuli which are easily taken advantage of by spammers (i.e., individuals who try to show up on searches, and at the tops of searches where they do not belong, oftentimes by word-spamming or page-spamming a given search engine). And other search engines are rarely used. Nevertheless, it is very important to enter your site into at least a few of the major search engines, although it is probably a waste of your time to worry about the smaller search engines.
Two search engines which will quickly add you to their data base and which are widely used are:
AltaVista: Main Page
A list of some of the major search engines, as well as an explanation of their own idiosyncracies can be found at:
Search Engine Guide: General Search Engine Tips
Partly in an effort to answer the problems facing search engines, webmasters started creating links pages filled with lists of websites they found to be of value. This is good, and if you provide a set of links pages which people will find to be of value, people will probably use them. However, to get traffic to your site by means of links pages, you need to appear on the links pages of other sites, and to do this, you will generally have to ask people to add your site to their list of links. One possible incentive which you can offer is that of providing a link to their site, in which case, what you are asking for is a reciprocal link. But even if you offer reciprocal links, it will generally take a great deal of time and effort on your part to get yourself listed at a significant number of sites.
Ultimately, links pages are best viewed as a service which you offer websurfers from your site, and as a means of saying, "Well done!" to the author of another site. After a certain point, to achieve a a greater degree of visibility for your own site, you must look for a different approach...
What I have heard about the actual practice of such services is not good. You add some code to your page so that browsers will retrieve a "banner" graphic, which act as clickable graphics to other sites using the service, and in return, your banner appears on other sites, so that people may click on the graphic and come to your site. However, is the banner actually appearing on a site which is at all related to the topic of your own site? If not, what reason is there to expect that the site on which your banner appears will have an audience which might be interested in your material? Additionally, banners usually appear at the top of your page, and may not be in good taste. I would recommend avoiding such services. Leave them to the spammers.
Webrings are networks of sites sharing a common topic, arranged in a circular fashion, so that if one visits each succeeding site in the ring, one will eventually end up where one has started, having visited each site on the ring. They can be quite useful, so long as there exist certain standards for admittance. For example, they must remain on topic if they are to be of any use to web surfers. And they will be useful to webmasters only so long as they are useful to web surfers.
Ideally, webrings act as communities of sites, in which each site is on some subtopic of the same general topic, and in which each site is a potential point of entry to all the other sites on the ring. Find one (usually by means of a search engine) and you have found them all. Getting yourself added to a ring can be like getting a reciprocal link from each and every other site on that ring. Furthermore, if that ring provides a "list" link as part of its link set, and makes available to you the ability to edit your site description on the "list" page, you can advertise changes in your site on a daily basis, if you choose, and by editing that description, you change how it will appear regardless of the site from which the "list" page is accessed. Furthermore, if you ever change the location of your site, it should be relatively easy to update everyone on your new location: simply edit you site information for the ring.
Furthermore, as long as a ring maintains certain standards, it provides what is apparently the perfect answer to the spamming that goes on in some search engines with respect to certain searches. Especially in the case of more ideological topics, where what one will often find are two or more spammers attempting to crowd each other out of a given search engine by submitting as many webpages or websites as possible to that search engine. And in the process, they manage to crowd everyone else out, or at least so far down the relevancy list that it is difficult to find anyone else. They turn search engines into a zero-sum game in which they are able to win only by insuring that everyone else loses. In contrast to this, a webring results in the creation of a positive sum game: when you add your site to a good ring, you make it easier for everyone to find your site, but you also make it easier for everyone to find every other site on the ring. Everybody wins.
When selecting a webring, one should keep in mind certain criteria:
FIRST, is the webring on a topic similar to the topic of my website?
SECOND, how large is the webring, or how large does it promise to become? If it is small and promises to remain small, it probably won't help much.
THIRD, is the individual or organization in charge of the webring applying appropriate standards in determining who it allows into the ring? Is it too restrictive or permissive? Is it simply a vehicle for the ideas of the individual or organization which runs it? Are they simply trying to funnel traffic into their own sites? Are they simply trying to funnel traffic through a fly-by-night internet bookstore? Or, judging from the evidence which is the ring itself, are they being both honest and principled? This can be important, especially since they possess an unequal degree of control over the ring.
FOURTH, how well run is the ring? Does it seem to be professionally run? Or is it either amateurish or falling into disrepair?
Of course, to get yourself added to a ring, you must be admitted. However, if one ring does not accept you, another one probably will.
Once you have built up an audience for your site, you will want to maintain it, especially if you make changes to your site, such as with the addition of articles. For this reason, you may want to include a "URL-Minder" form in which visitors are able to enter their email address so as to be emailed everytime the "URL-Minder" robot detects a change in the page on which the form is located. Then you can have a list of the most recent changes you have made in your site displayed on that page. You may, however, wish to mention that URL-Minder assures privacy: neither you nor anyone else will be able to make use of the individual's email address for any other purpose, and in fact, you yourself will not be able to access that email address.
URL-Minder is located at:
The URL-minder: Your Own Personal Web Robot!
This website is hosted by GeoCities.
Get your own free homepage!