Tips for a better SM page
- Give credit where credit is due. This is just etiquette, people. If you have an image from an image gallery, even if the gallery doesn't say you have to give them credit, do so anyway. Just a link back is nice, you don't have to put up a whole separate page as a shrine dedicated to Tripod just because it gave you free webspace. That's why I have a credits page, for that very purpose.
- Also annoying are midis. If you absolutely must have some on your page, make a midi page or let your visitors choose whether they want a midi and even what midi they want too. How? Have a couple links on your index page, each link will be a midi. This midi can pop up in a different window, and it won't be embedded so the viewer can turn it on and off.
- Every image on your site should be personalized for your use so that no one can steal it. I mean, like that Ami image at the top. I cropped it to a good size, then added text. Something like that, you know? Add text, make it transparent, make it into a background, crop it, resize it, whatever. There are also free graphics places on the SM web where you can get backgrounds, banners, whatever you need. What I'm getting at is, don't just take a plain old screencapture and then just stick it on your site.
- Most anime images don't make good tile backgrounds. You usually have to lighten them (this goes along with the previous tip about customization), or put them in the border of a border background. Manga images, however, some of them do make good backgrounds, but you still have to lighten them. It's just bad when someone uses an anime pic with black text, because the text blends in with the black lines on the picture. As for lightening images, you can either use the retouch thing on PSP and set it to lighten, then color over the area, or there's something else you can do by adjusting the RBG values or something. The exact details of it escape me, but there's a tutorial at FSMGS. And if your background is too colorful, or it has both dark and light colors that won't be able to be read easily with text, then put a table over your background, make it a different color, and put your text in there so you'll have the background but still have readable text.
- Speaking of text...Times New Roman is boring. (I can actually say that now that I don't use it anymore) Use Arial, or Verdana. Also, some fonts only work with Windows, so you may want to specify a backup font in case the viewer doesn't have that font. How you do that is in the font tag, put FONT="Arial, Helvetica". This means that it'll show up as Arial for computers that have that, and Helvetica (basically the same font, but for Macs) if they don't. Also, variety of layouts is cool too. Well, I like it, some reviewers like it better if all the pages are more congruent. But I think that if you have a variety of layouts (not too much variety, you don't want things that are too "out there") it shows off your design abilities.
- Control your ego (or lack thereof, as the case may be). Don't act like your page is the epitome of a good Sailormoon page, and DEFINITELY don't call it something like, "The Super Great Eternal Sailor Moon Page" or something similar. Calling your own page "great" or "the best", especially in the title and ESPECIALLY if it's not that good, it's just tacky. Along the same lines, if you know anything about Japanese you should know that you don't call yourself, for example, Usagi-sama or something like that. Same goes if you have a nickname, even if it's Usagi-chan. Why? Because -chan and -sama are honorifics, and you're not supposed to honor yourself. I know I do this sometimes, I call myself Tenjou-kun, but only when I'm being psycho and speaking in 3rd person. So basically it's not a good idea to have your nickname end in -chan, in Japanese that implies that you have an ego. But don't be too self-deprecating either. Don't go on and on about, "I suck at writing so don't read my stories, I suck at drawing so don't look at my art, I suck at this, I suck at that." That gets annoying too, and sometimes it sounds like you're just fishing for compliments (like you're insulting yourself so people will say, "Oh no, you don't suck, you're great at this and that!"). I do this sometimes too, but I don't think I do it to excess.
- Your navigation system on your page should work (obviously, otherwise how are your visitors supposed to know where they're going?). I suggest that you split your site into different sub-pages like I did, one for information, multimedia, other, webstuff, whatever categories you have. Not too many sub-pages either, three or four will work. If you have all the sections of your page on the index, there'll be too many links and it'll look cluttered. Instead make four sub-pages with maybe five links each, instead of all 20 features on your index. Make sure each page links back to your main page too (something I haven't done until recently), because for example, say someone links to your Usagi profile instead of to your main page. Anyone who follows that link won't be able to go to your main page unless there's a back link.
- Don't put too many images on one page, or images that are too big. It'll take way too long to download, visitors will get impatient, and they'll leave and you don't want that do you? And put awards and webrings on a separate page if you have a lot of them (I don't, unfortunately, so that's why I don't do this). Or just don't use the award/webring images at all! Just put a text link that says, "I won this award from this page" or "I'm in this webring" and then have the text links for forward, back, random, etc. Another thing is, if you have an image gallery, use real thumbnails. Don't just resize the picture in your HTML tag, because then the viewers will still have to load the whole picture. Resize it in your paint program, and then put it on your page, and that's what I mean by real thumbnail.
- And for a final tip: have fun with your page. This should be a hobby, not your life. If making a page stops being fun, then either put your page on hiatus or just shut it down, but make sure you explain to your visitors that you've lost interest.