Web designers (and readers) your opinions please.

I’m rebuilding my site and I need some advice and opinions.

Being a web building idiot, my site is very simple. I’m now rebuilding it. The site has reviews and I add to them periodically. Or seldomly-- it matters how you look at it.

Right now I’ve got one page with links to the reviews on different pages. That’s the only way you can get to them. There’s gotta be a better way. Anybody know of one?

How deep do you want to go?

You have a static setup. You create static content, and update your index page to point at the new pages.

The next step is a dynamic website. You could create a web application that uses dynamic content. This could be text files where you place your reviews, and the web application can read through the files and create the index page for you automatically. It’s a trade-off - you spend some time setting up the application, but after that it’s easier. You chunk a review into a particular directory, and it takes care of the rest.

It’s really dependent on how often you update it. Is updating the index page a pain? Are you adding content often enough?

Or course, I could be misunderstanding your question. If you just don’t like some simple list of reviews on a page that you have, that’s different. Other options would include listing them in different ways (by genre, by date, etc.) Of course, with a static web site, you have to update all of your listings each time you add a new review, but if you’re not adding at a fearsome rate, that’s not a big deal.

So, what exactly are you disliking about your set up?

Further caveat - there’s a big jump between a hosting service that will host static content, and one that will host a web application server (J2EE, .NET, ASP, etc).

I’d update a lot more frequently if it were easier.

I was thinking of making it easier to travel around. The only way to get to the reviews is through the link page and you can’t travel from review to review. But I can’t think of a better scheme.

Why don’t you link us to your website so we can get a better idea of what might be useful for you.

There used to be a little house that linked to a homepage if you had one at the bottom of your post.

This is it here: http://www.geocities.com/me_11217/

It’s about romance novels. Read at your own risk.

It looks like you don’t really have so much content that you need to put in the work to make a dynamic site.

Here are some things that I might do, were I starting a simple redesign of your site:

Consolidate the index of reviews into one list instead of having “my first two reviews” on one page and the rest on another.

Have each review on it’s own page, and use a standard naming convention to name each HTML file. This will help out a lot as your site grows.

Maybe have a drop down menu on the front page as well as a seperate page with links to all the reviews on the site. Put the drop down list close to the top to make it easily accessible to your audience. So far that makes three pages you will have to create/edit when you update the site: You’ll need to create the page with the review, edit the drop down list and edit the main list.

Get rid of all the empty space at the bottom of some of the pages. It makes it more difficult to reach the navigation links at the bottom.

When you make your master page of review links, get rid of the white space between them and organize them by author or title, to make it easier for people to find. Also add the date of the review to the link.

Change the background on the main page and any page where the background overlaps on larger resolutions. The background on the “Pink Links” page is good, since it stretches without overlapping.

I think I actually added one more thing you might have to do when you update, but really, editing two html pages with a single line shouldn’t take more than a couple minutes and, if you have a standard template for each of your reviews, it’s a simple matter of pasting your review into it and saving that page.

You can also work on cleaning up the formatting to make it easier to parse.
Again, these are just suggestions. Looks like a fun project!

Thanks both Demo and Tower.

I originally built it with a web design program that put all kinds of weird tables all over the place that I could not get rid of (mostly because I don’t know crap about html) but now I have FrontPage.

FrontPage has a steep learning curve (if you ask me, the idiot) but now I’m getting a hyped as I get to understand it better.

Still having problems getting the hang of that navigation view.

Again, thanks guys!

Just afew suggestions that you can take or leave, as you see fit.

I agree with Demo’s comments, and i especially think that you should work to eliminate some of the empty space from your pages, not just at the bottom, but also between some of your paragraphs. Of course, you don’t want to go too far and make them too cramped.

Also, given that your pages are actually fairly simple in terms of layout, i really think that you might benefit from spending a little bit of time (and i only mean a day or so) learning how to handcode in html. The source code for your pages is extremely bloated, with heaps of extraneous crap in there. If you got a fairly basic, “HTML for Dummies” type book, you could fix it up quite easily using hand-coded tables or, if you got a bit more adventurous, cascading style sheet positioning.

Personally, i think that well-coded tables work fine for most situations, and they really are quite easy to learn. I started learning html before ever using any WYSIWYG interfaces, and knowing what the code does really helps you use programs like Dreamweaver and Frontpage, because you can troubleshoot the code itself if you’re not getting the results you want.

Best of luck!