Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol by Peter Frost 

Maintaining the Site

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This is assuming you haven't gone for a maintained web hosting package, with that type of package you usually pay someone to do the changes for you.

If you do it yourself don't forget to take backups of the web site. I put each site into a separate directory (named after the site) and just copy the directory to a cd or USB flash drive for an off line backup.

How frequently depends on the value of the data and how easy it would be to restore.

There are two elements to site maintenance:-

  • Wording and layout changes.
  • Transferring the changes to your web site.

Wording and Layout Changes

You can use notepad or any text editor to make simple changes to a page, or equally to the more complex style sheets files and javascript files (if you use them).

If you make frequent or complex changes I recommend something easier to use. Chami's HTML-Kit is free and very powerful text editor with a very useful preview option. Various extras like a built in spell checkers and 'HTML-Tidy' helps you find any mistakes.

Equally if you want to do anything more than the most minor of wording changes its worth getting some understanding of how html works.

If you make the changes yourself, keep a pre-amendment copy of the page you change if all else fails revert to this! Use 'Save as' then append todays date to the file name to create your pre-amendment copy, this gives you a history of all changes made.

Some HTML Basics

Html is a language of tags with instructions between < and > shaped brackets. So <b>This is Important!</b> puts a bold face on the text .

In this case the <b> turns on bold face and the </b> ends it.

Don't change text within the brackets, unless you know what you are doing. Having changed the page locally, test it on your PC, run explorer and click on the html (or htm) file. If it works you can move it on the server that runs your web site, then test it online too!

Transferring the Changes to Your Web Site.

Use FTP (File Transfer Program/Protocol) to move files from a local PC onto a web site.

There are loads of free FTP applications on the web, try CoffeeCup. The ads are intrusive but it works, if you don't like it there are a lot of others.

After you download and install the software, you run the program. On the first use you need to add the new server option and enter the following fields, usually there is no need to enter anything else.

On later occasions just select the name you used to identify the site. You can then drag and drop files to (or from) your web site server and thats it.

  • Name: This can be anything, it is what you call the server running the website so the website name seems a good choice.
  • User Name (or ID): Should be supplied by your web host.
  • Password: Again should be supplied (it may be called the FTP password).
  • FTP Server: Should be supplied by your web host. The FTP server name can often start with ftp.
After doing this just click on the Name option and drag and drop files from the local PC onto the server (or vice versa). Even if you test on your local PC, test again on the server using the full 'www. ***' address.

Next: Getting Noticed >>