In iWeb, its all too easy to load your media as QuickTime. The problem with this, apart from the files having to download with the web page, is that a large percentage of computer users don’t have QuickTime Player.

If you are going to use QuickTime, make sure you provide an easy way for viewers to download it or use an embed code or javascript that calls up the plugin for Movies and Music.


At this time, the best way to display movies is to use a player that uses Flash and falls back to HTML5 for devices such as the iPad/iPhone. Examples: Flash with fallback to HTML5 - HTML5 with fallback to flash - Easy Website Movies.


Audio files should be treated in the same way using a Single Song player or a Playlist player if you want to have several tracks on a page.

iWeb and Internet Explorer

One of the biggest problems that iWeb users have is to get their website to look good or even download in the World’s Worst Browser - Internet Explorer.

Many of these people , unjustly, blame Apple when in fact IE is the culprit.

It is an out of date and inefficient piece of junk.

Since Google Chrome arrived on the scene, IE has gradually waned in popularity and, hopefully, it will disappear into oblivion.

Firefox is now the most used browser with Chrome taking second place. Apple's Safari is an advanced browser but has never really gained widespread use due to lack of publicity.

Browser Popularity

Although it might seem sensible to offer you website visitors an easy way to download a better browser, its not very realistic to expect them to do so.


Remember that a lot of people, particularly in the corporate and educational environment, aren't allowed to install software.

Browser Downloads

Fonts, Colors and Navigation

Images

Movies and Music

Design

Optimize The Files for Faster Download

Themes and Templates

Download Safari

We’ve already had a look at Web Safe Fonts and Colors and building your own navigation.

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of using web safe fonts and colors. You only have check out your website in IE to see how horrendous it can look if you don’t.

Because the default iWeb, self generating, navigation is in Javascript, it won’t show up on PCs with javascript turned off.

Another important point is that search engines find a javascript navigation menu hard to index so, if you insist on using the default one, you should at least include a custom built one at the bottom of each page. This has the advantage of saving viewers from scrolling back up to the top of long pages to get to the next one.

A “Next Page” button is also worth considering for user convenience.

Find out how to add a Back To The Top Of The Page button.

If you must use fancy fonts, do it sparingly and convert the text to an image or, better still, add it as a JPEG image using a screenshot.

Too many large resolution images can really kill a web page. Adding drop shadows, frames etc will only make matters worse.

Optimizing your images for the web is discussed HERE.

One method of adding drop shadows, reflections etc without increasing file sizes is covered on THIS PAGE.

Download

QuickTime Player

Its an unfortunate fact of life that we are able to design stunning web pages with impressive graphics and movies but most of the rest of the world can’t get to see or appreciate them.

Plastering your pages with fancy graphics and flashing images to show off your design skills is just downright stupid.

The best and most successful web sites are simple, elegant and to the point.

Before you start designing your site, look for examples of similar ones on the web that load quickly and get the message across without any stupid gizmos and gadgets.

Web design is a unique field in that it is totally different from print and TV.

The worst websites from the download speed point of view seem to be produced by graphic designers, artists and photographers.

The really bad ones from a visual point of view seem to be created by technicians and software developers.

Using iWeb, more or less anybody can put a website together but it takes a lot of time, study and experience to build a good one.

Put everything you want into a webpage and then edit it ruthlessly to leave only what you actually need!

The iWeb default themes and templates may look good but should be avoided like the plague. There’s nothing worse than a website that looks as though its been made in iWeb.

I always start from a Black or White blank page and increase the page width to 980 px.

The default iWeb page width is too skinny and looks amateurish as well as being technically inferior.

There’s a good reason why Apple make their own site 980 px wide. The page will fit most monitors without horizontal scrolling that almost everybody detests and this width also translates well to the iPhone which is becoming more popular than Elvis ever was!

Blog and Podcast

Unless you want to end up with a nightmare on your hands and end up in a padded cell, do not be tempted to use the iWeb Blog or Podcast. At first sight, they appear to be an easy and useful way of going about this task but you will soon end up regretting taking the easy way out.

Don’t take my word for it - look through the user forums to see the mess people get themselves into and try downloading the average blog or podcast in IE on a PC!

If I had the time to blog, I would create it with an application like Blogo and publish it to Google’s Blogger. I would then link it to my main site using a custom navigation menu with the blog hyperlink set as an external one to open in a new page.

For painless podcasting, I would recommend that you shell out a few extra bucks on Podcast Maker.

A lot of hosting services like the one I use, Host Excellence, have WordPress built in which makes it a lot easier to create and publish your blog.

Blogo

Podcast Maker

iWeb allows as to easily create web pages using simple drag and drop but the price we pay for this convenience is a lot of extra code that slows the page download in the browser.


Optimizing applications cut out all the unnecessary stuff and will help your pages to download from 30 to 50% faster. This can be the deciding factor in whether your website will download in IE sometime this year or lock it up.


There are really only two developers worth considering here.

Both Web Site Maestro and WebCrusher will optimize and upload your files.

Unless your website is aimed at those who like to wash their car or make dinner while your pages download, optimizing is a MUST!


Find out more about Optimizers

Web Site Maestro

WebCrusher

Publishing

Now that the Apple server, MobileMe, is history everybody can sign up for better hosting and benefit from faster and more reliable downloads.

Commercial hosting companies are in business because they do the job properly and provide you with all the features you need like  the ability to run scripts for feedback forms etc, e-commerce and that essential 24/7 tech support.

As with most things in this life, you get what you pay for and the cost of website hosting should be a secondary consideration to reliability and performance.

I have hosted my sites with and registered my domain names through Host Excellence for several years and they have never let me down. They are a USA based company with a modern, top class facility and the tech support people are able to communicate in understandable English. I find it convenient to have all these resources with one company as they auto renew my domain names and hosting contracts all in one account.

When looking around for a suitable host, do not believe these websites that list the Top Ten hosting companies or the extravagant claims of the companies themselves. Go for personal recommendation.


Find out more about Website Hosting.

Click HERE to find out how WebCrusher can help your website to appear better in Internet Explorer.

Speed Test

Statistics show that if your webpage takes longer than about 5 seconds to download you will lose at least a third of your potential visitors.

You can test your page download speed for free at a number of sites eg: http://www.iwebtool.com/speed_test

I did a comparison test of two versions of the same web page. One unoptimized and uploaded to MobileMe and the other optimized using Web Site Maestro and uploaded to Host Excellence.

The MobileMe version took almost twice as long to download.

WordPress

Download Chrome

Copyright © Roddy McKay - 2009 - All Rights Reserved

Next Page

Download Firefox

Banners and Slideshows

Website Banners and Slideshows have better cross browser compatibility if they use javascript but you need to be aware that some PC users have Javascript turned off.