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Creation of my website

I needed to consider several aspects when I decided to publish my photos online. I would like to share this experience; I hope the tips described in this page will be helpful.

Free web space without advertisements

It is really difficult to find a provider able to offer a web space for free without advertisements. Even when you get it, it is necessary to take care about the conditions of the contract. My website has been hosted for 5 years by a company that was used to offer for free 20 Mb of web space without advertisements. Initially they were happy enough to earn from the banners displayed on their portal. Now they have changed the conditions. First a big banner is arrived on each web page. Later they have changed the way to access the service; you have a free web space only if you use a special internet provider. I was really disappointed about these new conditions, so I have changed my website provider. The main problem is that when you change the internet address you risk to loose most of your traffic, Google takes a while to know where you are etc. Up to last year my website was hosted by aruba a fast and cheap Italian provider. If you like to create a website and you do not like to deal with banners, I suggest you to avoid any free internet provider. When you migrate from a site to another you can use automatic redirect html code, but Google doesn’t like it. I had this experience; I had a page 'A' having Page Rank 4, thanks to the pages pointing to it. Redirecting page 'A' to page 'B', page 'B' had Page Rank 0. Google prefers you to provide links that lead directly to the core of your site, and not to mirrors or back doors. From the start of 2007 my website is hosted by a dedicated server. I opted for this solution in order to allow users from all over the world to browse fast the photos. Normally a server can host several websites at the same time: hopefully the new server I got will be able to handle fast the website visits for a while.

Software for the creation of a photo gallery

I tested several free programs able to automatically generate web galleries; I can suggest, for example, arles and codedcolor. Arles generates an html photo album of static pages. Codedcolor creates a website split into tree windows and allows photo slideshow. My wish was to find a software that generates a photo gallery allowing to retrieve the photos by keyword search. This feature is usually available only with costly commercial programs, after a long research finally I found a great free software (ASP code), developed by Ning Zhou, able to generate and manage automatically databases of images (Microsoft Access files). First it generates a database of all the images of the collection, then, by SQL, it retrieves and displays the photos that match the search criteria. The main drawback of this code is that it generates dynamic pages and Google has problems to spider pages having url containing symbles like & ? etc. Google prefers to spider dynamic pages having short url and no more than two variables. If your site is hosted by an Apache server, the module Re_write can help to solve this problem.

Multiple subscription to 1000 search engines

Once the site is ready, it could be interesting to have some visitors. To verify if somebody sometimes enters in my site I have been used for long time statcounter; this solution is interesting because is invisible and free. I hope they will offer this service for free for long time. How to increase the traffic of a website? Good question and difficult answer; they say that it is a cup of tea but I am not sure about it. There are many free internet services that allow to subscribe a website to several search engines. Good, why not? If I give the address of my website to 6000+ search engines, I will surely get at least some traffic. Wrong assumption; at least in my case. Certainly the email used for the free submission will be filled of spam-like emails. Yahoo and Google are the main used search engines, the remaining engines are not too significant. Normally it is necessary to wait at least one month before the robot of the search engines crawls a website; if you are bored to wait and you submit a website more times to the same search engine, robots can penalize you. In my opinion the multiple subscription to search engines is not too effective, or at least it is only if the submitted site is really interesting.

Add for free your link here

It is possible to find on the net web many sites that allow to insert the link of a web page; some sites ask to link back their site. The link exchange is an interesting solution. Even this road is not always effective. Google doesn't like the websites submitted to “link farms”; these websites risk to get banned from Google. It is necessary to take care about where the link of the site is submitted; important sites (good Google Page Rank) should be preferred. Some people say that it is even a disadvantage to be linked by a poor website. Lately I have discovered that usually the websites add your link to their website, but hide your url to the robots of the search engines. Every time that a site is referred by another site, it becomes more important, hidden references do not count. Hidden references allow to keep inside a website as much page rank as possible. It means that, while the website visitors can see and click on hidden links, for the robot this link doesn’t exist. The trick is to place the link to hide in a file not accessible from the robots; the url of the forbidden/hidden files must be included in the plain text file robot.txt. To verify if a link is real or hidden, while you pass the mouse on the link, you should read if the link is written in classic way (example: freephoto) or not (example: freephoto).

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