oooo     oooo ooooooooooo oooooooooo
                    8b   88  d8   888    8P   888    888
                     8b d88 d8    888ooo8     888oooo88
                      888 888     888    oo   888    888
                       8   8     o888ooo8888 o888ooo88P

oooo     oooo     o      oooooo8 ooooooooooo ooooooooooo oooooooooo   oooooo8
 8888o   888     888    888      88  888  88  888    8P   888    888 888
 88 888o8 88    8' 88    88boooo     888      888ooo8     888oooo88   88boooo
 88  888  88   8oooo88        888    888      888    oo   888  88o         888
o88o  8  o88oo88o  o888oo88oo88P    o888o    o888ooo8888 o888o  88o8 o88oo88P

Welcome to my page for Web Masters. It's an expanded version of my Tips For Web Spinners page. I hope you find this page useful, like these folks:

"Web page designer Bob Allison provides a compendium of resources and information on creating a Web presence." - InfoWorld

"Probably the best web developer's reference, all on one page, is Bob Allison's Web Masters. It's full of useful tips, very readable, well laid out, ..." - The WWW Developers Virtual Library

"If commentary is what you seek, I point you to Bob Allison's Web Masters Page. Much of the link material is the same as this page, but you get Bob's insightful teachings." - SaberSpace

"As usual for Mr. Allison, quite simply the exhaustive authoratative gathering of all HTML authoring links! A MUST-SEE." - NetWatch Top 10 Net Tools

"I have to say Bob's web tips pages are the most informative, well put together pages I've seen yet in a year and a half of surfing." - Joseph L. Hill, Computer Coordinator, Dartmouth College



What's it all about?
What will your page contain?
Seaching for material
Browsing for material
Seeing what's new
Spotlight on Web Oriented Newsgroups
Random Inspiration
Keep your pages inviting and easy to read
Spotlight on GIFs and icons
Transparent GIFs
Clickable pictures
Using Backgrounds
Textures and patterns
Background colors
HTML links
HTML Editors
HTML Converters
Using ALT tags
Using ASCII Art
More tools
Information and Techniques
Spotlight on browsers
Announcing your Web page
Spotlight on publicizing your page
Final thoughts



To get an understanding of what the Web is being used for, and what browsers are being used, look into Web Survey Averages (a comparison and average of three Web surveys), and the Top 40 page (showing the relative popularity of these pages). There's also the Whole Internet Catalog Top 25 and Web Crawler Top 25 and Browser Statistics for the Random Yahoo Link.

Using the above, and analysis of my daily Web stats, I have come to some basic conclusions of what the Web is currently being used for. 'Currently' is the key word. The Web changes so fast, that all this could change in six months. For example, the more expensive online services are now offering Web browsers to their customers, but in many cases they are HTML 2.0. Anyway, it seems that:

Here is the October 10th Top Ten for these pages:

6-8-95 8-4-95 10-10-95             Web Page

   1      1      1      Spider's Pick of the Day
   4      3      2*     Uncle Bob's Kids' Page
   2      2      3      The Spider's Web
   -      -      4*     Bob's Kool Link
   5      9      5*     The Michael Jordan Page
   8      4      6      Imagebases
  29      8      7*     The Web Masters' Page Expanded version of the Tips page
  17     12      8*     Searchers
   3      6      9      BOBAWORLD Master page
   6      5     10      Fun and Games

*Rise in the charts

The Spider's Pick of the Day is number 1 as usual, but the new Bob's Kool Links page has entered the charts at number 4. It will be interesting to see how each evolves, and how popular each becomes relative to each other.

I used to talk about the Christmas Page, and how it remained in the Top 40 all year long. But it seems to be of interest to people even though the links have all died after the Christmas season ended. Yes, I'll be updating it some time as Christmas approaches.

Here is the browser-platform comparison chart:

Software               Internet    Yahoo    Jayfar        Average
Netscape Total          62.30      61.7      76            66.7
  Netscape for Windows  28.84      37.4
  Netscape for Mac      21.25      18.9
  Netscape for X11      12.21       5.5

Mosaic Total            26.94      16.5      15            19.48
  Mosaic for X11        19.52       7.0
  Mosaic for Windows     4.37       4.7
  Mosaic for Mac         3.05       4.1

Lynx                     5.30      11.5       4             6.9

Other*                   4.91      10.3       5             6.74
*WebExplorer, MacWeb, Enhanced NCSA Mosaic, AIR Mosaic, Netcruiser, Cello, TueV Mosaic for X, EI*Net, CERN Linemode, Emacs-W3, Chimera.

Here is the typical hourly distribution of accesses to the boba/*.html pages:

                                    88 88 88 88
                                  d 88 88 88 88 8b
                                 d8 88 88 88 88 88 b
                              d8 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 8b
                              88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 8b
                            d 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 8b
                        d8 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 8b
8b                   d8 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88
88 88 8b           d 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88
88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88
88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88
88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88 88
00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
The time along the bottom is from Midnight to 11pm (central US time). No actual number of accesses is given here. The purpose is to show the relative hourly distribution.

Here are the typical top 10 places accessing the boba/*.html pages:

  1. Netcom
  2. AOL
  3. IBM
  4. Motorola
  5. CompuServe
  6. University of Chicago
  7. PrimeNet
  8. AT&T
  9. UMich
  10. UIUC

And here are the typical top 10 domains accessing the boba/*.html pages:

  1. US Commercial
  2. US Educational
  3. Network
  4. Canada
  5. US Government
  6. United Kingdom
  7. Australia
  8. United States
  9. Non-Profit Organization
  10. US Military

You can present information and links in many ways. It's good to make consistant pages, unless another design is more appropriate. You can still keep an overall unity.

You can organize links by categories like Yahoo does. Or group them as I do in ways that hopefully serve a use, such as some of the pages you will find linked here.

You need to decide if you will use:

You need to decide:

You need to think about written content and page design before you start putting pages on the Web. You don't want to do two months work only to find out your overall design is not appropriate to the content or purpose of your pages.

Remember, the Web is a tool of communications. It's like page-making software, it can't make you an instant writer or artist. You need to have your content and design ready to go. If a person doesn't have anything to say, they will just make a glorified plan file. If they don't have a design in mind, they will probably end up with hodge-podge.

Here are a few pages on style:

When you see something that you like, remember that you can always view the source to see how it was done. You can even download or copy and paste the source into a test.html file, and experiment with it, seeing what changes will do.

Don't copy one person's page and call it your own, that's stealing. Instead, do what I do, learn from everybody, and call it research.

Use a searcher to find raw material and existing pages with similar resources. See the page of Searchers, it will have links to all the searchers you'll need, like:

You can search multiple sites at the same time with Sun's Multithreaded Query Page. The Quarterdeck Search Engines page has links to 39 searchers. They cover the Web, FTP, Gopher, databases, dictionaries, etc. You can go to there, or use the form below to type your search word(s), where you want to search, and click the search button. Search indices and databeses, search for people, or search documents like dictionaries, man pages, Alex, RFCs, etc. Lynx users should use the radio button version.




You may find having pages of references and etext links will be of help in gathering materials for your Web page.

Browse through sites to see what other people have created. Look into the The Spider's Web, which has thousands of links. Here are several good starting points:

It always helps to keep up with what's new on the Web. For that, you may want to use the What's New page, which has many links to pages with new things, like:



- comp.infosystems.www.advocacy -
- comp.infosystems.www.announce -
- comp.infosystems.www.authoring.cgi -
- comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html -
- comp.infosystems.www.authoring.images -
- comp.infosystems.www.authoring.misc -
- comp.infosystems.www.browsers.mac -
- comp.infosystems.www.browsers.misc -
- -
- comp.infosystems.www.browsers.x -
- comp.infosystems.www.servers.mac -
- comp.infosystems.www.servers.misc -
- -
- comp.infosystems.www.servers.unix -

- comp.infosystems.www -
- comp.infosystems.www.users -
- comp.infosystems.www.misc -
- comp.infosystems.www.providers -

- alt.culture.www -
- -
- alt.hypertext -
- alt.www.hotjava -
- -
- bit.listserv.www-vm -
- -
- -
- -
- ibm.ibmpc.os2www -
- ibm.ibmpc.www -
- ibm.ibmpc.wwwibm -
- imsi.mail.www-talk -
- swnet.infosystems.www -
- tnn.internet.www -
- uiuc.cs.www -
- vmsnet.infosystems.misc --

- comp.text.sgml -
- comp.lang.perl -


Another thing you can do, depending on your goal, is to use the random URL pickers to show you pages you might never see any other way. You'll find over a half dozen of them on the Random Goodies page, including:

Keep your pages inviting and easy to read. Use short paragraphs, and where appropriate, bulleted and numbered lists, blockquoted text, HR horizontal lines, centered text, and limited amouts of bold, italics.

I only use italics where there is no unitalicized text following it. For some reasons, most computer software is still ignorant about handling italic text, not compensating for the spacing shift caused by slanting the letters.

Try to keep your pages from getting too big. Big pages may discourage people from returning. If a page gets big, spin off those elements that would stand alone well on their own pages. Remember though that readership for sub-pages can really drop off (as low as 10% to 1%, depending on the page).

If you have more than a few pages, it would help the reader if you made a directory or table of contents page. This page has links to all your pages and shows the relationships of your pages to each other.

This helps the reader to make sense of what they may not be able to visualize. I use four different pages for this purpose. They are, in order of popularity by reader usage:

  1. - The Top 40 - of these pages by access popularity
  2. - Navigator - A hierarchical listing of all these pages
  3. - Map - A graphical listing of all these pages
  4. - All The Pages - An alphabetical listing of all these pages

If a page must be big, you may want to include internal links for navigation within the page. For example, a 'GO TO TOP' link is helpful. Or if you have a Table of Contents at the top of the page, you can put a 'GO TO TOC' links every so often down the page.

If you use links to items on the same page, remember to use relative links, as absolute links (full URLs) might cause a browser to reload the page each time a link is selected.

It helps to include links to:

You may want to put them at the bottom of the page (as text or maybe as a GIF menubar). Always put these links in the exact same place on all pages, so readers will always know where to go to find them.

Try to not have too many large GIFs on one page (not everybody is connected to a T1). Colored dots are small and add a spark of color to a list of items (and can be used for color coding lists). Also, colored divider bars add a graphic touch without hogging bandwidth. The Imagebases page has a number of sites that archive graphic elements for Web pages.



- Icons from LAL -
- Sandra's Clip Art Server -
- Daniel's Icon Archive -
- List of Icon Archives -
- Anthony's Icon Library -
- Icons from -
- Icons from cornell -
- gd 1.1.1 - graphics library
- Purdue Cooperative Extension Clipart Files -
- DJ's Icon Catalog -
- Icons from UMass -
- SaberSpace Graphics Depot -
- QBullets -
- GNN Icons -
- Digital Picture Archive on the 17th floor -
- GIFs from UMass -
- HTML Developers Icons -
- Web Communications Archive -
- Image Index -
- Icons! -
- UPenn Icons -
- Computer related icons -
- Icons from -
- Icons from -
- Icons from passau -
- Characters and symbols available as transparent GIFs -
- Cincy icon pages!!!! -
- WWW Images - from AIcons
- Mosaic Rulers -
- Great icons from Italy -
- Graphic Element Samples -
- Icons -
- Yahoo Icon Index -


If you don't want to use stock dots and dividers, but you don't have the software to make your own, you can always use the Interactive Graphics Renderer. It's easy to use. Just make selections on the form and press the button. When you get what you want, download it. There is also the Free Image Processing page.

Make transparent GIFs with the online transparentifier, and to get further information:

[Train picture] Go to Imagebases. You can have a clickable GIF (like the one at the left) without using CGI maps. There's a trick you can use. But because it doest't use CGI maps, the entire picture area is one hot zone.

Here's what you do. Make an anchor like you normally would, but add an IMG tag in where you put the name of the link. You can even eliminate the name, and have just the picture, as I've done here. With this technique, you can make a menu of icons, such as you might have at the bottom of a page.

If you do want to make image maps, check out:

Here's an example of an image map that does the job. It's under 20 K, so it can go anywhere.


Speaking of GIFs, be careful with background GIFs. It's very easy for a background GIF to make text unreadable. For a background to work well, color contrast is not enough. The background needs to be either very light (for dark text) or very dark (for light text). The background image should have low contrast, so it's not too distracting. See the background GIF I use on the BOBAWORLD, The Spider's Web, Scarecrow's WWW Link and Home Page.

For further info an background GIFs, and samples of backgrounds, look into:

You can set a background to be a particular solid color without the need for a GIF. You can also set the color of text and links. As always, try to keep things readable. If the hex numbers seems confusing at first, take a look at these pages:

Here are a few more graphics pages:

Here are some pages on HTML:


HTML Editors:


Put an ALT tag in your IMG line. So if your title graphic says Joe's Home Page, the ALT tag would be ALT="Joe's Home Page" and should be added after the IMG within the brackets. You can even use an ALT tag with a divider bar GIF so that text-based browsers see something more interesting than a straight line.

This way, people using text-based browsers will see something other than [IMAGE], and folks using graphical browsers will see something if the image fails to load.

You can also use ASCII art pics and-or ASCII art lettering in an ALT tag, as I do. But the image line must have a pre tag before it, and a /pre tag after it so the ASCII graphics will appear correctly.

For an example, view some of these pages with a text-based browser. To see how it's done, check the source for this page, or most any of these pages. Here is what appears on a text based browser when this page is accessed:

                   oooo     oooo ooooooooooo oooooooooo
                    8b   88  d8   888    8P   888    888
                     8b d88 d8    888ooo8     888oooo88
                      888 888     888    oo   888    888
                       8   8     o888ooo8888 o888ooo88P

oooo     oooo     o      oooooo8 ooooooooooo ooooooooooo oooooooooo   oooooo8
 8888o   888     888    888      88  888  88  888    8P   888    888 888
 88 888o8 88    8' 88    88boooo     888      888ooo8     888oooo88   88boooo
 88  888  88   8oooo88        888    888      888    oo   888  88o         888
o88o  8  o88oo88o  o888oo88oo88P    o888o    o888ooo8888 o888o  88o8 o88oo88P
This is ASCII art lettering. You can access a Web site and use a Figlet server to make lettering like that for you. You just type in what you want, pick a font, and press the button. Here is a Figlet Server. The Scarecrow's ASCII Art Sites page has three of them.

If you have special interest in text-based browsers, you may find the menubar interesting. It is a text based illusion of a drop-down menubar.

Avoid making links that say 'here' or 'click here', or that have the URL as the name of the link. They make more work for the reader. And saving a bookmark in Lynx saves it with the name of the link, not the name of the page it points to.

A link should say clearly where it points to. Mailto links should have an email address as the name of the link. For example, you might have a person's name and email address, with their name linked to their home page, and their email address linked with the mailto. Newsgroup links should just have the name of the group.

If you would like to make your pages do tricks, such as seaching, guestbooks, random picks, password protection, voting, feedback, and other forms, and if you are one of the more hearty among us, check out these pages for information on CGI, PERL, etc, like:

Here are a few more tools:

Here are a few links to pages concerning SGML:

And here are a few links to pages covering VRML:

Here are several pages of information and techniques (also see Web Stuff):


Information and FTP links for popular browsers

Lynx for Unix
Lynx for DOS
WebExplorer for IBM OS/2
Cello for Windows
Arena for Unix
OmniWeb for NEXTSTEP
Hot Java for Solaris
InternetWorks for Windows
Chimera for Unix
WinWeb for Windows
MacWeb for Macintosh
Mosaic for Windows, Macintosh and X-Windows
Netscape for Windows, Macintosh and X-Windows

WWW for VMS version 2.16beta
CERN'S Line Mode Browser
MidasWWW for X11
TkWWW Browser/Editor for X11
Amiga Mosaic Home
Pythia WWW Site
InternetWorks Home Page
The Emacs World Wide Web Browser
WorldView VMRL Browser for Windows
Web Explorer for OS/2
Galahad for BIX
WWW Browsers that can display Japanese
Quarterdeck Mosaic
Quadralay WebWorks
WebSpace 3D Browser from SGI
Mosaic from Spyglass Home Page
Universal Access Inc Home Page
Ubique Sesame Navigator for UNIX
About Mosaic (TueV) for the X Window System
ViolaWWW Hypermedia Browser


For further information on browsers, see the browser pages at Vibe and unimi, with links to the archive sites to obtain browsers. And PC magazine covers 10 browsers, and gives their choice. To find out exactly what browser (and version) you are currently using, you can get a browser check and to see how your browser is working, you can take a test drive. And for further help, you can access info on configuring your browser and using helper applications.

Try to examine your pages on a number of different browsers to see what they look like to people using various browsers.

Tell the world. Unless you're doing it for your own amusement, there's no point in making a page if nobody knows it's there. You should make a point of remembering to submit your page to sites like BOBAWORLD, as well as:

Don't forget to submit your page to comp.infosystems.www.announce newsgroup. Since the group is moderated, you can cross-post your article, but make sure to put a followup-to line with a group like comp.infosystems.www.misc or a group appropriate to the message. You can post in a newsreader, or email your article to The moderator of the group asked me to mention that you should first read the charter so you know how the announcement needs to be formatted.

On your page, mention that it's OK for readers to put a link to your page(s) in their bookmark and on their home page or hotlist. Another thing that I do (which I can't recommend because I get flamed for it) is to put some reviews and reader comments at the top of the page. This way people will know that others have enjoyed your page, and that they may want to look into it rather than surf on.


Information and links for submitting your page

- A Guide to Publishing on the World Wide Web -
- How to Widely Publicize your Site -
- Submit It -
- Web Announce -
- The Postmaster -


A Web page is either under construction or it's dead. In other words, the nature of the Web is such that if you are not updating your page, it will probably become stale in not too long a time. Unless you have a page of historical value, and have no outside links on it.

If you are running your pages on a Unix based system using NCSA httpd, you can have the most recent modified date automatically added to your page without a lot of fancy code or CGI tricks. See the source for any of these pages to see how it's done.

If you have created a useful page, and have publicized it well, you should be prepared for handling email. Be ready to answer email, add links, fix typos, etc. If you do not want email, you should mention to the readers that you are not currently able to deal with email.

Be careful you don't ask for more traffic than you can handle. It is possible to saturate a line or swamp a server. Find out what your system can handle before you have your page listed everywhere.


I'd like to take this time to thank you all for your comments, suggestions, and links concerning this page. It may take me a while to deal with all the mail, but I get to it in a few hours to a day or two. Feel free to put a link to this page on your home page or hotlist.

And if you like this page, send a thank you to the WorldWide Access administrators, Gregory Gulik, and David Vrona,, for allowing me to run way too many personal Web pages, getting thousands of hits a day, even though I'm not a commercial customer.

Bob Allison



".... the Web is growing at roughly 1 per cent a day - a doubling period of of less than 10 weeks. If this rate of growth is continued, everyone on Earth would have their own personal page on the Web in four years time....."
- New Scientist magazine, 17th. December 1994



Last Updated: Thursday, 26-Oct-95 19:23:34 CDT