Up to now you have only used a few web pages and image files. As you move away from a very small site you come into a small to medium site size.
As more and more pages and graphics files are added to your site you may wish to place some of your files into a folder, to help with the site management.
Often when a folder is introduced it is to hold the graphic files, and popular names for the folder are either graphics or images.
If you are going to place photographs on your site you will find that these are very large files with long download times. A popular way is there fore to have a page of small thumb nail photograph, which download much faster. The user can then select any thumbnail that they wish to view and this links to a full size version. In this case usually 1 folder contains the thumbnails, and another the full size files. Folders could be given names such as thumbs and photos. The better authoring packages will do this all automatically for you.
This site falls into this category of a small to medium site. If you look at the URL for this page you can obtain information on the sites structure.
Large sites require an organised structure using folders within the site. These are used very similar to folders on your hard drive.
The layout of all the files in a large site need to be planned and placed in a logical folder layout.
You need to jot down either using paper and pencil, word processor or spreadsheet your site file layout. Changing this on paper is easy. A trial and error layout done straight to your web site is time consuming to yourself, and annoying to your users, if changes have to be made later. Basically because all links will have to be changed. Remember that your users may have Bookmarked some of your pages, these bookmarks will then get a 404 - not found etc. if the layout is changed later.
There will be many possible good layouts for any given set of files.Exercise 1
This is an exercise to see how folders are used on your hard drive. If you are used to using Windows Explorer for say moving files around your system you can quickly read through this exercise without having to do it. If you are a new PC user then do this exercise.
Imagine trying to find some file whose name you are not sure of if ALL files were in a single folder.
Now look at the Windows folder, see how Microsoft has split the contents into sub folders, many of which intern have further sub folders etc.
Does the layout look logical
Look at the pattern of folders and sub folders.
Visually think of replacing the the actual names with suitable names of your website.
Another interesting folder to look at is the program files folder. If you have loaded loads of programs this folder may have become excessively long and perhaps unwieldy.
Assume you have decided to do a web site describing how all the programs on your computer worked. You have decided that for each program you would have several pages and lots of graphics.
You could could have a folder structure the same as that within the program files folder, or on the other hand you may decide to decrease the length of this folder and increase the depth.
You could achieve this by categorising the program files and place groups of them into separate folders such as.
Spaces CAN NOT be used in file names, folder names, URLs, id names, & anchor names
It is common practice to use one of the following methods to replace the space in
html editors :
Do this either using paper and pencil, word processor or spreadsheet. You need to be able to indent your work.
You may have learnt how handy Web pages are for taking notes. Indentation is not as easy to do as in the other mediums suggested.
Use indentation for your folders and sub folders
Remember that all of them will be placed within 1 folder your root folder, you will give this a name suitable to what you are doing, like my_church_web_site, for simplicity I will use mywebsite The name does not matter, it is only going to be used on your hard drive. If you have obtained a domain name, mydomain.com, you could use mydomain for you folder, but as I say it does not matter. If you are doing many web sites then using mydomain for the mydomain.com website makes things easier to find.
All these steps are done using Pen and paper, Word processor or even a spread sheet
Note how I do not use spaces in the names, and use lowercase. This can prevent possible problems on certain servers.
When you do these steps use names that are relevant to your site, put keep the names short.
Write down the name of your root folder and place your home page in that folder. It is normal to use index.htm for your home page. I will place (folder) to indicate a folder. Your home page will contain links to take you into the site.
Add the names of your major folders, I will call these Projects.
Enter the pages into the folders, note each folder shown have an index.htm file in it. This prevents users from seeing your sites directory, which is possible on some servers.
Decide where you are going to place your graphic files, this may depend on the number of files.
You could place them all in the root folder.
You could place them all in graphic folder in the root folder.
The above 2 possibilities are ideal for all images that appear on several pages or there are not to many graphic files.
Images that are only going to be used in HTML files within a particular project folder can be placed in that folder, or in a graphic folder within that folder.
If a site has 1000s of images then you may like to give a graphic folder sub directories. May be for Navigation images (rollovers), Family photos, City photos
When you are happy with your layout you can start to put it into practice. But do this in small easy stages, so that you can check out that links and images are working.
Your HTML editor will probably allow you to create folders, if you are using notepad as your editor then you will have to create them using Windows explorer.
At this stage I suggest you just do the root, project1 folder and graphic folder (if required)
Place the graphic files in the correct folder as decided.
Create your root index.htm file and when you save it make sure it is saved to the correct folder.
IMPORTANT Your site will contain several index.htm files it is easy to overwrite the wrong one, destroying a lot of hard work. When you save you may like to save a backup file with a different name may be indexroot.htm indexproj1.htm.
If you put the HTML pages and the images in separate folders how does the webserver find them?
You do not need to worry about this. Because when you upload your local site you upload the same folder structure as on your hard drive, so everything within your mywebsite folder is uploaded, usually in stages as you create it. The root folders name mywebsite is not uploaded.
When inserting images your editor should place the correct relative address, usually using a browse option.
Check the source code if you have any reference starting C: you have done it wrong
Because you are using folders you will probably find some thing like ../
this means up one level in the folder structure
To go down a level the folder name must be added. So your link to p1page1.htm from the index.htm file in the root folder would look like
to go in the opposite direction
The location of the file you want is relative to the location of the current file that contains the reference. Hence the term relative addressing
Without navigation links users will be unable to move arround your site. Thought should go into your sites navigation. Your aim should be to allow your user to reach any page on your site in 3 or less clicks.
By default navigation text links are blue and underlined, changing to a maroon shade when used. Because of this it is normal for designers not to use underlined words, and to emphasise text in some other way.
Users are used to these default colours, and changes to this default colour must be considered with care.
The normal positions of your navigation is near the top of the page, and / or down the left side. This is not a hard ans fast rule, but is done in these positions by convention.
At the foot of the page
it is usual to have a link to the previous and next page in the series of pages. Alternativly the navigation at the page head is repeated.
On long pages such as this one it is usual to have a page navigation system, seperate from the site navigation system. You should make it clear to the user in some way that this navigation area is for the page.
Long pages often have links to the top of the page. It may be desirable to have these links at regular intervals.