Opinions and help on my first *proper* website

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by big_malk, Jan 6, 2007.

  1. big_malk macrumors 6502a

    Aug 7, 2005

    For some background... I'm 19 (yesterday), I'm studying multimedia at college, but I've only been picking up PHP and MySQL as I've been making this site.

    It's kind of a 'youTube for games', I've looked at other sites with this goal; they all seem to be funded by huge company's with more financial backing than my city. So with my a budget of... well I'm over budget just with the hosting... I think they have an advantage!

    Some things I had in mind that you people could maybe help with...

    • Well, is there any point in me trying with this site at all?
    • What do you think of the design/layout/navigation etc?
    • Please register to test it all, if you want. Upload games if you have any :p
    • I've submitted to google and lots of other engines, but how do you actually get a site popular with no money?!
    • There's probably more problems and security holes than an un-patched windows with no malware protection (I have a few in mind already), any help finding/fixing these? lol
    • What is it missing?

    As I was told in college "Testing should be destructive in nature, with no thought given to the feelings of the designer" - please, rip my site apart!

    Thanks for all your help
  2. mnkeybsness macrumors 68030


    Jun 25, 2001
    Moneyapolis, Minnesota
    design-wise, it looks like it is from 1998.

    Have you not seen NewGrounds?
  3. big_malk thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 7, 2005
    Yip, thing is I'm struggling for content for a start, I don't have a clue what to put on the front page!

    My friend described it as "it looks Mac" :confused: I didn't know what to make of that.
    Any ideas what I could change specifically about the design? It was never my strong point :(
  4. xoreu macrumors member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Your friend could've been referring to the similarity of your site's navigation bar with that of Apple.com, although, the way I see it, there's no immediate connection.

    Unfortunately, I have to agree with both mnkeybsness' points: the design looks outdated and the concept already has many good implementations.

    While improving the current site is a possibility, I think you'd be better off rebuilding it. Since you yourself admit design isn't your strong point, I'd recommend getting some ideas or at least customizing a template from sites like OSWD and Open Source Web Design.

    The bigger problem is IMO the content/premise of the site. Don't let this discourage you from trying, but, at the moment, your site has nothing that would make me, as a visitor, want to linger on it. Other sites already offer bigger and better selections of games and (for developers) hosting services.

    That isn't to say that your website can't turn out great - it just needs some more work.
  5. victori macrumors newbie

    Dec 30, 2006
    Build it properly. PHP is great as a template language for dynamic elements, when your doing something like this use a MVC framework such as catalyst,django or rails.

    oh and please for the love of baby jebus hire a designer.

    things to take into consideration.

    1. Use mod_rewrite to hide extensions, you might of written it now in php, but later you might decide to do it properly in something else, google will drop your rank if urls start the change.

    for example if /games.php turns into /games.aspx (as an example), with mod_rewrite you should have /games -- end users don't care or need to know what the site is written in

    2. I can see you used dreamweaver, bad bad bad. Learn xhtml and css it isn't rocket science.

    3. Invest time in getting familiar with javascript; learn a javascript framework such as dojo,yui or gwt

    4. use mod_security to avoid comment spam and cross site scripting attacks.

    What is your goal for this project anyway?

  6. big_malk thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 7, 2005
    Thanks for those links.

    About the mod_rewrite, I'm hosted with bravenet, the article I read about it talks about putting rules into the httpd.conf file - I'm pretty sure I don't have access to that, but it also says it works in a virtualhost context, do I just make my own httpd.conf file at my root level? Also, it mentions restarting apache after making changes?! I can't do that I'm sure.

    About the lack of decent content, all but two off the games (the duck ones) I made myself as I learnt flash, no one will want to upload their game until it looks like a decent site, but it'll only ever look like a decent site once people upload their games :confused:

    About using dreamweaver, what's so bad about dreamweaver? I spend about 90% of my time in the code view and write most of it myself. But it can't hurt to let dreamweaver do some of the basic HTML work, can it?

    Javascript - I'd like to learn it and probably will, but to be honest, I'd say it looks a lot harder to pick up than PHP or anything else I've learnt!

    My goal for the project... optimistically I'd like this site to turn out huge, and sell it to Google for millions. Realistically (with optimism) I hope it might be reasonably popular so no one could say I wasted my time. But even if I don't get a single hit ever again, I'm learning a lot making it which must be a good thing since a webdesigner is one of the jobs I have in mind when I leave college (you can laugh at that, since *design* clearly isn't my strong point)
  7. xoreu macrumors member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Learning Javascript shouldn't be very hard: the beauty of it is that you can start with very basic things (e.g. alert('blah')) and move on to much more powerful stuff, like the ever-popular AJAX.

    As for mod_rewrite, you don't have to modify the httpd.conf file - you can do the same with .htaccess, which is local to your site or directory.

    My best suggestion would be to learn from examples - look at similar sites, see what they do well, what can be improved. Same goes for coding and web design, etc.
  8. big_malk thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 7, 2005
    I was looking at a book on AJAX the other day actually, I'd really like to be able to do some of that stuff, might get it when I get my student loan :)

    But... I've been playing about with .htaccess redirecting urls, I've come across something I didn't expect and I can't find explained anywhere... www.standbygames.com/old.htm doesn't exist, and redirects to (hidden) www.standbygames.com/new.html
    BUT when I put [R] at the end of the .htaccess rule
    ( RewriteRule ^old\.htm(l)?$ new.html [R] )
    it should change the address in the browsers? It does, kinda, but it adds loads of other directories in between which I guess is the true location of my site on the bravenet server?
    From what I read it shouldn't work like this, or at least I didn't expect (or want) it to, is there anyway to stop this apart from putting the complete address for the redirect?
  9. Alex Urchin macrumors member

    Oct 25, 2006
    That's insane, and probably a little elitist. Nothing wrong with using the most powerful and popular wysiwyg, to be honest. Even as a professional.

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