What do you think of my website?

  Martinsonline 00:03 22 Dec 2003

I have just launched my first website, based on programs that I am making. If you could have a look at it and tell me what you think it would be greatly appreciated.

click here

  Taran 00:17 22 Dec 2003

Nice and clean, easy to navigate, but:

Unless the pop-up is some kind of term of use for your site, get rid of it (pet hate of mine).

On the left descriptive text copy on the first page you have "Welcome to nitramSOFT, creator of free programs The Lock and the soon to be released Desktop HyperSpace."

Since you want people to look at your programs, I'd think about putting the program names in bold or strong tags to make them stand out and you could also make them into hyperlinks to the relevant pages of the site.

Finally, the terms of linking to your download files at the bottom of the page: you could be inviting trouble since you've just told the world how they can shut down your site. It might be unlikely to happen, but sooner or later you may well encounter some kind of idiot who reads your statement and out of pure mischief sets you up as a target by posting download links in all the wrong places.

I'd strongly advise you to incorporate some kind of anti-linking scripts into your site to protect the downloads from external access unless the access request comes from the download page on your site. There are several ways of doing this (PHP, JavaScript, protected directories and so on) and if you want to pursue it, post again and one of us will help you out.

The site looks good though. Well done you.



  Martinsonline 00:22 22 Dec 2003

Thanks for the feedback (that was quick!)

Good ideas as well for the bold program titles and anti-linking scripts.

Like you suggested, how would I go about creating these anti-linking scripts? My webhost has pretty restricted PHP support, but I think they do support JavaScript.

Thanks again

  Taran 00:27 22 Dec 2003

Note my comment in your other thread. Your download link is dead and this, among your pop-ups, is likely to irritate visitors.

I'm going offline now (past my bedtime) but I'll pop in tomorrow morning and rattle off a couple of alternative scripts for you to try.


  Forum Editor 00:53 22 Dec 2003

and I agree with Taran. Pop-ups irritate people, and finding a dead download link is like walking to a pub on a hot day and finding it closed.

I think you'll find that many people will be wary of simply downloading something that hasn't been fully explained. You need to give a full description of what your software is and what it does, right there on the download page - and if possible include a couple of screen-shots.

Your site is fine, but it can be a lot better. Images work wonders, and a more structured layout would improve things no end. I was conscious of having to look for links, and that's the kiss of death - people just won't bother to spend time hunting for things. Make your clickable links look different - as already suggested by Taran.

I would also remove that text about linking into the site immediately - for the reasons already mentioned.

I think you have an excellent site in the making - it just needs a little more attention, particularly to the visual aspects.

  Taran 10:38 22 Dec 2003

OK, for file security we run the real risk of getting in way over your head here. We can go to serious levels involving cookies, user sessions and authentication, or you can be a little more prosaic and use simpler methods like htaccess protection for your downloads and/or change access name/password every few days.

An excellent PHP solution that is pretty easy to implement can be seen here: click here

If you go to Google and use these search strings:

"hotlink htaccess" or "hotlink"+"htaccess" you get a ton of returns, some good, some not so good. A nice article on setting up a simple htaccess protected directory is at this link:

click here

You could even use something like CoffeeCup Password Wizard, the quickest and easiest way I know of for anyone to protect areas of their site. I've set this up for a friend before where we changed the access username and password every other day and I set up an HTML page to contain this information on his site.

A request to download the file goes on to another page containing the required username and password. From there, you click to proceed and enter that username and password into form fields on another page from which you may download your file.

It's a bit convoluted and may put some people off, but compared to the alternative of potentially having your site shut down in the event of external linking it's a small price to pay and updating the username/password combination on the HTML page and in the htaccess file takes moments to do.

There are loads of ways around linking, from well implemented download CGI scripts through to PHP sessions and cookies, but why use a hammer to crack a nut, unless you find that you need to ?

Try one of the simpler solutions. You can always implement something more comprehensive at a later date. At least you will be demonstrating to your host that you are taking serious steps to comply with their terms.



  Martinsonline 16:11 22 Dec 2003

Made a few modifications to the website, including a few pointers towards links. Fixed the dead download link, and fixed bugs in the program (see my Helpline thread).

Modified the hotlinking message, and the nice people at HostUltra are blocking hotlinks for me. Thanks anyway to Teran.

I will now be working on a new dedicated download page for people going straight to there instead of through the website.

if I could make a suggestion, I think you'd be much better off switching Hosts and allowing deep links direct to your programs, alot more people will use your programs that way and if your programs are good people will come to the site for a look around anyway,

I didnt stay at the site for long as my taskbar starting jumping with all the pop-ups so I bailed out but from what I saw you are not carrying any adverts (of your own, only your host's) so allowing deep links will not loose you any revenue.

thats just my personal experience, I get about 100 downloads a day mainly direct from outside, just FYI I use 1&1 as my host and theres no trouble with it and no pop-ups.

from what I did see of the site it looked nice and clean and simple, keep up the good work. Horiz (horizon5.co.uk)

  Martinsonline 18:21 22 Dec 2003

I would use OneAndOne as my host but that would mean charging people for my program. I'm only a poor student, and the most I could afford is a domain name without hosting.

That's why I'm using a free host. I am looking for a free one with support for hotlinking, any file type/size and no adverts, but they are hard to find.

i guess its a question of priorities, all my programs are free and all I have is the JSA but the fiver a month is worth it for the online CV potential of the website. If your program is good enough you could always try and solicit donations. but dont give it up and if you do find a host that gives you all that let me know.

  Sir Radfordin 23:59 22 Dec 2003

If you are a student then why not see if your Uni/College/School (depending on how you define student!) can give you any webspace.

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