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Making a Petpage Stand Out!!!


by belldandy213

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PET CENTRAL - A few months ago I came home from school to find my inbox filled up all the way with messages telling me how cool my pets were, everybody requesting to be my Neofriend, and people begging to know how I did my userlookup. I was clearly bewildered. Messages by the dozens were coming in by the second and I had no idea why. For a while, I just answered Neomails blindly until I came to a message from somebody saying:

Congrats on making Site Spotlight!

I was like: WHAT? I had no idea that my petpage won! However, when I saw the news that Thursday evening, it showed the following:

Congratulations Lyra_the_Zafara and Belldandy213! Your website - Lyra & Company has won the latest Site Spotlight award.

Not until a few minutes later did I finally remember that almost three weeks previously I had entered my pet’s page. I, completely unsuspecting of the fact that it would actually make it in, just entered it in as a little “experiment” to see whether it would make it in or not. And here it was, three weeks later sitting on the front page of the Site Spotlight competition!

Now, what was it that allowed me to be bestowed with the great honor of being winner of the Site Spotlight? Well, I think that there were several reasons for this. I’m going to tell you a few tips that certainly benefited my page, as they will benefit yours, and how you can make a petpage STAND OUT!!!

Tip #1: A Balanced Color Scheme

A must have for any good petpage is a balanced color scheme. Balancing the color scheme so it has absolutely NO clashing colors will go a long way. A good color scheme will concentrate on different shades of one color and add some secondary colors for contrast. For example, a popular scheme used would be a green color scheme. Different shades of green could be used, such as lime green, jade green, forest green, and so many choices. Then whites or blacks, depending on the “theme” of the page, may be added to accompany the “green” scheme. In order to create an appropriate color scheme, follow one or more of the following:

- What is your page about? Is there a color associated with the topic?

- What is the mood of your page? When somebody visits your page, how are they supposed to feel? Is there a color or some colors that reflect this mood?

- What color(s) do you think about when you look at your page?

Once you have chosen a scheme of colors, you should figure out how to apply that scheme to make your page look nice. One thing that often happens is that people misuse their scheme and put the colors in places that make them look messy and displeasing to the eye. In order to avoid this, make sure you abide by the following guidelines:

- Put your colors in a light/dark fashion. In other words, if your color scheme is blue, always put a lighter shade of blue and a darker shade of blue together. NEVER put two dark shades or light shades with little contrast together! It makes it hard to distinguish the two from each other.

- ALL GRAPHICS in the page should follow the color scheme. This includes backgrounds, banners, navigational bars, title pictures, and everything related to the layout.

- Color everything so it can be seen clearly and easily.

Follow those tips and you’ll have a terrific color scheme for your petpage.

Tip #2: An Overall Topic

Your petpage must have a topic!!! It must show what your petpage is about. For example, if your pet has a peculiar hobby and wants to show it off to Neopia or you have a super-cool guide to a certain aspect of Neopia, both of those could be made into excellent topics for a petpage. I, myself, chose Zafaras for the topic of my pet’s page, and it worked quite fine.

Once you have chosen a topic you must keep in mind that you need to organize the topic in such a way that it would be well presented on your page. For example, if your topic is how you love paintbrushes you could make and research the following subtopics for your page:

- Introduction to Paintbrushes

- About Me

- Painting your Pets

- Paintbrushes of Neopia and How to get them

- Colors pets can be painted

- Saving up for a Paintbrush

- Link to Me

- Farewell and Credits

A lot of people asked me how they link to these “subtopics” if they are displayed on the same page. Well, these are called page anchors, and I found that the following page explains it quite nicely:

http://home.neopets.com/templates/homepage.phtml?pet_name=LeiaLissa#anchor

Once you’re finished with this, you should be all set with the topic and navigation of your page. I’ll explain to you something else then…

Tip #3: Use Good Graphics, but don’t stress if you can’t

A good tip for any award winning petpage is to use good graphics. Go all-out with the backgrounds and banners. It always makes a difference! Also remember that you don’t need to be pressured with making your own graphics because Neopets’ graphics work fine too. I know, when I was making my Zafara’s petpage I had NO scanner, NO graphics programs, and I couldn’t do much, so I used images already made by the staff instead. Believe me, there is no pressure! While it’s preferred, you don’t need to make your own graphics. You can use the ones listed in the bottom of the Pet Central page instead. In case you DO want to make your own graphics, here are a few things you might want to do:

- If you can, try to save up for an inexpensive graphics program. I know us kids that have no money might not be able to get one easily, but if you can, beg your parents for one for Christmas or something. That’s how I got mine, by promising my mom that I’d wait until Christmas to get a CD player or something, and buy mine instead.

- Make all of your graphics go by your color scheme! I’ll leave it at that.

- Keep in mind that you don’t have to be an artist to make good graphics.

If you can’t make good graphics, then you can’t! Don’t go insane over not being able to make good graphics, because, in the end, that’s not what really matters in a petpage. As long as your topic is good, and information complete, then graphics are not a key component.

Tip #4: Use CSS for Layouts

Whenever I code layouts, I always use CSS style sheets. These are style sheets that can make colored scrollbars (IE only), div scroll boxes, textareas with pizzazz, and beautify your petpage. As far as how you learn CSS, there is only one resource in Neopia that I know of for CSS layouts and it’s located at the following page:

http://home.neopets.com/templates/homepage.phtml?pet_name=csshelp

I myself used this when I was first starting out with CSS. It’s probably the most useful guide on CSS in Neopia. It tells you how to make backgrounds, change font colors, make colored scrollbars (again, IE only), and filtering images with glowing effects. PLEASE NOTE that it is slightly outdated, so when they say that the shops don’t allow CSS, please note that they DO NOW! Also, userlookups now allow regular HTML, so keep that in mind while editing your userlookup now. Overall, however, it is probably the best resource you’ll ever find for CSS on Neopets, so give it a glance!

Tip #5: Give your petpage a welcoming feeling

It’s always good that you give your petpage an overall welcoming feeling. Start out welcoming your visitors and end off saying stuff like, “Farewell! I loved taking you around my little home!” or something like that. It adds a personal touch to your page, and leaves a good impression on your visitors.

Tip #6: Miscellaneous Tips

A few more tips that’ll give you a better chance to win the shiny Site Spotlight trophy:

- Links to sites outside of Neopets are disallowed (due to fake login pages), so you can’t link to other sites. However, you may link to inside Neopets sites (other petpages, guilds, etc.) that you feel are good to link to, and most URLs of outside Neopets sites can be on petpages. Be aware of this, especially when making “favorite links” sections and such.

- If you are entering a page into the Site Spotlight, I STRONGLY suggest you make a Frequently Asked Questions page linked to from that page and your userlookup. Make sure that you make it cover all the usual questions that you may or might receive after getting the Site Spotlight award. An example of a FAQ page can be found below for your reference:

http://www.neopets.com/~belldandy213

- When making a petpage description for the Site Spotlight, it doesn’t have to be anything spectacular. Just state your topic and welcome your visitor in it. If you insist on being creative, then fine, but it is not necessary.

- Repeat after me: YOU WILL NOT WIN THE FIRST TIME. It took me about 2 years of entering different pages (I entered Lyra_the_Zafara’s 3 times) until I finally won. Why? Because persistence shows the staff that you are truly working hard to win the Site Spotlight. I made about 9 different petpages over the last few years and none of them ever got even close until Lyra_the_Zafara’s. Remember that persistence is the key to success, and never give up, because experience makes a BIG difference.

So what is a good example of a page that uses all of these tips? Lyra_the_Zafara’s page applies all of these tips to finally achieve a finished product. I strongly suggest you look at it, and other Site Spotlight winning petpages, as examples to build off of to make your own. It’s located at the URL below:

http://www.neopets.com/~Lyra_the_Zafara

I hope you have had a wonderful time reading this article and that you have benefited a lot from this article! I hope you have a great time creating an awesome petpage, and remember: Persistence is the key to success!

Author’s Note: If you have any other questions, please read my FAQ and then Neomail me. I’ll be happy to help, but please no layout or graphic requests. Please use constructive criticism on this article, because I’m trying to further develop my writing skills. Thanks!

-belldandy213

 
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