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Organize Your Site

It's Spring - Why Not Clean Your Site

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Have you ever felt this way:

I am about to start organizing my site (the list of files keeps growing while my management of them seems to contract)... perhaps put things in other folders, have another directory, have another place to put files I'm not using but may need again, clean up just what is in my webpage folder, etc.

(from Judy)

As Judy said, often the list of files you're creating, developing, and managing keeps growing and growing while you have no time for managing them. When you're first developing a site you should pay some attention to how you're going to maintain it before you start building.

But, most people are like Judy and myself, we already have a good-sized site, and we need help to organize and maintain it now. The following are some common organizational methods for Web sites:

  • all files in one directory
  • all files but images in one directory
  • files separated into various directories with images in one directory
  • files separated into various directories with images in sub directories beneath

It doesn't really matter how you organize your site, but it should be in a way that makes sense to you and to how your site is maintained. For example, the Symantec Web site is maintained by about six groups. Because of this, it makes sense to maintain the site in separate directories with image files in sub directories off of them.

For example, I maintain the Mac site for Symantec, the /mac directory holds all the files associated with the Mac site. There is also an images directory off of the /mac directory that holds the images for the site. But the images for the AntiVirus research center (in /avcenter) are in an images directory in that area (/avcenter/images).

But when I worked at Netcom, we stored all the images in one /images directory off of the root of the Web server. We still kept related sites together in separate directories, but in order to share images more effectively, we wanted to store them together. There were also only four people managing the entire site, so we didn't have to struggle with a huge distributed network like Symantec.

Where Do You Start

If you've already got a Web site up, then it often can be easy to see how to organize it. Why? Because, chances are you've already got your front page organized to some extent. Take your typical personal Web page, you might see links to things like:

  • my family
  • my favorite sites
  • my poetry
  • my dog

If I were going to organize this site, I would create four directories:

  • /family
  • /sites
  • /poetry
  • /pets

Then, depending upon how many images there were, I would either create separate image directories beneath:

/family/images

or one top-level images directory:

/images

Organize More Than Just the Hosting Server

Remember that if you're organizing your hosting server into subdirectories, you should also organize your hard drive in the same way. For example, my Web Design site has a main directory (/) and a library directory (/library). I created a mirrored directory structure on my hard drive. I have all my files in my main directory in c:about and my library files are in c:aboutlibrary. That way, when I create a new file, I know exactly where to upload it to About.

Creating the Directories

Most hosting services, such as About, have a tool you can use to create new directories. But if they don't you can usually use your FTP client to make the new directory. Simply connect to your hosting server with your FTP client, change to the directory where you want to create a new directory and create the new directory.

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