Somebody's gotta sweat the small stuff
Online service can help you out
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Issue 10   |   April 2000   |   updated 4-17-00 

For some reason NetMechanic sometimes flags links as broken that work just fine when I try them.

Most recently it couldn't follow either the Apple Computer or links from my site. This seems to be a temporary problem that fixes itself by the time I try. Any ideas on what's happening?


The devil is in the details ( help is available)

Great content is important. Striking graphics mean a lot. But one of the most important parts of creating a great website is paying attention to the behind-the-scenes details that make it work the way it should.

Things like: checking the HTML to see that it will work in the most popular versions of Netscape and Explorer; testing links to avoid the frustrating "File not found" syndrome; spell-checking the text; and perhaps most importantly, testing download times for individual pages.

You can do these things yourself, a tedious and never-ending project. Or, you can use one of several web services to will do it for you.

My favorite is NetMechanic, an online service that will check your website (up to 20 pages) for free.

What NetMechanic does
Go to the NetMechanic website, type in your URL, and wait. In a few minutes you'll get an email with a URL to visit to see the report of the results of a series of automated checks for proper HTML, spelling, broken links, and download times.

NetMechanic screen detailThe report itself is an example of excellent information design. The HTML section in particular shines, with a color-coded chart listing what versions of each browser may have problems with your HTML, and approximately how many users will be affected.

When you click to ask for a more detailed report on a problem page, the full source code is displayed with detailed error messages and helpful tips highlighted in red.
[see sample report screen]

NetMechanic uses color very effectively to show exactly where problems are. Its combination of specific details plus understandable explanations of problems and possible solutions make this one of the most helpful and enjoyable services of its kind. It makes an otherwise tedious task tolerable, and fast.

Test, don't guess
Don't just hope that your HTML is right or assume that your page download times are realistic. Test them with NetMechanic by clicking below.

Checked by NetMechanic