Webpage Services At These Domain Names
CW's Legal Discussion List Center
A webpage is simply a collection of files on a computer. If the computer is connected to the internet, other people can access a webpage using a web browser (like you are doing now). The files are transmitted across the internet, are loaded into the browser, and then are displayed.
Webpages can contain text, graphics, sounds, movies, and forms, and most webpages contain a combination of several of these. The most common type of file is a simple text files. Graphics -- like buttons, arrows, pictures, and logos -- can also be stored as a computer file, usually in a standard format like GIF or JPEG. The files can be edited or modified using common graphics programs or photo editors.
There are two ways of making a webpage: do it yourself, or have someone do it for you.
In either case, you must figure out what you want your webpage to say. Generally, there are two types of information on a legal webpage.
First, there is the basic information about you and your law firm. This includes the type of work you do, your firm's street address, phone number, and e-mail address, and perhaps some background information about you and the other lawyers in your firm and cases they have worked on.
Second, there is the substantive legal content. If you want people to visit your website, it is important for your website to contain useful information. A legal webpage should provide more than basic information about the law firm. There are many possibilities for such a webpage. For example, a tax lawyer might provide information about recent changes in the tax law or how a taxpayer can minimize the chance of being audited. A bankruptcy lawyer might consider providing information about the pros and cons of declaring bankruptcy. Any lawyer could write a monthly newsletter to be distributed to clients, and previous issues of the newsletter can be archieved on the webpage.
The ABA publishes two good books on designing legal webpages.
Also, most bookstores contain books on designing and setting up a webpage.
Assuming you know what you want your webpage to say, you must then set up your webpage.
If you want to write your own webpage, you should first purchase an HTML editor and a book on HTML. HTML (or HyperText Mark Up Language) is the "language" that webpages are written in, and an HTML editor makes it very easy to design webpages. Designing a webpage with an HTML editor is about as simple as using a word processor.
For example, suppose you wanted to make a webpage say "Designing a webpage is simple" with the word "simple" in bold and a smiley face image next to the sentence. You would go to the HTML editor, type in the sentence, highlight the word simple, and click on the "bold" option from one of the pulldown menus or from the task bar. You would then click on the "insert image" button or menu selection and select the file containing the smiley face image. You would then save the file. That's all there is to creating a webpage:
The easiest way to get simple images like buttons, arrows, smiley faces, , etc. is from a clip art collection. Most computer software stores carry inexpensive collections of royalty free clip art, and these can easily be used on a webpage.
If you have a hard copy of an image (like a company logo or a photograph), the easiest way to have it stored as a computer file is to use a scanner. The image can then be edited using a drawing program, a photo editor, or another type of graphics utility.
If you do not have a hard copy of a custom image, you can hire a graphic artist to design one for you, or you can draw one yourself using a graphics editor. Most graphics editors are extremely easy to use.
CounselWeb has a counter program running on its computers that tracks hits at all of its webpages. You may use of this program at no charge when you sign up for a CounselWeb webpage. To use this counter, you simply insert a single line of HTML code on your webpage that will access the counter each time someone loads your webpage. (We will provide you with the details on how to do this once you sign up.)
Your access logs contain a record of first order domain name (.com, .net, .edu, etc.) of each person that visits your site. You can view your access logs on through the Internet. Again, we will give you complete details once you sign up.
You simply transfer files from your computer to CounselWeb's computer over the internet using an FTP program.
Using an FTP program is simple. You simply establish an internet connection (just as you would to use your web browser) and then run your FTP program. The program will ask you to identify the computer you wish to log on to, your user name, and your password. Once you enter CounselWeb's computer and the other information, the FTP program will establish a connection over the internet between your computer and your website on CounselWeb's computer.
Once you are connected, you simply select your webpage files and the graphics files on your computer that you wish to upload, and then click ‘send'. These files will be copied from your computer to your website on CounselWeb's computer. Once you do this, anyone accessing your website will see your new webpage files.
Many web browser packages include a FTP program. But if you do not have one, you can download one at no charge from the internet. The two program we would recommend are WS- FTP and Cute FTP. There are two websites - Strouds and TuCows - that have complete downloading information about these and other FTP programs, along with other internet applications.
Once you have the program and have signed up for a CounselWeb webpage, we will provide you with a user name and password for connecting to your webpage.
Yes. Our computers have full FTP access 24 hours a day.
Even if someone else designed your webpage for you, you can easily make changes to it.
You should keep a copy of your entire website on your own computer. To make changes, simply modify the web page files on your computer using your HTML editor. Then upload the new files to your webpage using your FTP program.
CGI programs are programs that can be run from a webpage.
The simplest webpages are composed of text and images. The user simply loads the webpage, reads the text, and looks at the images. However, more complicated webpages can run programs or "scripts" that interact with the user. For example, some webpages allow the user to search a database, to fill out a form and send it to the webpage owner, or to view changing data. These program are called "CGI" programs, and they can accept input from the webpage itself. These programs are typically written in computer languages like Visual Basic, Perl, or Java.
CounselWeb has written several commonly used CGI programs, like a form responder and a webpage counter. All of the legal webpages at CounselWeb have access to these programs. And as we develop more CGI programs, we will provide access to them as well. If you reserve a webpage at CounselWeb, we will e-mail you the documentation on these CGI programs.
If you would like to write your own CGI scripts for your webpage, just let us know. We will handle these cases on an ad hoc basis as they come up. We have to be sure that your programs are compatible with our system and will not accidentally cause harm, but we will give you as much programming flexibility and access as possible. We may even license your program from you and allow other people to use it.
You have two options for your webpage address.
First, you can sign up at one of CounselWeb's domain names. CounselWeb provides over 80 legal-related domain names, like litigation.net, businesslaw.net, familylaw.net, criminallaw.net, taxlaw.net, etc. Click here for the full list.
If you sign up at one of these domain names, your webpage address (or URL) will be
For example, if you put your webpage at businesslaw.net and sign up as JSmith, your URL will be
There are two key advantages to a CounselWeb website. First, your webpage address is meaningful. Many companies provide webpage hosting at incomprehensible addresses that identify their computer company, but not your type of law. Second, your webpage address can match your e-mail address. In the example above, you can also have the e-mail address of
The second option is to register your own domain name. For example, if your law firm is Smith & Jones, you can register with the Internic the name SmithJones.com, or SJ.com, or SJLaw.com, or any other name you choose. (We can help you register the name.) Of course, you have to verify that the domain name you was is not taken. But once you have the name registered, we can host your webpage at this address. Your webpage address will be
We also provide matching e-mail addresses with the webpage hosting. E-mail addressed to
can be automatically forwarded to any regular e-mail account.
The Internic has an on-line searchable database of existing domain names called WhoIs. Go to this webpage and check whether the domain name you want is still available. The just press the "Back" arrow on your web browser to return to this page.
Yes. Fill out our on-line form with the domain name you want to use and other information. We will register your account with the Internic and set your domain name up on our sever. The InterNIC will then bill you directly. (The Internic charged $100 for the first two years, and $50 per year after that.)
In your domain name, you may use any combination of letters and numbers. You may also include dashes, but you may not begin or end your domain name with a dash.
If you have a webpage at another domain name, you should pick a new CounselWeb domain name and a user name. To do this, you can use our on-line sign up form. Once your webpage is set up, you simply copy the files from your old sever to our server, and you will have a new webpage.
If you have already registered your own domain name and another company is hosting it, you can transfer it over as well. This is a several step process. Sign up using our on-line sign up form, and we will help you through the process.
First, you will need to transfer your webpage and e-mail to our computers. We will set this up for you, and we charge our customary $50 set up fee. Once your webpage is on our computers, our computers will display your webpage to anyone accessing our computers looking for your webpage. Of course, no one will be doing this yet, since all the computers on the internet look for your webpage on your current computer.
Second, you need to notify the Internic that you are transferring your web hosting computer. We can help you fill out this form with the technical details. You then e-mail the form to the Internic, and it will begin processing the transfer. During this time, people will still access your webpage at your current provider.
Third, once the transfer takes place, people will begin accessing your webpage on our server. There is a short overlap time when people might access your webpage from either computers, but once this period is over, everyone will access your webpage on CounselWeb's computer. At this time, you should cancel your service with your previous host and have them delete your domain from their DNS records.
Not really. Most legal websites are not extremely busy -- they do not receive hundreds of thousands of hits or transfer several gigabytes of data each month. Our computers can easily handle the traffic that virtually all legal websites will generate. Because of this, we have not set a limit for legal webpages.
However, if your website begins to have tens of thousands of hits per month or starts transferring several gigabytes of data each month, we will contact you about upgrading your connection or computer. This will keep our computers from being overwhelmed and will prevent your website's performance from suffering. But it is extemely unlikely that this will occur.
No. The large internet service providers like AOL, Compuserve, Netcom, and AT&T, can provide dial-up access much more efficiently than we can. Our webpage and e-mail servers are connected directly to the internet, but are not connected to phone lines. This frees computing resources and allows our computers to load webpages quickly. But because of this, we do not offer dial up connections.
Yes. We work with several independent web page designers and graphic designers and we would be pleased to assist you in designing and setting up your webpage.
There are at least three common ways to advertise your website.
First, you can advertise you webpage off the internet. For example, you can add it to your business cards and letterhead. You can also mention to people that you have a webpage and give them the URL. You can also add it to the signature line of your e-mails.
Second, you can have other people add a link to your webpage on their webpage. Often, they will want you to do the same, and you can set up a links page for this very purpose.
Third, your can register your webpage on popular search engines like Yahoo and Webcrawler. The major search engines offer free listings. Users then access these search engines, do a word search, and your webpage (along with others) will appear in the list produced by the search engine.
One common problem is that the search engines often produce thousands of webpages in response to each search query, and unless your webpage appears near the top of this list, you have little chance of being found. The solution is to write your webpage in such a way that you appear high on the list produced by search engines, at least for those search queries that are relevant to your webpage. If you sign up for a CounselWeb webpage, we will e-mail you some suggestions on how to improve your chances of being found on the search engines.
Usually is can be done within 24 hours, and often it will be done the same day. Once we receive your payment, we will provide you with an FTP user name and password. You can upload files to your new web site immediately.
If you are still working on your webpage, you might place an order with us just to hold the name or begin registering your domain name. We will place a brief message on your webpage indicating that it is under construction and coming soon. We will charge you the set up fee, but will not charge you the annual fee until your webpage is complete and you upload it the the server.
You can order a webpage by filling out our on-line ordering form.