A Simple Guide to the Site Spotlight
Have you ever wanted to appear on the Neopets News page being mentioned for winning a Site Spotlight? Do you want your efforts to be recognized and your page to be shown to all the Neopians around? Have your pages been rejected many times before? Are you nodding at your screen as you read along? If so, then follow me in this easy step-by-step guide of the how-to's in making a winning site! Once you are finished reading this easy article, you will be ready to indulge yourself into the grand world of Petpage making, and your efforts will be recognized and praised by all of Neopia!
The first thing you need to find before you start is a theme for your page. Think of something that you know a lot about, your favorite game, your favorite Neopet, or even a tour of your gallery. A good idea for getting inspiration is browsing around the site, and looking at past Site Spotlight winners for inspiration. If you still can't think of something, a few ideas are: your favorite Neopets Villain, your favorite plot character, a tour to your favorite Neopet World, or even a guide to your favourite game. Look at the site Calendar to see if any upcoming Neopets event interests you so much that you can make your site about that Neopet Day or event. There is also a better chance TNT will choose you because your site has to do with the upcoming Neopet Day or event. Of course, if you decide to make your site about a plot character that's an Aisha and it's Aisha Day, then you'll probably have the same chance as a person who chose to make an Aisha dedicated page.
Once you have a theme for your page you'll need a layout for it. If you don't know how to code a layout, then you should visit Neopets HTML Guide which explains how to code a simple HTML layout so that you can make your site prettier. If you would like to jazz it up with some nice images that have to do with your theme, you can look at some premade "Fun Images" made by TNT which you are free to use at any time, or you can create your own with a paint program on your computer. You can also create backgrounds with any simple paint program on your computer, but if you have any other advanced program, you can probably make Glitters (Glittering images), Blinkies (blinking images), and some extra fun stuff for your page. Try to make your layout simple so that it isn't too much for the reader to take in. If you make everything too glittery, the reader will focus more on the layout than on the content of your page. Make your layout simple, but nice so that the person on the other side of the screen is still impressed, but not blinded.
When you finish making your layout you should start working on the most important part of your whole page: the content. Even though it sounds like it's not very important, it's what TNT will judge your site on. If the content of your site has nothing to do with the theme of your petpage, then you will probably have slim chances of winning at all. To start off you will have to divide your page in different parts. Now I'll be giving you a kind of skeleton that you could use for your site so that it's easier to know what you are going to be working on next. If you don't want to use this skeleton, make up your own and follow it!
Introduction: What is your site about? Introduce the reader to what they'll be looking at for the next few minutes. Tell them why you chose your petpage's theme and what makes you really enjoy it.
About your Theme: If you chose a Neopets villain, pet, game or character begin by telling your reader everything you can find on that topic. Look your villain up in the Gallery of Evil, character in the Neopedia, and find interesting facts about the pet you chose, typing the pet's name into the sidebar's search bar. The content that talks about your theme should occupy most of your page. Try to be creative and add small sections of interesting facts about your theme. For example: If you were making a petpage about Aishas you would want to tell the reader about the colors you can paint Aishas, the types of Aisha foods there are, Neopian Aisha characters and more. Having this in mind, make sure this section occupies most of your petpage.
About you/your pet: Since you went through all this work to make your petpage enjoyable for others, you might want to tell the reader about the author of the petpage: you! If you prefer, you can talk about the pet whose petpage your site is on. Make this a small section, so that the reader doesn't get the feeling that you've spent the whole page talking about you/your pet rather than your theme.
Extra: You might want to add something extra to your petpage to make it extra special. If your page is a guide, you might want to have affiliates or other great pages you've stumbled on linked to at the bottom of your page. Anything you like can go in this section. You can even introduce the reader to graphics, backgrounds, and images that are related to your petpage's theme that are on the site.
Goodbye: Finally say goodbye to the reader in a polite way. Adding some clickable banners near the bottom of the page, can be a useful tool. Not only can your reader link back to you, it can generate more viewers who use that link.
One tip for your page is to have lots of images and links so that the reader will be more entertained. After all, it is convenient to have a reference image to look at to accompany all the great content text. Look around the site for images you can use on your petpage, or make your own! Be very creative, and try to grab TNT's attention with something nobody's ever done before!
Proofreading & Submitting
Once you think you've finished your petpage, you'll have to do a few things before you submit it for Site Spotlight. Usually TNT does not pick out sites that are a complete spelling disaster or use chatspeak, so you should consider proofreading the text in your site before your submitting it. Of course, TNT will accept a few spelling errors; after all, we're only human. Just in case, try to be as cautious with your spelling and grammar as possible. Asking a friend to proofread is always a good idea to get a fresh set of eyes and a new perspective.
When you're finally done proofreading your page, read over the Spotlight Rules to see if you've missed anything in your site. Now, you just have to go submit your petpage, right? The answer is "no". First you should pick out an image that represents your site. If you like, you can enter one that you've seen on the site, but if you're feeling extra enthusiastic, you can draw one or make one yourself!
Now you're finally free to submit your site to the Site Spotlight, and if you've followed the rules, been creative, and proofread your site, in just a bit you will have achieved a great petpage that pleases everyone, a brilliant trophy for your lookup, and recognition for what you worked so hard for! Good luck achieving your Site Spotlight dreams, and I hope my guide has helped you understand the art of site-making!