Overview

The Site Section includes properties to define the identity of the site, including the Title and SubTitle.

Properties

Title

Use the Title property to define the title for the site. The site Title is usually displayed in the page header of all pages.

SubTitle

Use the SubTitle property to define the subtitle for the site.

Include SubTitle On All Pages

The site SubTitle is usually displayed on the main page of the site and is optional for all other pages. The Include SubTitle On All Pages checkbox controls whether the SubTitle appears on all pages, or just the main page. The default is unchecked.

HTML Format

The HTML Format pull-down menu controls whether Second Site writes HTML pages in HTML format or XHTML format. The default value is "HTML", and that setting is recommended for most users.

Background Information and Editorial

XHTML is an XML-based markup language that has the same set of element types and attributes as HTML 4. Modern browsers will accept and display web pages that are in XHTML format. There is a bit of a religious war going on between proponents of HTML and XHTML, and I don't really want to participate in that debate. I recommend the HTML format because there are some challenges associated with using XHTML, especially when the content comes from a complex source such as a genealogy database, and the benefits don't justify the extra work to overcome those challenges.

If you disagree with that point of view, please use the XHTML format. That's why I provided it: for people who really want to use XHTML.

If you want to know more about why I think the challenges outweigh the benefits, one good explanation, somewhat biased but well-written, is in a famous article called Sending XHTML as text/html Considered Harmful. I do not agree 100% with the article, and XHTML proponents will argue that there are reasons why using HTML is harmful. Again, I don't care to participate in a debate; I've made my own choice and you are free to make yours. If you are both a staunch XHTML supportor and also a Second Site user, please remember that I am an XML proponent, and that Second Site uses XML and XSLT to make the person pages, arguably the most important part of the program.

Properties for Web Services

The following Key properties are shared by any Map User Items you add to the User Items list.

Google API Key

Use the Google Maps Key property to specify the "API Key" required by the Google Maps service to unlock their API. For more information, see the Mapping Service section of the User Maps page.

Bing Maps Key

Use the Bing Maps Key property to specify the Key required by the Bing Maps service to unlock their API. For more information, see the Mapping Service section of the User Maps page.

Canonical Base URL

If you publish a site online, and the site is not private, you should enter the base URL for the site in the Canonical Base URL property. The Canonical Base URL will not directly affect the operation of the site, but will affect how some search engines index the pages of the site.

Second Site appends the filename of each page to the Canonical Base URL to form the preferred URL for the page, and inserts the preferred URL into the HTML for the page as a "canonical" URL. That URL is not visible on the page, but search engines retrieve the canonical URL when they add the page to their indexes. When the page appears in search results, Google and other search engines will use the canonical URL.

Example 1: Your site is published to "example.com"
Set Canonical Base URL to: https://www.example.com
A page filename is: search.htm
The resulting preferred URL is: https://www.example.com/search.htm
Example 2: Your site is published to "example.com/genealogy"
Set Canonical Base URL to: https://www.example.com/genealogy
A page filename is: search.htm
The resulting preferred URL is: https://www.example.com/genealogy/search.htm

In both examples above, the Canonical Base URL uses the https: protocol. If your domain does not support HTTPS, use the http: protocol.

Technical Details

The primary reason to specify a canonical URL is to instruct search engines which version of a URL is the preferred version when a single page is accessible via two (or more) URLs.

There are several reasons why a single page might be available via multiple URLs. As an example, here are several ways to see the homepage for Bezansons.com:

  • https://www.bezansons.com
  • https://www.bezansons.com/index.htm
  • http://www.bezansons.com
  • http://www.bezansons.com/index.htm
  • https://bezansons.com
  • https://bezansons.com/index.htm
  • http://bezansons.com
  • http://bezansons.com/index.htm

In the list above, the URLs are all aliases; there is a single document, but the web server recognizes multiple URLs to request it.

If the "index.htm" page for Bezansons.com specifies a canonical URL, Google (and other search engines) will consider all the URLs above as references to the same document. When other sites link to any of the URLs that lead to the document, those links will be counted towards the canonical URL, and that improves the placement of the document in search results. When the document appears in search results, Google will use the canonical URL.

Other Examples

In addition to the URL aliases shown above, there are other reasons why the same document might appear via different URLs. It is beyond the scope of this help page to describe those reasons. Using the Canonical Base URL property should be useful in most, if not all, examples where a site's content is available via different URLs. However, it is up to the user to ensure that the Canonical Base URL will actually lead to the same document.. If you publish the same content on two different servers, but you allow the two versions to get out of sync, the Canonical Base URL will not be correct and may lead to confusing search results.

On This Page

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