Building your own website is clearly the least expensive route to establishing your business online, and it isnít really all that difficult to do. There are three steps to building your site:
Purchase a ďWhat You See Is What You GetĒ (WYSIWYG) HTML editor such as Adobe GoLive, Macromedia Dreamweaver or Microsoft FrontPage.
Create the web pages using your editing program
FTP the files to your web-server.
The top HTML editors for beginners are:
Adobe GoLive ($399.99 on Amazon)
Macromedia Dreamweaver ($389 on Amazon)
Microsoft FrontPage ($170.99 on Amazon)
All of these editing programs allow beginners to develop web pages using templates and WYSIWYG ease similar to programs like Microsoft Word or PowerPoint. You simply create or select a pre-made template for your website, type your content into the page on your screen, and hit the save button. All three of these programs ship with instructions that are designed to help even the most novice web user to create a relatively professional looking website.
The only thing you need to take into consideration is to make sure that if you are using Microsoft FrontPage, that you go with a web-hosting company that supports FrontPage extensions. Most do, so you probably wonít have a problem finding one.
Create Web Pages
Exactly how you create your site will depend on the specific editor you use, however the process of all editors is remarkably similar.
Select or create a template for your site. If you have graphic design skills, you may choose to create something from scratch. Most beginners just use one of the many pre-developed templates that come with their editing program. You can also purchase templates from third party vendors.
Create the pages for your site and type the text directly into the pages. The content will appear on the screen similar to the way it will appear in the final website.
Insert any graphics you will use for your site. In general, you should keep these to a minimum because each graphic you put into your page increases the download time. Also, you donít want too many animated gifs or flashy stuff on the page - they make the page appear unprofessional.
Test the site as you go. All editors contain a preview capability that will let you see the page in a web browser exactly as your visitors will see it. It is also a good idea to test your pages using multiple browsers since there is some variance as to how different browsers interpret HTML code. You should design your site to work effectively with the top three browsers. The top three browsers on the internet today are:
The most important thing in building web pages is to start doing it. You may revise your site a number of times before you ever actually post it online. Thatís ok, but recognize that it does take time to build a site Ė especially your first time out. Itís part of the learning curve and necessary to making sure you have thoroughly thought out each aspect of your siteís navigation and content.
FTP Files to Your Website
If you have not yet selected a web hosting company, then you may want to read our article, "Finding A Quality (And Affordable) Web Host". This article will guide you through the process of finding a web host that satisfies your needs without costing you a fortune.
When you purchased your web hosting service, your web host gave you FTP credentials consisting of the FTP site, user name and password for your account. You will use this information to put the pages you create online.
GoLive, Dreamweaver and FrontPage all come with embedded FTP programs, so you can just enter your FTP credentials into their client and follow your programís instructions to publish your pages.
There are times, however, when you may want to FTP files to your FTP server without using your development environmentís embedded FTP functionality. Therefore itís a good idea to go ahead and set up a separate client for uploading things like images, pdfs, or other linked objects. Go online and download a free FTP program. Several free FTP clients you may choose to use:
Microsoft Explorer Ė Type the FTP location into the browser and then enter your credentials into the popup box.
Install the program and then enter your FTP information into the connection screen. Once you have successfully connected to your FTP site, posting your web site is as easy as copying the files from your home computer to your website.
Mr. Coers specializes in helping entrepreneurs build effective web businesses. His website, www.profitchoice.com contains useful articles and "how-to" guides to help organizations build their brands and sell more effectively.