Beginners Web Site

In addition to this site now hosted by http://www.fasthosts.co.uk/ I have over the years run other small sites for fellow members of Hastings Electronics and Radio Club. My site also contains pages of daily amusing contributions at http://www.sigord.co.uk/News.htm. Perhaps the younger Internet Enthusiasts will bear with me if my site does not embody all the latest gimmickry of more sophisticated sites. Nevertheless for those contemplating building a Site for the first time, for what it is worth, here are few tips.

Do not be deterred into thinking of creating web pages for your own site or for another site. It is not all very complicated providing you keep it fairly simple at least at first. Remember the important element in creating a site is in the content, not the gimmickry trying to impress visitors. If you are capable of creating a DOC file using Word especially including say photos, then you must be capable of producing a web page, since you can see all you need to do is ensure you save the result as a HTM or HTML Web page. Note how the more elaborate and complicated sites involving a great deal of Graphic, sounds, Java and Applets etc, can take a great deal longer to load than the simpler sites, perhaps containing say only text. This especially applies if a visitor is using a slow broadband or slow dialup connection. In some cases a visitor might have to abandon downloading your site, because of the time taken to display. First decide what it you want to tell the big wide Internet world; if you cannot think of anything, do not bother to produce a web site. There is enough rubbish on the Internet already without cluttering it up with more! For a few ideas, if you are really at a loss, and you have a family and children, and friends etc using the Internet, then just put a number of photos up for them to view/download, along with news items. If you have a hobby, pass on your hints and ideas for others to see, as I have done here. There is nice Free software for creating web pages etc at http://kompozer.net/, but you need to go online to use the Help notes each time.

Before rushing into buying Web space along with probably buying a personal Domain Name, or setting up free space from a site or such as allocated to you by your server, try creating a web page or two on your PC. This especially applies to the opening page, which should always saved as an index.htm with links to other pages etc, to ensure the server hosting your pages etc allows visitors to log onto it as your Homepage. You do not need to learn the HTML Code, there is plenty of software available enabling you to create pages, such as Microsoft Office containing Word or Front Page. The problem is that some of these programs are not WYSIWYG - what you see on the screen is not necessarily what will appear on the web such as with Word. Many do give you the option of feeding the page into your default browser to see the true layout. Otherwise you will need to open each completed page with your browser and any links to see how they display by just clicking on your HTM or HTML file. Some like FrontPage also allows FTP uploading of your efforts onto your web space. Download some of my HTML Freeware at http://www.sigord.co.uk/Submits/Software.htm to quickly create simple pages of photos, music or any other files for downloading. I prefer to use a Freeware FTP manager like FileZilla to upload to this site. It can clearly show the directory where you should be storing your web pages on the hard drive on the left, and the files on the web site on the right once you log onto your site. By just highlight files / folders you can up or download them such as by using the arrows.

Study how the professional designers create sites, though you do not have to abide by their popular trends of course. For example you will notice in designing my sites I try to take account of visitors like me with poor eyesight. So I avoid using print on dark backgrounds and print smaller than 10 TPI. Likewise I try to avoid presenting too much information on one page or a box, and the need to keep scrolling down. In viewing other sites and the contributions on my site, you will see you can insert Graphics, Sounds, Animations, Videos, presentations etc, and also install links to additional pages, other web sites, email addresses etc. Also you can allow visitors to your Site to download any kind of file onto their hard disk as a ZIP file. Take care to check all links work on your hard drive before you upload to the site, and check again online after uploading. Something we all find annoying is a website displaying the message 'UNDER CONSTRUCTION', if it is being amended. You should have unlimited time to reconstruct a site while offline, by testing the exact backup you should always keep on your Hard Drive. Beware the Internet is not as lawless as some would believe. You can be prosecuted or sued for what you print, and for using such things as Videos, Photos and MP3 Music subject to copyright without permission. There seems to be no copyright restriction on using any of the thousands of MID music files available. You are also strongly advised to install and run reliable up to date fully paid up anti virus and spyware software, and run scans regularly, and quote the fact you do this on your site.

When you have finished building your Web site at least for the time being, you will of course need to find someone willing to provide you with Web Space. Some servers allow Free Space, so long as you are a subscriber, likewise some sites, but they may insist on dumping such as their banner adverts on one or more of your pages. You can also buy space and a personal Domain Name such as from Streamlinenet. Be very careful NOT to choose a descriptive name that someone else might wish to use when the day comes you no longer own the name, especially if they find your site is receiving numerous visitors. Remember you would need to pay for the Domain Name forever to prevent someone else using it, even so others can buy the same name with a different extension such as ORG, CO, COM, NET etc. Many web site hosts provide help in getting your site mentioned on the popular search engines such as Google and Yahoo, but you often need to pay handsomely if you want it to be given high priority on their listing, if others have a similar name. So try to give your site a very individual title, and remember the title and a meta tab description is more important to a search engine, than the name of the site. You can insert META TAB codes at the beginning of the HTML code of your Home page for this purpose, if you create your own code.

Ideally it is best to learn to learn create at least some simple HTML code just by using Notepad, and be sure you save it a .htm file. Then by clicking on it, it will display in your Browser for testing. Your code will be far simpler that that produced my MS Word or FrontPage etc You can download free web page software from http://notepad-plus-plus.org/. Then once you save each change this allows you to test it with any of the browsers. It is advisable and safe to install several Browsers apart from Internet Explorer, such as Chrome and Firefox, for testing web pages. But be sure to select the right one as your preferred default browser. You can learn correct HTML and other coding from http://w3schools.com/html/default.asp and also get your code checked. Also any broken links on you site can be found using http://www.brokenlinkcheck.com/ There are Freeware packages of mine to simplify creating web pages at http://www.sigord.co.uk/Submits/Software.htm such as the HTMLCoder, HTMLfiles and HTMLtunes.

Good Luck. Gordon

HOMEPAGE    Comments and suggestions always welcome gordonsweet2000@yahoo.co.uk