HELP FOR DESIGNING YOUR WEB SITE
The Next Step: Web Site Design
Planning Your web site
Perhaps it goes without saying, but the very first step in creating your web site is planning it. This is especially important for a business site, but almost equally so for a personal one. Define the purpose of your web site, your target audience, , what information you'll want to include, how it will be presented, and so forth. By defining the purpose first, the other aspects will fall into place. Having a purpose will help you set both short and long term goals, define your target audience, and the content of your web site. This will also help you track your web site's progress and help you with expansion of your web site.
Once your plans are in place as described above, you are ready to begin designing your web site. Take a look around the World Wide Web at other web sites to get some ideas as far as layout and design. There are many sources for web site design. Some offer free help and web site templates, others will design your web site for set fees. Start first with your web hosting service, as more than likely they will offer design help. They may even offer templates that will get your started. Following are just a few web sites that offer free and inexpensive templates and other design help:
- Wetpaint has a very basic template for you to try out. Especially for those very new to web authoring and who are designing a personal web site.
- freeweb sitetemplates.com offers hundreds of free web site templates which you can download from their web site.
- CityMax has everything you need to build your business web site for less than $20, including templates and design software.
Web Site Design Software and Helpful Sites
There are also a number of software titles and online sites to help you build your own web site. You can buy your own software or use the software available through design web sites. Here are just a few of them:
- SiteSpinner is available for about $49, and will assist you in building your own web site easily, even if you don't know the HTML coding.
- Microsoft Frontpage has a version which comes with your computer operating system. Simple to use, just like using Microsoft Word, but capable of generating attractive though simple, web sites. The program generates the HTML codes so you don't have to.
- CityMax offers web authoring tools, lessons and support for building your web site.
- BuildYourSite.com will help you with domain name registering, editor software and more.
You will probably want people to find your web site, especially if it's a business site. Search Engines are the way to get your site noticed, and visited. There are submission sites, called SEO's (Searh Engine Optimizers) which cost anywhere from about $30 on up to $100 or more, which will submit your web site to search engines. If yours is only a personal site, you probably won't want to spend this much money to get noticed. But if you're a business and want to attract new customers, consider using one of these services. There are also some free submission sites, such as HitCounterDownload, which will submit your site to 20 or more search engines, including Google. All they ask is that you carry a link from your web site back to theirs, and they even supply the code. You can submit your web site directly to Google for no cost. Other sites will let you have a free trial.
See our separate article on search engines for more information on how they work.
Building a web site of your own isn't rocket science. Even if you currently know nothing about the HTML coding, by the time you have uploaded your web site, you'll have a better grasp on what it takes to build a web site. There are plenty of places to go for help and instructions. It won't be long before you have the basics down, and can design these sites even more quickly and efficiently, whether you use your own personal software or a design site. Good luck!
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