1. Setting Up. Whether you are designing your own site or gathering information for a designer/developer it is a good idea to set up a special folder for your website. Within that folder have folders labeled “working files" (for the content and any images and graphics that you are creating), “images" (where you will place the finished graphics and images), and other special folders. I find that if I keep everything well organized, adding, expanding and moving the site becomes much easier.
2. Pick an authoring program. If you are designing your own site, you may use HTML (straightforward coding that is easy to learn, but has design limitations) or you may decide to use a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) program. Examples are:
- Microsoft’s Front Page - easy to learn if you are already familiar with Microsoft’s Office and has some nice features. Just don’t fall into the trap of using their templates (my opinion is that they are all over the Internet and yell “amateur").
- Adobe’s GoLive - I haven’t personally used this program, but would suggest it if you are already using other Adobe programs. The newest version has some powerful and useful features.
- Macromedia’s Dreamweaver - my authoring program of choice. It is not cheap, and has so many capabilities it takes time to learn. However, if you work through the tutorials, you will be able to get a basic, well-designed website up without trouble. You can always learn the bells and whistles in time.
3. Gather and create content. Again, whoever is doing the designing needs worthwhile content (the two major considerations for the success of a website are usability and content).
- Copy - should be clear, concise, worthwhile reading and not loaded with hype. I know that you will find people on the Internet who tell you they are making millions and their sales pitches go on and on. I hope when you were planning, your goal wasn’t to make “millions. " Well written articles are tops with the majority of people you and I want to attract, and can always be incorporated into special reports and/or e-books in the future.
- Graphics - banners, buttons, clip art and/or photographs should be chosen for your target audience and with download time in mind. Large, high-resolution photographs will slow the download time, and if your target visitors don’t have high speed connections, they won’t wait.
- Suggested graphics programs (what I use) are Macromedia Fireworks and Jasc Paint Shop Pro 9. Both are excellent and have a huge number of capabilities. If you are using Dreamweaver, it works hand-in-hand with Fireworks.
Chris King is a professional website creator / designer, storyteller, writer, free agent, and fitness instructor. You will find her business website at http://www.creativekeys.biz where you can sign up for her monthly Internet Tips E-zine. In addition visit Chris’ information website at http://www.creativekeys.net and her blog at http://www.curiositycubed.blogspot.com