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Designing your site

Designing your site can be a very personal thing. Many people use templates to just plug in the information that they want on their site. This solution works very well for some people.
There are many good templates available, some are free, some are sold. Just type "Web Templates" of "Free Web Templates" into a search engine and you will find a long list.Here are some of my favorite new sites that are showing up on the web. There are different reasons that I picked these sites, they all look good, and are clear and easy to use. Sometimes I just like the name. I will update this page as my time permits.

First thing that you want to do is to decide on a theme. I always like to lay out the site on paper before I start.

  • About how many sections will there be?
  • Sub-sections?
  • Pages?
  • Draw in some lines for links

Start with the first page and get it to look just like you want it to look. Determine the logo, color, fonts, etc. I always advise using a "Tag Line"

I started this site by making 6 different First Pages. I sent the link to almost everyone that I knew and asked for their input. Many people wrote back.

Sometimes a client will pick a design right away, sometimes it will go through many different revisions and will end up looking nothing like it did when it started.

You can learn about website language (html) right from the source. In this HTML tutorial you will learn how to use HTML to create your own Web site. HTML is very easy to learn! You will enjoy it!

If you don't want to learn html there are many web page editors (html) available. I recommend open source software for most all applications. Many are very good quality and are free. That way you can always try it and then decide if you need a pay for program.  KompoZer (formally NVU) is the open source world's answer to Macromedia's Dreamweaver.  It's available for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux and I love the fact that it doesn't even need to be installed, just unzip the files to anywhere in your computer and just run the program from that folder.

KompoZer is a fully featured what-you-see-is-what-you-get web page editor, enabling you to create web pages without having to devote months to learning HTML. KompoZer includes an integrated FTP site manager, a style sheet editor, tabbed workspaces, and all the features you've come to expect from a fully-featured web page editor. KompoZer also features integrated support for HTML code validation, to help you make your HTML as clean and light-weight as possible. Because KompoZer is built based on the award-winning Gecko rendering engine that also powers the Firefox web browser, you get a live preview: what you see is truly what you get.

My advise is to stay away from Front Page. It's obsolete and I think it adds too much clutter to your html code. Even  Microsoft doesn't use it.

I have used a great old program called AOLPress. It is still the best program available for teaching html basics. Back in it's early days ('95-'97) AOL gave this program away. AOL has abandoned one of the best free web page editors. But you can still download it.

When laying out your site fancy bells and whistles are nice, but for an effective site, one that draws traffic.

  • Lots of content in plain text.
  • No Flash Navigation without text Links Preferably with a description of the link.
  • Easy to contact you.
  • Easy to order
  • You can make all of it look very fancy with CSS, but the search engines will gobble it up as plain text.

I strongly advise that you learn and use CSS. You can do many cool tricks with CSS. It's excellent for page layout and is much better for page loading speeds. The best part is that you can change the style of all the pages in the site at once just by changing one file.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) are a way for you to tell your pages how to behave.

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