A web page is a text file, usually written in HTML [what's html?], then sent from your computer to your web address, generally via FTP (file transfer protocol). There are basically two choices when it comes to creating your web page:
Hand coding and using page publication programs each have pros and cons. Only the designer (that's you!) can decide which way is best for her or his website.
Once you've created your page(s), you need to send them via FTP (see our related articles) to our server, where people can view them. Remember that the first page people are to see when they visit your site must be called index.html --- if it's called something else, then instead of your default site, visitors will see a list of files.
- WYSIWYG environments will help you create nice-looking pages quickly, without learning HTML (the system of tags for creating web pages) or FTP (how you send your site to our servers), or CGI (programs that allow the user to interact with your site). Some popular WYSIWYG environments are: Macromedia Dreamweaver, Microsoft FrontPage, Microsoft Publisher, Adobe Pagemill, and Adobe Go Live!. You can even use plain old Microsoft Word (98 or above) --- just save your file with the extension .html, instead of .doc.
On the down side, not knowing how these things work will make it more difficult to troubleshoot your site when things go wrong (for instance if certain elements of your page are not compatible with all users' browsers).
- Learning to hand code HTML is fun and easy, and there are a lot of tools on the Net, at the library, and in the bookstore, to help you along your way. Chances are, you can pick up enough to make a basic site in less time than it would take to figure out how to do the same thing in an authoring tool. Another advantage of hand-coding is that you, the author, will be empowered to troubleshoot and customize your site at will. You will know exactly how it is put together, and how to change and update things as needed.
It's not for everyone, however --- some people don't have the time or drive to teach themselves HTML. It will take practice to get your page exactly as you want it. But by that time, chances are, you'll be having so much fun you won't want to stop!
If you want to see a somewhat ugly - but functional - page of HTML, use the 'View Source' function in your browser (usually underneath a 'View' menu) to see the HTML for this page. Don't worry, not all web pages need to be this complex.
Some Notes on Design
Remember that you're designing a page for people to read. Goodd desine and speling doez mattur (See what we mean?). Read up on good web style; your site's visitors will thank you for it. We recommend the book "Creating Killer Web Sites", by Dave Siegel. It will show you what works and what doesn't when targeting the web community. You can visit the companion web site here:
The rule to follow is that experimentation leads to knowledge.
Here are some good resources for you to use in learning the basics of web design.
Last updated: Apr 05, 2004.