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Website of Your Own

We're just starting to put together some great resources for helping you design you very own website. Meanwhile you can read the following article to get you  started. It has some resources listed with it. You'll also want to visit the WebMonkey for Kids. 

Building Your Own Website

Clay Hougland

Almost every internet account comes with free webspace for placing your own pages on the web. There are also a number of directories now offering free webspace. Youíve got the space. Now all you need is a little know how to create your own website. Iíve put together some of the best resources for making website creation as easy as possible.

Youíll want to start with an html editor. Now donít panic. You donít need to know html to use a good editor. Even some free editors are now WYSIWYG, What You See Is What You Get. Itís almost like working in a word processor except that the formatting is a little different. The top two picks are America On Lineís AOL Press and 1st Page 2000 by Evrsoft. AOL Press is available at http://www.aolpress.com/. The AOL Press site has a clip art gallery and full documentation for the program. AOL Press allows you to upload directly to your website location. You donít need to worry with learning to ftp. If you are an America Online Member, you will find extensive help for AOL Press at Keyword AOL PRESS. Within the AOL Press program is a tutorial which I recommend you take before starting out if you are completely new to html editing.

1st Page 2000 is available at http://www.evrsoft.com/. 1st Page 2000 has many little extras like the Java Script Rollover Image Wizard which takes you step by step through creating your own rollover images. This program does so much more than just basic html editing that you will be using it for years to come. It has three modes to work in from easy to hardcore, so you can gradually build your way to creating extremely complex websites. Starting in easy mode you have access to many resources to help learn to use 1st Page and learn more about html. I like the fact that by selecting the edit tab you see the html tags as you work on your pages. Even using a sophisticated editor like FrontPage 2000, I find myself going in and tweaking the actual html code. By seeing the code regularly without having to create it yourself, you will soon come to know what each tag does. To see your work in progress switch to the preview tab. This is not quite true WYWSIWYG, but considering all the things this program allows you to do, thatís really no big deal.

Youíll want to allow yourself plenty of time to play with both of these programs before deciding which one will work best for you. They are both commercial grade, and yet absolutely free. Turn your kids lose with one of these programs and youíll soon have more than enough website pages to populate your small plot in cyber space.

More places to get information and assistance:

Web Developerís Virtual Library Beginners Page http://wdvl.internet.com/WebRef/Help/Begin.html 
HTML Writers Guild http://www.hwg.org/ For those that want to learn a little more than just the basics.
Web Site 101 http://www.dspinner.com/website101/index.html Information about establishing a site for your small business. What to include, what not to include and how to promote your site.

There are also many sites online that offer free web graphics. One of my favorites is a site that offers background sets, buttons and other web graphics, Windyís Free Image Gallery.

Free Graphic Sites

Windyís Free Image Gallery http://www.windyweb.com/design/gallery.htm  My favorite.
Web Clip Art at About.Com http://webclipart.about.com/internet/webclipart/ 
AC Gallery Productions http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Exhibit/5905/acgallindex.html 
Go2Netís Graphics Listings http://www.go2net.com/directory/Computers/Graphics/Web_Graphics/ 

Tips to Remember:

Always keep a backup of your website files on your home computer.
Donít use backgrounds or colors that obscure the text on your page.
People will leave your site unread if itís done in colors that hurt their eyes.
Be unique, be useful, and remember there are lots of personal sites that just link to other sites that actually have content on them.
Donít steal other peoples work. That includes their graphics, their writing, or anything else unique to their site. Unless it says it is free, it is copyright protected even without the copyright symbol.
If you are planning to use a free graphic, copy it to your own page. Donít link to the graphic on someone elseís web server. You slow their machine down.
When creating links to other sites check to see if they have any guidelines.
Donít link to another site in such a way that it appears to be your own work.
If you want to format your layout a little more, try using tables to place your graphics. More sophisticated editors use other means, but they also cost.
Break your site into several smaller pages rather than one long page. This makes loading faster and, with appropriate links, makes navigating your site easier.
Keep graphic image files small.
Donít use too many animated images or other tricks. They make your site so busy that it gives some folks headaches.
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