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Armed with the knowledge of social media, and blogs, and the importance of a web presence, what on earth do you do about your website?

Well you have a few options:

  • You can hire someone to design and code the site for you. Problem solved.
  • You can go the online template route via wordpress and the like.
  • You can go the offline template route via programs. I once knew the name of many, they've all shut down.
  • You can hand code the HTML on a text editor or bbedit. (are you nuts?)
  • You can look for some form of wysiwyg* editor that doesn't come with an adobe price tag.
  • Or you can get jiggy with Dreamweaver. If you don't get the whole set it's worth it. But there's a learning curve - and I'm still on it.

If you're willing to put the effort into learning about HTML, XML, CSS and maybe javascript you really, really should bite the bullet and get Dreamweaver.

I stuck to Drewamweaver CS6 for the longest time. Don't do it. Go for the subscription.

There are some usability rules that you should be aware of. For the latest scoop on web usability you can always check out useit.com by Jacob Nielsen. Oddly it's an ugly site for the best advice on making readable websites but I have a feeling Nielsen is being stubborn with what he considers pure design positives.

Barring that, here is what you need to know:

  • Peoples attention spans are short when it comes to webpages, write blurb that can be absorbed by your average caffeine-addled teenager.

  • Reading on a computer is different than on paper or a kindle. Text should be broken into chunks and separated by a space.

  • Text should be black on white or as close as possible.

  • Information should never be more than three clicks away (which is sometimes impossible these days, but that's the idea)

  • Skip the flash intro unless you are a car designer.

  • Skip the splash page. They're annoying.

  • Don't add music that auto-plays - ever. For any reason. I'm not kidding.

  • Mobile devices can't handle certain types of menu bars so plan accordingly. (Either via a mobile version or proper link channels)

  • Organization is important. It should be easy to navigate.

  • Back end organization is also important, scaling a site up with crap organization is a true pain in the patootie.

  • Creating your own interface template is important for the same reason.

  • Learn how folder hierarchy works and how links work before you create your system.

  • Good luck getting an internal blog. I hand-code mine, I don't recommend it.

  • Some things only work once a site is live, have a test realm.

  • If you've changed your site but your browser isn't showing it, empty your cache.

  • Simple is better.

Once you've hacked out your basic page or hired the closest teenager, you have a few choices as to where to upload to and how. Here's what you need to know about that:

You'll need a domain name. You have millions of options as to how to buy one. The only one I recommend is joker.com, because they give the best deal, are the most secure, give you the most control, and I like them.

You'll need a host server. I like he.net. They're inexpensive. They have all the best toys. And their interface is simple. That said, you need to really know what you are doing because it's a very bare bones approach. (But their tech support is awesome if you screw up)

FTP (file transfer protocol) is the way to get your site onto your host's server. Dreamweaver has a system built in. There is  world of other options. Some more difficult than others.

Viola! You have a website complete with bells, whistles, Facebook plug ins, twitter feed, maybe even comments (more power to you) and hopefully some worthwhile content because otherwise you're not going to generate much interest.

*Wysiwyg stands for "What you see is what you get" and is basically a Gui (graphical user interface) for designing webpages.

Last updated March 16th, 2018


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