I'll first explain about the setting of you're site, then the actual
creation and designing of the page.
To be able to set up a site requires you to find a free webpage provider, which in turn requires you to have a valid email account.
In the second section, you'll learn how to actually design and construct your site as well as how to manage file uploading.
In the last section, you'll find a list of helpful sites and resources for the serious webmaster.
(I) Setting up you're site
First of all, in order to register with a webpage provider, you need
to have a valid email account. This is especially useful due to the fact
that free webpage provider's, like mine,
give one webpage account per email address, so to be able to have multiple sites, you must have more than one email address.
This is very easy to circumvent. There are a lot of free web-email out there , but the best are those that include a forwarding service. A Forwarding service means that the email you receive at that account will automatically be forwarded to another address of your choice. This is especially useful in case you have multiple accounts, and don't want to waste time by checking each one individually. For example, let's say you have two aliases, Sektor, and Psitech, and your name is George Garden.So you set up 3 accounts at an email provider, say iname.com: Sektor@iname.com and Psitech@iname.com and Ggarden@iname.com.
Then you set up the first two accounts to be forwarded to the third account, so all you'll have to do is to check the third account (Ggarden@iname.com) to retrieve your emails.
Here's a list of my favourite email providers :
Iname A good webmail, supports forwarding.
Netaddress Also supports forwarding (In the filter section).
Their service is awfully buggy since Micro$oft took over and replaced
their Linux boxes with NT servers. (Doesn't support forwarding).
Starmail Like Iname, this is an excellent provider, and it supports forwarding.
Net Forward Yet another webmail to support forwarding
As you can see, I have only listed those webmails that support forwarding,
with the exception of Hotmail
because it is so well-known : Did you know they have 100,000 ( and that's
one hundred thousand ) new members daily !
Webpage providers :
We will only deal with the free provider's like Tripod,
because IMHO they are as fast and nearly as good as paying domain
providers.Anyway, all you basically have to do is giving your email address,
and off you go !
Most providers give you anything between 5-20 MB of free space, with an option to upgrading to a paying membership with more disk space, if you find your site is working well. Anyway, if you find a provider giving even more diskspace,don't hesitate to email me.
Because I am basically very lazy, I don't especially like duplicating
work that has already been done by others, so I'm not going to review the
different type of providers : Instead I urge to go to this superb site,
the Guide to providers of free homepages.
Look for a provider who gives over 10 MB of space, with FTP uploading,
and user CGI scripts.
First of all, you'll have to learn some basic HTML, which stands for Hyper Text Markup Language. It's basically various "tags" that are inserted in a normal text, so that Dynamic Functions, (like linking to another page) could be provided. You don't have to memorize these 800-pages about RFC guidelines to HTML, just get a general idea, to be able, if necessity aroused, to write pure HTML code.
Here we come to the actual creation of your homepage. Most sites offer some kind of online "quick homepage maker", but that's definetely not the way you want to make your homepage. IMO, you should build your homepages locally (on you Hard Disk), then upload them to your directory, using either an FTP client (like cuteFTP), or the upload function on the provider's site.
When comes the time to actually build your homepage, you can write pure HTML code, (in notepad for example), or you can get yourself a WYSIWYG editor (What You See Is What You Get). An WYSIWYG editor basically converts the text you type, to an HTML document you can upload yo your site. I stongly recommend beginners to use an WYSIWYG editor. If you have Netscape Communicator, you should have an editor called Composer, which is basically a very simple kind of WYSIWYG editor. For more advanced users, you can try using Frontpage 98, but I usually don't like to recommend Micro$oft products.
When you start creating your homepage locally, remember to leave the links as simple as possible. If you're using Composer, go to Preferences, then Publishing, and check OFF the Maintain links and Keep images on page. Try to keep your site tidy enough, using a directory for pictures, for example, and a different one for texts, etc...
You have to name the first file you create, as index.htm or index.html. This is in order to insure that your browser will recognize the URL directory you're in. That way, if you type :
Your browser will actually open the file :
Important Note : While DOS or Windows aren't case-sensitive, the
name of your files in the internet IS case sensitive. What this actually
means, is that index.htm is different
from INDEX.htm. A lot
of people ignore this simple rule, which leads them into a lot of problems
with their links.
While you are surfing, if you happen to cross a good picture, it's a good habit to copy it on your hard disk, if ever you need to use it in your homepage.
[a] First, get yourself a good FTP client. I personally use CuteFTP, but WS-FTP is also very good. You can download them at any good shareware site, see my specialized section on this topic
[b] Now, find a good WYSIWYG editor, as well as an HTML editor.
For the WYSIWYG, Frontpage 98 is good, I personally use Netscape Communicator's Composer.
The HTML editor you need must be simple to use, while also providing "preview" functions to see the page while you're writing it. IMO, get SiteAid or CoffeeCup Editor.