Easy Website Building


Website building 

Website Structure:

This is not a page for pros. If you have ever built a website before and got it to work well, then you don't need this. It is strictly for beginners who haven't a clue how to build a site that functions clean and neat.

This is ONLY the beginning of web design. It is enough to get you started on a solid foundation, but you can, and SHOULD, learn new skills on top of this. The methods recommended here are not always the BEST methods by some standards, they are just the SIMPLEST ways to get a PREDICTABLE site. This is the cheapest, surest, simplest way to get a site that works predictably without annoying problems.

If you do it right, you'll outgrow the resources provided here. But they will get you started without overlooking anything that is absolutely necessary, and they'll give you a site that looks far more professional than a badly done site with different features!

You can build a website with five steps. Notice, I did not say it was “easy”. Nothing good is ever easy, but this pattern will simplify the process, save you time, and take care of many of the problems that new site builders often face. You'll avoid some common problems, and build a better site with less time and effort.

You can find step by step instructions, with pictures of how to do all these steps with NVU (which is very similar to most drag and drop HTML editor programs), at http://net2.com/nvu/download.html.

This article refers to building a static HTML site, which is the simplest type of site for a new designer to build if they want a unique and personal site that will fit a niche market.

Step 1 – Template

Create a template. As you create this template, you'll be planning your whole site, so think about how many links you need to create - it is usually MORE than you think you need! The template needs to work for your whole site. Put your logo in, “site designed by” and copyright notice at the bottom of the page, and any standard notice or disclaimer that needs to be on every page. Leave an area where you can change the content for each page (for example, this page has the entire center section where the content goes for each page). Make sure you put in a page title (behind the scenes coding – look for a Document Properties or Page Properties, or Page Editor to do this), add Description and Keyword metatags, and put Alt Tags into your logo and any other images that are on every page. Do this now, and it will work as a safeguard for you if you don't get any other optimization done. If you ALREADY have an active Google AdSense account, then you can put your AdSense code into the template, just remember not to upload pages until they are finished, and to remove the code from any pages that you are not supposed to have it on (Thank You pages, etc). If you don't have an active AdSense account yet, then make sure you think about where you want the code to go, and be sure your page layout will hold then in logical places.

You can use a pre-built template if you wish - there are some simple ones with good instructions,but remember, some programs handle HTML code differently, so it may be hard to change certain things. Pick a template that you like the LAYOUT of - that you can imagine holding the stuff you need it to hold. You can change all the colors, so don't pay attention to them. If you run into a problem trying to change the colors or font sizes, feel free to email me from any of my websites, and I'll help you personally if you need it.

Do not use an online sitebuilder - they do NOT give you the ability to optimize a site well enough to get good natural traffic, nor will they give you a template that is unique or that suits your business.

Step 2 – Links

Create a standard navigation area. You may need more than one – a common layout has a horizontal bar for your reference links and Home link – for example, Contact, Email, About, FAQ, Policies, or other information that is there for reference. Site content can go in a sidebar, and would include topics, categories, products, services, and the actual information that your site is about. You can be creative with the navigation, but you need to make it so that the visitor can find what they want in a way that is somewhat familiar to them. You don't have to use what I described, it is just an example of a way that people are familiar with, that is commonly used (because it works well). You can see on this web page that I used this type of navigation. Remember, function is more important than creativity.

After your navigation areas are built, then put the links in. You are going to make the links BEFORE you make the pages they link to! This will save you masses of time if you do it this way. Name your links with names that help the visitor know what they are about - if you use keywords in the links, and the page names, where it is reasonable to do so, that can help you some with search engine ranking.

Step 3 – Replicate

Once your template looks like a home page, save it – you must save it before you start the next step! Then choose File -> Save As, and save it with the SAME file name that you used for one of your links. For example, if you named your About Us link as about.htm, then save the page with that name. Make sure the name is exact, or the link won't work. Work your way through every single link one by one until you have pages for each of your links. Some software lets you use a template and then uses it for the whole site, so your software may not require you to do this particular step, but most low cost software does.

You may have sub-links – in other words, categories with more links coming off them. If you do, then you'll need to replicate once more, after you put more links into each category page. Then replicate that page for each of the links that goes in the same category.

Step 4 – Content

After your site is roughed out, go through page by page and start adding your content. If you have categories with more links coming off that, then each category page will need an introduction to what that category is about, and links that go to the actual information or product pages. I find that it is easiest to go through and add the text content, then come back through and pretty it up with images, unless the images are worked into the content closely like they are for an instructional page. You can create the content as you go, or you can copy and paste it from existing documents.

Put a visible page title into each page at the top of the content (you can see that on this page, in green). Select that title and make it a Heading style (look in your Help system for H1 tag to learn how to do that). This will make it bold, but is not quite the same as using the regular Bold command - H1 is better for a heading because it helps the search engines know that it is a heading.

Step 5 – Optimize

You can upload, register, and start marketing your site before you do this, but you'll want to make sure you work on this at some point. Some of it can be done as you go along, but even if you do optimize as you go, it is a good idea to go over the site page by page to double check.

1.Customize the Page Title for each page. Make it so that it describes that page specifically, and use your most important keyword in the title.

2.Customize the Description metatag for the page. It should describe the contents of that page, and should use your three most important keywords in the description.

3.Customize the keywords for that page. Use keywords, and keyphrases. Do not use keywords that do not have to do with that page!

4.Put in Alt tags for the images. Use 1 or 2 keywords in the alt tags IF APPROPRIATE. Do not load the alt tags with keywords.

5.Go through your content. Use keywords in different ways throughout the content. Make sure it is done in a natural manner. If your page does not have much text, and mostly has images, then put a page description with visible text at the bottom of the page – below the content, but above the standard notices. Make the description clear and legible. Use a size 2 font (10 point), and make it clearly readable. Do NOT make it invisible, it can hurt your site if you do!

You can also put a quick site description at the top of the page - see the top of this page for an example - in the blue box above the Content Creation Cupboard header. Keep it short, and make the words mean something. Use your MOST important keywords only, and use them naturally in a sentence that makes sense.

6.When you finish, resubmit your site to the search engines that do not regularly spider your site. Do NOT resubmit them to Google, Yahoo, or MSN, they will pick up the changes on the next pass.

When your site is finished, you'll have to market it. And that is a totally different subject, and requires just as much work as building it! Take it one step at a time, do a little marketing each day, and you'll succeed, just like you will with your site if you do it one step at a time.

Try not to get overwhelmed. Learning to build a website is hard, but the right instructions can help a lot! Keep it VERY simple, and focus on function and content the first time around. There will be time to spread your wings later on your next site. Just do a little each day, and your site will come along just fine.

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