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To Build or Not To Build
by Bob Newman -- July 7, 2004
If you are contemplating putting together a website, consider the following...

How do you want to accomplish this task? Do you want to take the easy way? If you want to use someone else’s free downloaded design then be assured that others will also have the same design.

If you do not want to take the time to do the job right then don’t do it. The internet is loaded with mediocre, boring web sites which serve really no purpose save having the author tell friends that he or she has a website.
 

Bob Newman

Do you want to pay for a web site domain (your own web site name) or are you looking for a less expensive alternative? Free web servers offer canned web designs. You don’t have to learn html or any type of coding techniques. Just type and away you go. If you surf around for the really good sites, such as the ones offering awards as part of their service, you will see some wonderful designs. These are not borrowed from someone else. They are fresh and clean and free of errors. Make no mistake, the web masters have spent countless hours on their individual masterpieces and they reflect themselves.

A good web site will take as much time as you care to give it. A good one can take hundreds of hours and will constantly change and be updated to keep the interest.

Do you think you are just too old for this sort of thing? I started learning html and JavaScript at age 63 and have a site which I am proud to say has been given awards at the 5.0 level. Yes it takes lots of time but it is worth it. Here’s what I did, for example, and it worked for me.

Step one: decide what you want your site’s purpose to be. If it’s Popsicles then great. Let’s pretend it is for a moment. Go to a free web server. Sign up for a web page. Type something, save it on your web page, then look at it. Next, right click on the page and go to ‘view source’. Here you will find the actual code which makes the page look like it does.

Step two-cut and paste. Most people have WORD or something like it. Open WORD to a blank page. Highlight your web page coding and click ‘copy’. Go to your blank word page and click ‘paste’. Now you have the code where you can work with it. Most free web servers have an option which allows you to design your own page using you own code. Take this option and create a blank page. Now take the code from your word processing page and ‘copy’ and ‘paste’ it to the new web page. Here is where the learning starts.

Step three: Learn the coding. Take a line of the coding and change it; move it, etc. then save your page and see what happened to way the page looks. Use the internet. It is an almost inexhaustible resource of great information. You can get html pointers and advanced coding techniques. You can also get javascript coding and flash coding. You will learn about META TAGS, ALT tags, titles, body, fonts, colors, tables, columns, counters and more. You can find buttons and glitzy junk.

Step four: look at the good sites. See how they use graphics, colors, flash, etc. Learn from others. Email some people from the contact link on their sites and ask questions. Most people I know will try if they have time to give you some answers.

Step five: don’t give up. Keep working; changing; designing, etc. Give it lots of time. It took me a year of work before I went on-line with my site. Maybe I’m a slow learner. A work of art is not made in a day. Admittedly, being retired, I do have the time. I work on the site daily. I am not satisfied easily and try new things all the time. Even though you can use the ’view source’ to examine many other sites, DO NOT COPY someone else’s coding WITHOUT expressed PERMISSION. When you spend the time to learn what you need to have you would not want someone else to steal it. There are strict copyright laws!

Step six: the big day. Okay, your web site about Popsicles is ready for the world to see. You’ve done the coding; gotten you pictures of Popsicles ready; reviewed the spelling and made sure everything works as it should. How do you get it noticed? You need to submit your web site to search engines such as google, yahoo, and hundreds of others. How? Sear the web for search engines. Many submit to the top engines for free. Others will charge for their service but will submit your site to thousands of search engines around the world. When a friend uses lets say Google and types in POPSICLE, the search engine looks for META TAGS which have the word Popsicle. These web sites are then displayed on the monitor.

The key is to work and learn; the result can be beyond your expectations.

Bob Newman
Copyright 2004
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