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Cheat Sheet

Web Sites Do-It-Yourself For Dummies

Whether you want to create a new Web site from scratch or want to update an old design, you can do it yourself. But before you jump into your Web site design, take time to read through the quick steps for planning a Web site and keep them at your side as you lay the groundwork for a successful project. Also set aside time to optimize all the images for your Web site so they’ll be ready to drop right into your design, and you can be confident your Web site will download quickly. And for those things you can't do yourself, this Cheat Sheet features a handy list of links to popular resources.

Quick Steps for Planning a Web Site

If you’re designing a Web site yourself, you may be tempted to jump right into the design. However, scoping out what you need your site to do lays the groundwork for all the Web design work that follows. The following steps summarize the Web site planning process, because it’s an important part of creating a site:

  1. Define the goals and objectives of your Web site.

    Try to make some of your goals measurable, especially if your site is a business site. An example of a measurable goal is a number of downloads per month of a free guide you offer on your site.

  2. Create a content list.

    By creating a list, you know what content you need to gather so it’s ready before you start working on your design.

  3. Create a task list.

  4. Set a timeline.

    Goals always help you keep going on a project.

  5. Establish a budget.

    Knowing your budget up front can help you choose a host and decide what other services you can (or can’t) afford before you decide whether to include them in your design.

  6. Determine how to handle maintenance and updates.

  7. Assemble a team.

    Even if you want to design the Web site yourself, having someone proofread your text or simply look at your site and give feedback is helpful. Or you may decide you want to hire an expert to help you with a part of your site, because you don’t have the time or technical expertise required.

How to Optimize Images for Your Web Site

No matter how great the content on your Web pages, the images attract the most attention. The keys to optimizing images so they download quickly from your Web pages are

  • Cropping and resizing images to display well a computer screen

  • Choosing the best format:

    • GIF or PNG for line art and images with limited colors, like logos and cartoons

    • JPEG for photos and other images with millions of colors

Photoshop Elements includes a Save for Web feature that makes it easy to optimize any image and save it in the best format for your site.

Web Sites to Help Do-It-Yourself Web Designers

Use this handy reference to find Web sites to help you with the many aspects of Web design. Next to each Web site name is its address, which you can click to point your browser to that site.

Software for Web site design

Adobe Photoshop, www.adobe.com/photoshop

Adobe Photoshop Elements, www.adobe.com/photoshopelements

Adobe Dreamweaver, www.adobe.com/dreamweaver

Google Analytics, Google’s free traffic-tracking service, www.google.com/analytics

FireFTP, free ftp program, http://fireftp.mozdev.org

WS_FTP, professional FTP program for Windows, www.ipswitch.com

CuteFTP, free ftp program for Windows, www.cuteftp.com

Fetch, Great FTP program for Macintosh, www.fetchsoftworks.com

Blogging programs

Blogger, www.blogger.com

Joomla, more than just a blogging solution, Joomla is an open-source content management system (CMS), Joomla.org

Movable Type, www.movabletype.com

TypePad, www.typepad.com

WordPress, www.wordpress.com

Domain registration and hosting services

1&1, www.1and1.com

Domain, www.domain.com

GoDaddy, www.godaddy.com

Network Solutions, www.networksolutions.com

Rackspace Professional Web Hosting, Rackspace.com

Video and animation software and services

Flash Arcade, flash showcase www.flasharcade.com

Flash Kit, flash tools www.flashkit.com

QuickTime, www.quicktime.com

Windows Media, by Microsoft www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia

Vimeo, video hosting service, www.vimeo.com

YouTube, video social networking site, www.youtube.com

Audio and podcasting services

Audacity, free audio recording and editing program, http://audacity.sourceforge.net

Gcast, free service, www.gcast.com

iTunes, podcasting, music, movies, and more from Apple www.itunes.com

My Podcast Recorder, free download, www.MyPodcast.com

Podcast Alley, www.podcastalley.com

Podcast Network, www.thepodcastnetwork.com

Podcasting Tools, www.podcasting-tools.com

SolidCasts, free service, www.solidcasts.com

Advertising networks

Chitika, search-targeted advertising network www.chitika.com

Commission Junction, affiliate advertising, www.CommissionJunction.com

Google AdSense, www.google.com/adsense

LinkShare Affiliate Advertising, www.linkshare.com

Amazon Associates, affiliate ads and product links, https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/

Ecommerce Services

Google Checkout, offers simple ‘buy now’ buttons and shopping cart, www.google.com/sell

PayPal, International payment service with buy now buttons and shopping cart integration, www.paypal.com

Yahoo! Merchant Solutions, one of the largest providers of ecommerce on the Web, store.yahoo.com

Sell on Amazon, offers a range of ecommerce services, www.amazonservices.com/content/sell-on-amazon.htm

PayLoadz, specialized ecommerce service for selling digital goods, such as videos and ebooks, www.payloadz.com

ProStores, eBay’s ecommerce service, www.prostores.com

Traffic Reporting Services

Google Analytics, the most popular traffic tracking service and it’s free www.google.com/analytics

Clicky, www.getclicky.com

Yahoo! Web Analytics, http://web.analytics.yahoo.com

AWStats, http://awstats.sourceforge.net

Piwik, www.piwik.org

Web Browsers

Microsoft Internet Explorer, www.microsoft.com/ie

Mozilla Firefox, www.firefox.com

Apple Safari (Mac only), www.apple.com/safari

Google Chrome, www.google.com/chrome

Browser Archive, http://browsers.evolt.org/

Web Browser Online Testing Services

Adobe Browser Labs, https://browserlab.adobe.com

Browsershots, www.browsershots.org

Cross Browser Testing, www.crossbrowsertesting.com

Xenocode Browser Sandbox, www.xenocode.com/Browsers

Where to learn more about Web design

DigitalFamily.com, www.digitalfamily.com

JCWarner.com, www.jcwarner.com

ArtesianMedia.com, www.artesianmedia.com

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