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,

Adobe Photoshop Elements,

Adobe Dreamweaver,

Google Analytics, Google’s free traffic-tracking service,

FireFTP, free ftp program,

WS_FTP, professional FTP program for Windows,

CuteFTP, free ftp program for Windows,

Fetch, Great FTP program for Macintosh,

Blogging programs


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

Movable Type,



Domain registration and hosting services




Network Solutions,

Rackspace Professional Web Hosting,

Video and animation software and services

Flash Arcade, flash showcase

Flash Kit, flash tools


Windows Media, by Microsoft

Vimeo, video hosting service,

YouTube, video social networking site,

Audio and podcasting services

Audacity, free audio recording and editing program,

Gcast, free service,

iTunes, podcasting, music, movies, and more from Apple

My Podcast Recorder, free download,

Podcast Alley,

Podcast Network,

Podcasting Tools,

SolidCasts, free service,

Advertising networks

Chitika, search-targeted advertising network

Commission Junction, affiliate advertising,

Google AdSense,

LinkShare Affiliate Advertising,

Amazon Associates, affiliate ads and product links,

Ecommerce Services

Google Checkout, offers simple ‘buy now’ buttons and shopping cart,

PayPal, International payment service with buy now buttons and shopping cart integration,

Yahoo! Merchant Solutions, one of the largest providers of ecommerce on the Web,

Sell on Amazon, offers a range of ecommerce services,

PayLoadz, specialized ecommerce service for selling digital goods, such as videos and ebooks,

ProStores, eBay’s ecommerce service,

Traffic Reporting Services

Google Analytics, the most popular traffic tracking service and it’s free


Yahoo! Web Analytics,



Web Browsers

Microsoft Internet Explorer,

Mozilla Firefox,

Apple Safari (Mac only),

Google Chrome,

Browser Archive,

Web Browser Online Testing Services

Adobe Browser Labs,


Cross Browser Testing,

Xenocode Browser Sandbox,

Where to learn more about Web design,,,

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