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:
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.
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.
Create a task list.
Set a timeline.
Goals always help you keep going on a project.
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.
Determine how to handle maintenance and updates.
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
Joomla, more than just a blogging solution, Joomla is an open-source content management system (CMS), Joomla.org
Movable Type, www.movabletype.com
Domain registration and hosting services
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
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
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/
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
Yahoo! Web Analytics, http://web.analytics.yahoo.com
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
Cross Browser Testing, www.crossbrowsertesting.com
Xenocode Browser Sandbox, www.xenocode.com/Browsers
Where to learn more about Web design