By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

A website is a collection of related pages linked to one another, preferably in an organized manner. With the proper planning and a goal in sight, you can easily accomplish the task of creating an outstanding website.

A website starts with a main page (or its home page), the central link to other pages in the site. The main page is also the page viewers see first when they type your URL in a browser. The main page is typically named index.html but may also be index.htm or even default.htm. Check with your service provider to find the correct name.

The structure of a web site.

The structure of a web site.

Pages are linked by hyperlinks, or references that take viewers from one point in an HTML document to another or from one document to another.

You should understand the following terms when you forge through the steps to create a website:

  • FTP (File Transfer Protocol): Allows a user on one computer to transfer files to and from another computer over a TCP/IP network. FTP is also the client program the user executes to transfer files. You can use FTP to transfer web pages, images, and other types of files to a host web server when you publish your site.

  • HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol): The client-server TCP/IP protocol used on the Internet for the exchange of HTML documents.

  • TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol): Underlying protocols that make possible communication between computers on the Internet. TCP/IP ensures that information being exchanged goes to the right place, in a form that can be used, and arrives there intact.

  • URL (Universal Resource Locator): A standard for specifying the location of an object, such as a file, on the Internet. You type the URL, such as, into a web browser to visit a web page. A URL is also used in an HTML document (a web page) to specify the target of a link, which is often another web page.

Plan your site: How websites are organized is important. Typically, the purpose of a website is to sell something — a product, a service, or a thought, such as “Vote for me!” Without sound organization, a website may fail to sell to its visitors. You’ll save an extraordinary amount of time if you just think ahead and plan your site’s organization.

Think about the topics you want to cover and then organize your site as you would a high school essay project, by planning the topic sentence, subtopics, and other elements. This plan can be a tremendous aid when you start mapping pages to be linked to others.