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Thursday, 14 October 2010

Tools for the Novice Webmaster

You just want a website, a personal calling card for Internet consumption. You are aware you do not require the services of a professional designer or high-tech programmer, likely because what information you have to relay is simple and to the point. However, regardless of simplicity, you will want your website to look as professional as possible. It is important, therefore, to have the proper tools and know-how.

Once you have your URL reserved and your web space bought, it is time to consider the process by which you will build your front page. If you happen to be a whiz at HTML, hand-coding a site will not pose a problem, as most novice sites can be constructed with the Notepad program and an HTML reference guide. Keeping a browser open to the webpage will allow you to inspect the design for anomalies as you edit.

For the true novice who just wants a simple, portfolio website on which to hone coding skills, it may be necessary to consider the use of a few software programs to ease your way into becoming a webmaster. Here are the basic programs to own:

HTML Editor: If you do not know your paragraph breaks from your table cells, working with an HTML editing program like Dreamweaver or FrontPage can acclimate you easily to the world of website construction. A good editing program will allow you to create a page through WYSIWYG means and also show you the code that is created as you progress. Application of tables, photos, and text manipulation guide you toward attractive designs and presentations, and some programs may offer sample templates off which you can build something fancier than anticipated.

Photo Editor: Even if you want to display a few simple, personal pictures, a good image editor like Photoshop or Fireworks may be helpful. Not only can you resize and crop photographs to ideal size, but some programs allow for photo retouching and other visual effects to lend an exotic, artistic look to standard pictures. Shadow effects, button embossing styles, and text manipulation on a photo are just some of the things you can achieve.

FTP Program: Depending upon the type of web provider you employ, you may be permitted to upload files through File Transfer Protocol. It is always helpful to have an FTP program on hand to upload graphics and pages on the fly, in the event your web host offers no such functionality. When you access your website with FTP, you can upload and download everything that will appear online. This is especially handy if you decide to make advanced changes to your site, like offering PDF documents to visitors.

A quick Internet search will guide the novice webmaster to the information needed to build a website. HTML tutorials, editing freeware and documents on HTML style are plentiful on the Web. With the know-how and the right tools, anyone can become a master with his website.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer and editor. She writes for CINIVA Systems, Virginia Beach website design and for The Computer Connection, affordable computer financing for military and civilians.


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