Make Your Own Home Page
service allows you to create a very basic web page just by filling in a form,
but with a little effort you can make something much better. The
current generation Web page creators
allow you to build pages much as you would in a
The Jun 8th, 1999 Editor's Choice from PC Magazine are
MS Frontpage 2000
(authoring and site management,
link bug) and
(advanced site design,
lists lots of sites about web site creation, including
Internet Baglady and
which cover building and promoting sites. Beware inexpensive
graphic suites that include 'web page creation' as an option,
they can produce incredibly bloated HTML code (large pages, slow
downloads). There are many
free and inexpensive web editors
to choose from. Frontpage Express is a free and easy to
use site creator which comes with Internet Explorer
NoteTab is a more challenging
HTML tag-based editor which gives you more control.
1st Page 2000 is a free and highly recommended
tag-based editor with lots of extensions to make it easier to create web pages.
Web pages are written in HTML (Hyper Text Markup
Language), a collection of text and commands (called tags)
that describe how the page should look. You can
learn the basics of HTML in 10 minutes. If you don't need full control of how your
page looks, it is no longer absolutely necessary to
(MS on HTML,
MS HTML FAQ,
Builder on HTML,
Viewing the source of a site in NotePad is a
great way to learn, NotePad is also helpful for adding features
that your editor doesn't support (like Frames!) Detailed
information about HTML can be found at
Advanced HTML Reference,
World Wide Web Consortium, and the
WROX Ultimate HTML Database.
has a good collection of handy quick reference pages.
Avoid using 'Click Me',
tell the user where they are going
in the link title.
Also, if you don't want visitors to leave, links to external sites should bring up
another browser window. This allows a visitor to examine the linked site, and return to where
they left off at your site. Simply place
in the header of your web page to set the default location for links to be a new window. For
links to other pages in your site, include the
Target="_top" parameter in each link.
Aside from this case, avoid bringing up new windows as they can
irritate visitors. If you have few external links, you may find it more convenient
to switch the base target to "_top".
HTML gives a fair amount of control as to how text and graphics appear on
a page. There are numerous tags that
control text appearance,
but beware over-doing it. A common mistake is to center too much. Tables are the most common method of
controlling placement of text and images.
control of layout
can be accomplished using multiple
' ' (HTML code for a non-breaking space) or, if necessary, a
Be very careful when using
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets,
to control layout, support across browsers for
CSS is very uneven and buggy.
Even Netscape programmer's admit to the
poor implementation of CSS in Netscape 4,
so if you can get things to work in Netscape it should work in Explorer.
Full bordered tables
can improve the look of a section of text.
Without a WYSIWYG editor, you can't just type '&' to get an ampersand.
This article on
symbols, accents, and funky characters
shows how to get around this problem and includes a
can make a page look it's best, but make sure the font you choose will be present
on the visitor's system. Visit Microsoft's
TrueType core fonts for the Web and
Typography on the Web
for more information. Builder.com has some
Terrific Type Tips as well.
Best faces for the screen discusses font selection.
Tog's Serif vs. Sans serif
submits that San Serif fonts like Verdana are more readable than Serif fonts for screen viewing of web pages.
There are many ways of defining the size of text that appears on a page.
Defining text height using the default units for font size allows the visitor
to adjust the size of the text using their browser.
The drawback of using default units is that the text
different on each platform
(MAC/WIN/etc) and each browser.
Another method is to use 'pt' (points) to define text size, with this standard
the text will at least appear the same in both main browsers on the same platform.
Unfortunately viewing 'pt' defined text on the Macintosh is very difficult because
the text is made much smaller.
Tiny text is a common problem for Macintosh users when they use the Internet.
One of the best methods is to use 'px' (pixels) to define text size.
With 'px', text will look very similar across browsers as well as platforms,
but when you try to print a page the text will be impossibly small to read.
This is because the resolution (dpi) of a printer is much higher than a screen.
To get around this problem, HTML 4.0 adds a new 'media' type to a CSS include.
For example, by defining 13px text in a 'screen' media CSS file, and 10pt text
in a 'print' media CSS file, you get pages that look good on all platforms, browsers,
and when printed.
Web Monkey goes into more detail on handling the
problem and the
The following table should make this clearer.
The baseline is Explorer 4 on Windows, system fonts at 100%, browser default settings, using Verdana font:
Win Netscape Size
Legend: = Equal, < Less, << Much Less
Here is a test bed to check for yourself.
The two main
image formats on the web are
GIF and JPEG.
JPEG is best for photographs, while GIF is best for graphics, learn about them both at
Web Graphics 101.
Andy's Art Attack
is a very useful source for graphics, HTML, Java, Photoshop and Web Design tips.
To make a fast loading site,
squeeze your graphics
using programs and services such as the
Online JPEG Wizard.
A common technique for speeding up the display of photos is to use
(small, fast loading copies of pictures), which can be generated (HTML and
all) with programs like Thumbs
review) and the free Thumber.
Those interested in showy sites may be interested in 3D
Image Scene, which produces VRML web pages to show off your
small graphics for the background of your page can create an attractive effect,
but make sure that your graphic is at least 3x3 pixels.
Buttonz & Tilez
is a freeware application that creates buttons and tiles.
As a general rule,
avoid using a graphic to display text,
it can be a big waste of bandwidth.
is a freeware application that will break down an image into several parts and
with the mouse rollover effect.
can be distracting, use sparingly to draw attention to certain areas.
Get help with your graphics at the CyberCrew Forum.
language in web pages executed by your browser that can make your pages come alive.
HTML Goodies and meta-FAQ
have free Java scripts to add functionality to your pages, like
is a compiled programming language that allows you to create browser
allow tasks that require speed.
Sun's Java Language
is quite similar to other popular programming languages, like C and Pascal.
Free Java Applets can be found at
Yahoo: Java Applets,
further resources can be found at
Java Cat's Java Resource Center.
Commercial Java Applets can be found at
eXTReMe Tracking and
provide free web counters that track details
about visitors to your site (screen res, OS, etc), here are more Web Counters.
Gadgets that perform a variety of tasks can be found at
You can add free chat rooms,
site search, polls, etc with
Chat rooms may start to get less popular with the arrival of
Gooey which allows
visitors to any site share a conversation and surf the Web together.
can have a feedback form running on your site in ten minutes.
More sophisticated Web Masters may find the free
Search tools such as
can be useful for larger sites.
Finally, beware the
Cancer on the Web called Flash.
Too many bloated sites are made with Flash, and quite a few will not work
unless the visitor has the Flash plugin. Good examples of Flash can be see at
Most people connect to the Internet at a fairly slow speed.
Because of this, downloads should be made as small as possible by using
WinZip to create .zip compressed files.
ZIP files are the current file compression standard on the Internet.
is a free .zip decompression application that works on the Macintosh
as well as Windows and will decompress most major formats.
Links to file types that aren't recognized by a browser
(such as .zip) will bring up a dialog asking if the user wants
to save the file.
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