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Old 12-15-2009, 09:04 AM   #1
John Bridge
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Web Site Development -- a How-to for Beginners

I promised to start this thread in hopes that people just beginning to learn about web sites might come here and benefit from advice from the several web site geeks we have aboard. I know there have been other web site threads, but none that cover the process from the beginning.

I know there is easy-to-use free-ware or share-ware out there. Maybe we can help folks with some of that.

I'm going to give a brief layman's version of how web sites work, and then I probably won't say a lot more.

Web sites are documents that are written in one or more special "codes" or "scripts." The documents are loaded onto "servers," special computers that are direct-wired into the Internet. You will usually have to pay a "web host" a modest monthly fee for the service. JohnBridge.com, among other things, is a web host. We provide free server space for the web sites of our moderators.

You "browser," be it Internet Explorer, Firefox or one of several others, reads the web document and decodes it for you. What you see on your screen is what the browser is interpreting for you. Different browsers might do it a little differently, which is why you get a slightly different version of the same web page from Internet Explorer and, say, Firefox. To see the actual code the browser is reading you can go to the "view" menu at the top left of your screen and select "page source" or "source" from that drop-down menu. what you will see is exactly what the browser sees and what search engine robots see. I'm sure we'll get into that further as we go along.

You already know the value of a web site, or you wouldn't be here, but I'll mention it just briefly: A web site makes you more visible to your prospective customers, the folks you want to reach. How your site is listed on the various search engines determines your level of visibility, so the little search robots I mentioned above become more and more important. You'll want your site to be easily read by the "bots." (See: http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/...ad.php?t=79822 )

I'll leave it at that for the time being. Please ask your questions no matter how basic they might seem. This will be the place where we start from the beginning and go on from there.
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Old 12-15-2009, 03:45 PM   #2
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There are several ways to build a website, using a WYSIWYG editor, a site builder, or coding by hand. Of these three options, any professional designer will tell you that hand coding a site is the cleanest, cheapest, and really not that hard to learn the basics.

Here are a couple of references to help you get started with HTML markup and CSS (style sheets):

1) Full Web Building Tutorials - this is probably one of the best tutorial/reference sites.

2) HTML Tutorial - Table of contents

3) CSS Tutorial - Table of contents
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Old 12-20-2009, 09:57 AM   #3
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Looks like this thread is really going to grow legs, Dave.
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Old 12-20-2009, 11:01 AM   #4
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Yeah, we better be careful or it's gonna cause a stampede!
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Old 12-20-2009, 11:23 AM   #5
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I suspect this is a thread that will get a lot of lurking but not much comment. I, for one, will be glad it's here when I finally start my website.

'Course it might be a much older thread by then, but...............
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Old 12-20-2009, 05:09 PM   #6
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Here's a link to, and a description of a very good "try it before you get it" site, featuring a good list of the best open source software.

opensourceCMS.com was created to give you the opportunity to "try out" some of the best free and open source software systems in the world. Each system listed here provides for a user demo so you can make an informed decision regarding which system best suits your needs without having to go through the tedious process of installing multiple systems only to find they don't do what you require.

In the past, opensourceCMS.com has been limited to only php/mysql projects. Shortly we will also provide for ASP, .NET, Ruby, Python, Perl, and other programming languages.
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Old 12-20-2009, 10:16 PM   #7
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You're a beginner, new to web pages and HTML, you've got some spare time or you're stuck inside because it's raining or snowing. Short, easy lessons are your thing:

Beginner's Web Site Creating Guide

The next step (longer lesson)
The Basics of Hyper Text Markup Language - HTML
.
.
.
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Old 01-08-2010, 03:27 AM   #8
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Creating web pages using only a text editor scares you, the learning curve seems too steep, you like to "see" what you're doing. WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors could be the best option.

This list is from last year, but is still very valid. You'll find some fine free or open source software listed, perfect for those on a tight budget without sacrificing functionality.

25 Useful WYSIWYG Editors Reviewed
.
.
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Old 01-09-2010, 09:05 PM   #9
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You need advice to find a place to host your new web site

There are 100's of web hosting companies to choose from - how do you select one that's right for you? Where can you find reliable information to help you select? All hosting companies are NOT equal, many are not what they claim to be. To help you make an informed decision, I've listed some links to:

1) A site with a short video that explains why NOT all web hosting review sites can be trusted.

2) Two honest web hosting review sites that depend on actual customer reviews to rate web hosting companies.
a) WHReviews - reliable web host shopping guide. Take the time to read the explanation, lengthy but informative.

b) Web Hosting Reviews.com- thousands of web hosting reviews written by users for users.
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:25 PM   #10
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Any person developing a web site can benefit from having a web server installed on their own computer. The locally installed server can act as a convenient way to do all your design, development and other sand-box work before uploading to your actual host.

"If you would like to build your own website, you can do it on your own computer without putting it online. This can be useful for a number of reasons:

1. You donít have your own web hosting but you want the experience of complete access.
2. You want to test a website before you put it online.
3. You want to start a website that helps you organize your life, for example, but you donít always have access to the internet."


Here are two of the more popular server packages:

XAMPP from Apache Friends for both Linux and Windows (my personal favorite)

WampServer - Windows only
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:30 PM   #11
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XAMPP is great to have. I like the portable version at portableapps.com

Actually, quite a few nice programs at that site and they all run from a USB drive without needing to be installed per se.
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:58 PM   #12
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Hey! I'd forgotten about portableapps.com
Browsed thru the software - seems like it's all for Windows. I did see gVim, a port of the Linux VIM text editor , sweet! Bit of a learning curve, but VIM (and Geany) on my Linux workstation are all I use to create web sites. GIMP and Inkscape for graphics.
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Last edited by oakview; 01-12-2010 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 01-12-2010, 05:39 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oakview
seems like it's all fow Windows
Yea, I figured if someone was using Linux they would already know enough to get their own apps.

Lots of stuff out there, open source and cross-platform. Makes life easier when shifting between systems. I use XP Pro and Ubuntu. I like them both but tend to be on XP more because that is what I use all day at work.
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Old 02-08-2010, 08:18 PM   #14
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Back on track... some invaluable advice.

USA TODAY's Jefferson Graham interviews Google engineer Matt Cutts on how to get your site to the top of Google search results with 5 basic, common sense SEO tips. Matt Cutts guests on the USA TODAY Talking Tech...

Google's Matt Cutts | How to Get Better Visibility on Google
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Old 02-08-2010, 08:37 PM   #15
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Duplicate content hurts your site page ranking and search results listing. Great video from Google's Matt Cutts explaining how to avoid duplicate content, and the use of the canonical link meta tag.

Canonical Link Element
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