Published on: Sunday 21st June 1998 By: Gary Ransom
When I first started work on this series of articles, I intended to cover all aspects of Home Page creation, design and publicity myself. However, part way through writing a page that described the basics of HTML (the text based language that browsers interpret to display a page), I found a site which covered it all far better than I could ever hope to. That site is produced by Joe Barta and a link to it can be found on my Home Page Guides page. I strongly recommend that you rely on Joe to teach you all the basics of HTML. He makes it very easy.
Good though Joe's site is, it doesn't cover everything that a beginner needs to create and publish a Home Page - and get it visited! This site covers everything that I needed to know to be able to create, publish and publicise this Home Page and should be enough to get most people up and running.
As you are able to read this, you must have all the hardware and some of the software that you will need to create your Home Page. All that's missing is a bit more software, some web space, a bit of knowledge and some imagination.
Let's start with the easy bit - the software :
To generate the HTML code, all you have to use is a simple text editor such as Notepad, which is probably already on your PC. There are better alternatives, which range from simple programs that convert an ordinary text file to HTML, to very fancy WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) web page design programs.
Once you have created your Home Page, you will also need some additional software called FTP software to upload your Home Page from your PC to the host server (your Internet Provider). Not absolutely vital but very handy are other programs which will check your HTML code for accuracy and ensure that all your links work.
You are probably reading this on screen with a browser from Netscape or Microsoft. All browsers do much the same basic job but in very different ways. Newer versions of any browser offer new features and can take advantage of improvements to HTML. However even the latest Netscape and Microsoft browsers won't always display a page in the same way.
Does it matter? Well it does if you want to be sure that everyone sees your page just the way you created it. Don't make it your number one priority, but at a later stage you may want to have a copy of both Netscape and Microsoft's current browsers and possibly an older version of each as well - so that you can check your page with a range of browsers!
Web space? Many Internet Service Providers give "free" web space as part of the package. If your ISP doesn't, don't despair - believe it or not, there are several companies that will give you free web space, possibly in return for a bit of data about you, (yes, you may end up with a bit of junk e-mail, but that doesn't seem such a bad swap), or for the right to post banner adverts on your pages. I don't have personal experience of any of these companies yet, but you might try Geo Cities, Tripod, or Xoom. Incidentally, if you just want to publish a Home Page now and worry about how it looks and works later, these sites also offer a simple (simple to use but very basic result) Home Page Builder. Or you could try the simple one on the Instant Page article.
Though you'll get a great sense of achievement just getting your Home Page loaded onto a server, there's not much point if no one else gets to see it. And if they do, it would be nice to think that your visitors found it useful, attractive and worthwhile. Have a look at the Finishing Touches article for tips on how to make your Home Page look good and easy to navigate.
Once you've published your Home Page you'll want to make sure that as many people as possible find it. You will find advice and tips on the Publicise your Home Page article.
Well, that's a quick run through of what you might need to get and what you will need to do. I've intentionally not designed these articles to be viewed in any particular order. Wander round as it takes your fancy. Every article has links to every other article.
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