New Web Site

  carper 11:14 27 Dec 2004

Please bear with me, this is my first visit to this forum. The position is this. A friend has asked me to create a web site for him to advertise and organise bookings for a villa.
To decide whether I am capable of this could you please tell me the basics that I will need.
Where do I create the web space? What programme do I need to create the pages. Is a separate programme necessary to create a form for ccompletion for bookings? I am running Windows XP/SP2 and have office 2000 with Power Point.
If this is too much to ask maybe someone could point me to a good beginners book on the subject.
Thanks in anticipation. Carper

  Forum Editor 11:45 27 Dec 2004

How computer literate are you carper?

Provided you have a reasonable grasp of how to use a computer you'll be capable of designing and publishing a basic web site, but you'll need to get things in the right order.

1. You'll need a domain name for the site.

2. You'll need a hosting package with a web hosting company.

3. You'll need some web design software.

Go for number 2 first - get yourself a web hosting account with one of the many good web hosts that are out there. I personally recommend click here or
click here but other forum members will have their favourites. Both of the companies will register a domain name of your choice for you and host it in your web space - then you'll be all set to publish your site when it's ready.

As for software, well if you're a complete beginner you might start with NetObjects Fusion, which is an excellent introduction to web design. later, as you practice and gain experience, NetObjects will keep pace with you - it's more than capable of producing a very sophisticated site indeed, and has all the components you'll need (including web forms) built in. If you host your site with OneandOne you'll get a copy of NetObjects Fusion free of charge, plus a copy of PhotoImpact, an excellent image and graphics application - frankly it's the bargain of the century.

I'm not personally a fan of learning web design from books - I prefer the hands-on method with lots of experimentation. Once your server space is up and running you can publish your first attempts to the server, and see what it all looks like live, on the Internet. When you're ready you might let us have a look at the site, so we can help you over the (inevitable) hurdles as they come along.

In the meaqntime, don't hesitate to come back to this thread as many times as you like with questions/problems - that's what we're here for. Stick with us and you'll soon design a site your friend can be proud of.

  carper 13:30 27 Dec 2004

Thanks for that FE. I'll see how I get on and post back. I'm reasonably competant (for a 78 yr.old) and can get round most things after a while. Thanks again. carper

  Forum Editor 15:34 27 Dec 2004

My oldest client is now 88, and although he takes a little longer to get to grips with new ideas these days he's perfectly happy to use a content management system to update the website I created for his business.......that's right, his business - he lives in Africa and runs a substantial group of companies.

You'll have no trouble designing this site, especially with our help.

  carper 10:40 28 Dec 2004

Thanks again Forum Editor. A thought occurs to me, If I set up the site on my machine, will I be able to transfer it to my friends computer later. It would be a bind going to his house to do it. I have the Web Easy disc which came with Tips and tricks Jan 2004. Will this be any help to get the feel of things. Carper

  Forum Editor 11:02 28 Dec 2004

would be to start as you mean to go on. Your friend will need to have a domain name for his villa site, and that will need to be hosted. Why not set up the hosting account and get the domain name organised first? If you use oneandone as your host you'll get NetObjects Fusion free of charge, and that's the application I recommend that you use. That way you'll spend nothing on software, and you'll have one of the best web-design programs on the market.

I would really only advise that you work on one machine to design the site - otherwise you may find you've overwritten the server copy with changes made on a different machine to the one from which you last uploaded.

  Taran 11:52 28 Dec 2004

I've lost count of the number of times I've been asked to sort out a mess when someone who has worked on a project from more than one location has overwritten their site with the wrong version of it, or from the wrong computer.

You can work on multiple machines from different locations, but it adds a whole new set of problems into the mix to ensure you have synchronised information on every machine at each location. Although it isn't overly complicated to do, it does add yet another dimension to an already unfamiliar area and so I'd suggest you keep things as simple as possible to begin with.

NetObjects is a wonderful program and the fact that you get it with a domain and hosting account from 1&1 (as well as other software) means that you really can't lose.

Put it like this - you need a series of things to proceed from start to goal state. Three of these are a domain name, a hosting account, and suitable software. You hit all three at once if you go with 1&1 and can concentrate on just designing something pleasing and appropriate, without worrying about the other aspects of the site.

In the meantimes, why not spend some time with a pad of paper and some pencils and mock up a few possible designs ?

All good sites start with a very firm idea of the end product in mind. Messing around with a page, changing this, adding that, altering colours and so on just wastes time in the long run and rarely gets you anywhere fast. If you have a strong design from the beginning, all that remains is for you to become familiar enough with your software to produce it.

All good designers mock up layouts like this - as time goes on and you become more proficient, you can do it mentally and leave out the paper and pencil, but for sharing ideas and concepts with friends (or clients) a wireframe mock-up on paper is worth its weight in gold, allowing you to progressively refine your ideas so that you know exactly where you are heading. It saves so much time in the long run.

Finally, have a sneaky peaky around the web, make notes on what you like about sites and (far more important) what you don't like. Without directly pinching from other sites you can use this to compile your own 'hit list' of desired layouts, colour schemes and so on that would best reflect your intended content.

Web design is an interesting and sometimes addictive passtime. It can be as frustrating as it is enjoyable at times, but planning, as in most things, is everything.


  carper 09:42 29 Dec 2004

Thanks Taran I'll bear all that in mind

  Forum Editor 10:14 29 Dec 2004

Interesting comment about the blue sky thing - particularly as it takes about two minutes to change a cloudy sky to a cloudless blue one in most image-editing applications.

  carper 14:43 29 Dec 2004

Thanks folks. I think you have given me plenty of food for thought.
Regards Carper

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