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Your First Website

Sandra Prior
Jul 8, 2008
While being able to create a web page is fine and dandy, one page on its own can get lonely. What you really want to do is create an entire web site, complete with splash pages, navigation bars, lots of useful pages, a bit where people can chat with each other, a section that makes coffee for visitors...Okay, maybe not that last bit, but you get the idea.

The thing is, making a whole web site is a little more involved than simply linking together a few pages with a similar theme. The more pages you create, the more links you'll have to check, the more graphics you'll have to use, the more organized you need to be. The keyword here is planning.

Back to the Drawing Board

Some of the high end web authoring packages recognizes what a minefield site management and organization can be, so they include tools that allow you to design create the structure of your site before you begin making pages. We don't have that luxury, so we're going to use another tried-and-tested piece of software instead - our heads.

All that these site management packages do is create a directory structure on disk for all the files that will go into your site, let you define a front or index page and then allow you to add supplementary pages.

You can create your own directory structure in Windows Explorer. It's a good idea to create a directory called 'websites' in 'My Documents' folder first, then make a new directory inside that named after your site. This folder will be the root of your site - the directory that contains all the files and subfolders your site requires. Next, add a subfolder to the root called 'images'. As your site-building becomes more advanced, you may want to add folders, specifically for other kinds of media, like Shockwave and sound files or even for pages branching off from the main page. For now, any additional pages we make will be placed as root.

Go with the Flow

Once you've set up a directory structure, you can begin to design the 'flow' of the site. Decide what you want to put in your site, and which areas deserve a page of their own. To make it easy to refer to them later we'll call these 'content' pages. You can even decide what the filenames of each page will be at this stage - it'll make it much easier to build navigation later. The other page you'll need to think about is your 'index' or front page. This will be the first page users will see on entering your site and it is always saved with the filename index.html or index.htm.

Creating Site Templates

The easiest way to approach template making is to go ahead and make a standard page with the design you intend to use throughout your site. Complete the page as much as possible, including navigation links - that's why it pays to plan these out in advance.
About the Author
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