Build your own business website
Think carefully about creating your own website for anything more than the simplest of sites. As the site expands in size or activity, keeping it up to date and maintained could put a serious workload onto someone who could otherwise be doing something else.
But if you decide to go down the route of creating your website in-house there are a number of tools on the market to help you do the job quickly, easily and inexpensively.
Web design tools
Web design tools vary in price from free or shareware up to commercial packages, with feature sets reflecting this difference. In the early days websites were created by technical staff who knew how to code pages in HTML, but thankfully these days most Web tools are very visual (WYSIWYG - "what you see is what you get") and require little HTML knowledge.
Most operate in much the same way as desktop publishing tools, allowing you to position elements such as text and images onto the page and then creating the code for you. Many also come with a stock of ready built templates around which you can base your website, making the design process even quicker. Although knowledge of HTML is not essential to use these packages, a general overview and awareness of the restrictions of HTML will pay dividends in your final website.
If you have a good knowledge of HTML you could use a plain HTML text editor, but creating a site from scratch in this way is very wasteful when there are so many good WYSIWYG editors to speed up the process. Text editors are best reserved for final tweaks of code, or for creating the special scripted effects which cannot be done in a visual editor.
The other essential tool for creating a website is an image editor to create and edit graphics. Specific Web graphics packages are available, but you can use any package that can save files as a GIF or JPG.
When creating your site follow the key rules for good Web design and make sure you avoid the pitfalls which can make a site easy to spot as a home made effort. A poor website is easier to spot than a good one, and could damage the company image you've worked so hard for.
Hosting your website
Hosting your site is easy. Free Web space may be included with your ISP account, or can be obtained at very low monthly costs from a Web host. When your website is ready all you have to do is upload it to the server using the hosts instructions, and your business is on the Web.
Reviewed January 2011
last updated : 21/01/2011
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