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How to create your own website?

I am certainly not an expert web developer and therefore the advice that I give here may seem childish to the experts. I have tried to think of the simplest methods of creating simple static webpages and only such information is given below

Step 1: Plan your website content

This is the most important part of the process. Think about what type of information you want to give to your users and accordingly decide on the structure of your webpages. The basic structure of your website should be clear in your mind because changing the whole structure later may be very difficult & time-taking.

Structure of website here refers to the names & number of main sections of your website, whether you want to put lot of links on your pages or most of it will be text, if you want to use lot of pictures or if you want to put up lot of things for download.

Step 2: Request for your webspace

Using the information on the Contact Information Page,send your request along with your plan for your website. If your request is approved, you will soon receive your domain and FTP account details

Step 3: Download & install a FTP client

You will need to use a FTP client software for uploading your website files. Numerous such softwares are available & few of them are available free of cost as well. Consider using Core FTP which is available on the Downloads Page.

Step 4: Create your webpages

This is perhaps the most exciting and challenging part of it all. It may seem very difficult to the average computer user in the beginning but if you take the right path taking into account both your objectives and limitations, you will be able to do it soon enough. Create your webpages using any option given in the Tips for making webpages section.

Step 5: Upload your pages to the FTP

When your pages are ready, upload them to your FTP account. You can use Core FTP or any other client to open the FTP account given to you by this website. Enjoy!

Tips for making webpages

As I see it, there are two important aspects to making webpages - the content and the presentation.

The content is definitely the most important thing and its quality and importance gets you visitors. The presentation often helps in making the content understandable and improves usability of your website.

The content totally depends upon your decisions and this is how it should be. You have the freedom to decide what you want to put on your pages and this is what can make your website different from others. The only thing to note here is that you should not put up any content which offends others or violates the laws of the land. You should therefore be careful with your language and double check the content before uploading it to make sure that it is not objectionable. Needless to say that you cannot promote piracy, pornography and violence.

Your decisions regarding presentation of your website will determine what tools you should use to make your pages. If you want a great presentation for your website(everyone wants), then you may have to use templates and css files and develop some understanding of HTML. However, if your focus is on the content and you cannot devote much time on learning web page development, then you can use even your friendly Microsoft Word to create the pages.

I suggest that unless you spend lot of time on the computer and have an apptitude for learning new techniques, you should not worry much about validation or technical correctness of your webpages. Since you are going to maintain them, you will know how to make changes and it is not essential to adhere to web standards right in the beginning.

Tools for making webpages

All the tools described here are available on the Downloads Page.

Web Templates
The internet is full of websites which give out templates for making your own webpages. Many such templates are free and some of them are also available on the Download Page. Typically a template consists of a folder containing one htm/html file, one CSS file and few images often contained in a subfolder names img or images. You can open the HTM/HTML file in the web browser of your choice such as Internet Explorer or Firefox to check out its structure and presentation. If you cannot see the screen at all, then it is a good idea to ask your sighted friend how the different templates look. After taking a look at various templates you can choose one for your website. Make sure that the template you have chosen provides spaces for the text and other content you want to put up. Some templates have the page divided into several columns or boxes for putting in different types of information. This type of template may not be suitable for making your personal website where the content is not so highly structured. Having chosen a template, you will have to fill in your contents in its HTM/HTML file. This can be done by opening the file using a general editor such as Notepad or a special editor such as PS Pad. When you open this file using an text editor, you will be able to see all the HTML markup with less than and greater than(angle brackets) signs. You will have to type or copy your content in between such HTML tags. You can keep the HTM file open in both the web browser and editor and make the changes. You should find the text that you would like to change by reading the web browser and then locate it in the editor and overwrite it. This website is also based on a template although lot of modifications have been made to it.
WYSIWYG Web page editors
This may be useful for only those who can see the screen & use the mouse. These editors allow you to make changes in "What You See Is What You Get" mode. Different parts of the page can be dragged and dropped and changes in font, colour, alighment can be made just as in a word processing software. One such free tool called Page Breezer is available on the Downloads Page. Many such tools are available on the internet.
Macro Based MS Word Templates
These templates were actually designed for making XHTML source files of DAISY books. However, since XHTML is not much different from HTML and since it is perfectly acceptable as web pages, these templates can be used here. These templates will create simple, accessible and technically correct pages. These templates along with their usage instructions are available on the Downloads Page.
PS Pad
PS Pad is a terrific freely available editor which can create dozens of file types including htm, html, xhtml, css etc. This software with help file is available on the Downloads Page. This editor allows you to choose the tag from a drop down menu(press CTRL SPACE for this menu while editing) and you don't need to know the language for creating the file.
Microsoft Word
Did you know that you can save any Microsoft Word document also as a web page? Just prepare the content of your webpage in MS word with all the formatting that you want. Then use Save As option and save it as "web page". The file will now be save as a .htm file and if it had images, a folder named something as "_files" will also be created. You can upload the file and this folder into your FTP and start your website. The only disadvantage is that these pages are not considered technically perfect and it is not possible to control the presentation totally.

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