BUILD YOUR OWN WEBSITE


Doing your own website can be one of the most exciting and rewarding tasks - or hobbies - depending on how you look at it. Depending on what you want to achieve and the degree of challenge you enjoy, it can be either enormous fun or hugely frustrating. Hopefully with a bit of good advice and assistance, fun will prevail.

There are essentially 7 options available to anyone wanting to develop their own website and we give a brief overview of these below.

Method Pros Cons

Frontpage Easy to use without knowledge of coding Creates code bloat. Not good for search engines

Microsoft Publisher Easy to use without knowledge of coding Search engines cannot read it at all

Dreamweaver Easy and has advanced features Expensive. Creates code bloat. Not good for search engines

Other software programmes Normally easy to use without knowledge of coding Creates code bloat. Not good for search engines

Hand coding Best method. Good hand coding results in search engine friendly sites that do well Takes time to learn coding

Wysiwyg coding Easy to use without knowledge of coding. Effectiveness depends on how good the software is.

Template websites Easy to use and quick. Pre-designed. Not unique in design


Handcoding
By far the most effective and reliable method of website creation. Even if you do decide to use a software programme for speeding up the more tedious functions, a solid knowledge of html and the ability to handcode gives you complete control over the end result.

This is not simply referring to the look of the site, but the actual structure. - The factors that determine whether a website thrives or dies in search engine listings.

Whether you decide to opt for a software programme or hand coding (or a combination) there are certain key elements in the actual design of the site that have a serious impact on how well your site will satisfy its visitors - both humans and search engine robots.

For this reason we have outlined some of the basic "rules" for the actual design of the site. These are a few of the key "do nots" that will help you to avoid some of the more common pitfalls.

  • DO NOT use frames. Although frames are considered to be advanced html, many beginners go for a framed site because it makes it so much easier to get the layout right. Also, everyone would love to have their name visible at all times and frames certainly achieve that.

    There are however distinct disadvantages to frames. Some of these are:

    They can end up very messy if too many frames are used or it's not set up properly;

    Search engines don't particularly like them;

    They can be slow on initial loading;

    If you have a page error you end up with an ugly error message on a corner (or in the middle) of your site;

    When visitors save your site to favourites, there's a good chance they are going to return to find that they have a single page without the header or links and therefore cannot access anything else on your site.


  • DO NOT have badly labelled links. Make it as easy as possible for visitors to understand your site content and layout. Use link headings that the average person would understand. Creating your own language and jargon may seem neat, but it's not going to make your visitors very happy.


  • DO NOT opt for all the bells and whistles. As you discover more and more about web design, you're going to discover some really cool effects and it will be very tempting to use them, sometimes just to show that you can. Play with them by all means, but try to keep your site as free of them as possible.


  • DO NOT use loads and loads of big bold letters or loads of different coloured text. This is a website you are building, not a christmas tree. It becomes really overwhelming when a site has too much bold text or too many colours in the text.


  • DO NOT use a lot of bright colours. Limit your colour scheme to keep it easy on the eyes. Also remember that what looks good on paper does not always work well on the net.


  • DO NOT forget to check your links. Broken links are a real no-no and will just annoy visitors. Before you upload your site, test to be sure that all your links work. Once it is up, test them all again. Test them regularly after that as well.


  • DO NOT have links to non-existent content. There is nothing more annoying than clicking on a link only to land up at a page that has no info on it, or worse, says, "under construction" or, "coming soon". If you have no information on a specific page, rather hide the links to that page until you do.


  • DO NOT build your site so that visitors have to scroll across the page to see a full line of writing. This is normally caused by very wide graphics or tables that have been given too-wide absolute values. It is also commonly caused by designing a site to fit your own, wider, screen resolution. A user friendly site does not dictate to its visitors, but accommodates them as far as possible.


  • DO NOT forget to use size tags on graphics. These make sure that your page loads properly and more quickly.


  • DO NOT use pure graphic links, without using the alt tag. This is for visitors who do not have graphics enabled on their browser.


  • DO NOT build a site that is loaded with huge graphics and animations. Unless it is a site that is selling or showcasing graphics, keep your graphics to the minimum you need and only use them where they specifically enhance the page.


  • DO NOT use unoptimised graphics. This will slow down the loading of your site enormously and can even cause it to timeout (give a "page cannot be found" message).


  • DO NOT use poor grammar and spelling. This is extremely noticeable when reading text on the internet and says a lot of negative things about you. Check your spelling and grammar before uploading your site. Once it is uploaded, check it again and have some friends read through it too.



If all of this seems a bit too daunting for you and you would like to present a professional image with a well-developed website at the earliest opportunity, request an obligation-free quote or contact us to discuss your needs





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If you're not sure of all the web terminology and jargon, why not have a quick read through our basic web glossary before you get going.

*According to Internet Access in South Africa 2012 study as conducted by World Wide Worx

                        
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