Saturday, August 20, 2011

New Website Design - How To

"How I Redid My Website" 
"How I Broke My Brain and Made My Family Crazy"

I redesigned my website. I think I broke my brain a little bit doing it. It took a very long day and much frustration to get it done. I thought it would be more productive to tell you all HOW I made my site (including the links to YouTube videos that helped me) rather than bang my head on the wall. Or have you bang your head on the wall.

To start: determine how you are going to host your website. is a free web hosting site. I already had a webs domain name so I went with that. Unfortunately, I didn't realize until after I had slaved away at making my site perfect that I couldn't upload the new site to the free webs platform. *This is important* If you want to do what I did, you need a website hosting platform that supports you uploading "ftp" files. Yeah, I had no idea what that was either. I learned the hard way.

If you do want to use to host your site, you'll need to upgrade to the "Premium services." It costs around $4 a month for the "starter" version (not bad, really). After you do that, you need to "downgrade" (doesn't make sense, I know) to the "HTML only" version. It will take 12-24 hours for your account to be activated with "ftp" capabilities. Or, in my case, almost 48 hours. (That was when my brain was beginning to implode. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. Turns out, it was the error of, not me.) To prevent brain implosion, upgrade your site and THEN start building your website. That way by the time you're done designing it, you'll actually be able to publish it.

Okay, next step. Download "Nvu." This is a free program and it is amazing. It will build the html code for you. No lie.  (Or any other Nvu site you find.)

After downloaded Nvu, open it up. Then, watch YouTube video #1 - YouTube Nvu Video 1 . (This guy is really great at explaining things.) *While he is talking/showing you what to do, pause the video and DO IT WITH HIM.* This is a great way to learn, in my opinion.

An important thing that it took me some time to figure out (I don't know why) is to center my page. If you make a table, right click on it. Half way down the pop up screen shows "Table Cell Properties." Click on that. Next window has two tabs. Click on "Table." "Table alignment" should be "center." If you don't do this, the page you're building will stay on the left hand side of the screen. Not cool.

Watch the other two YouTube videos - YouTube Video 2 YouTube Video 3
Again, do it along with him. It's easier that way.

Other stuff to know
-Be sure to name your "home page" as "index."
-Make a folder on your desktop named "NewWebsite" or whatever you want to name it. Save all your files here.
-Name all of your pages in Nvu (see videos about this.) It makes it less confusing when you're opening pages.
-Check out other websites that are similar to what you're selling or advertising, etc. and see what you like about them. And what you don't like about them. Templates are a great thing but seeing the real thing in action is a great thing. (You can also look at profession web design services. See what they do that makes it look professional.)
-It's very easy to put links into your pages. Make sure the links work before you publish the page. (You can always go back later and update your page with new links, pics, etc.)
-Resize your photos (I use IrfanView to do this) to make them not too overwhelmingly huge. It will take a long time for your pics to show up on your site if they are really big. Not many people want to wait a long time for that.
-SAVE YOUR WORK. A lot. Often. All the time. It would stink for you to spend so much time and then for it to go...away...forever.
-Don't recreate the wheel. After you make your homepage, save it as "index" (as I said earlier.) Then, make changes (say, for your "About Me" page) and then save that as "AboutMe." You'll have the same layout, colors, etc. without having to make it all over again. Proceed to make your next page, "save as" whatever that is.
-If you're using to host your site, click on "publish" and follow the directions. (You can also see FAQs about FTP for more info.)

I hope this helps you create your website! If it doesn't help, I'm sorry. If it does help, you're welcome. :)

1 comment:

  1. Ah! Saving your work is the most important thing to do! It would be better if one saves his or her work everytime he or she makes changes. It'd be frustrating if all the things that you worked hard on would be lost.


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