Okay, you are ready to join the masses and put up a web site. You’ve put a lot of thought into the design and are ready to go. Perhaps you should give more thought to using a web site template.
Web Site Templates
For many people, it makes more sense to use a pre-designed web template instead of creating a site from scratch. Using a pre-designed site template allows you to get a professional design at a fraction of the price a custom design would cost. A good template is automated or has HTML tags to show you exactly where to put your text. This saves you precious time. Also, a web page designed by someone just learning HTML is more likely to have mistakes than one designed and tested by professionals. Mistakes in web site code can prevent some users from being able to see a web page or can even cause lower search engine rankings.
There are millions of web sites on the Internet and there are more being born every second. Even though there may be more than one web site using the pre-designed site template you choose, the likelihood of a visitor seeing both sites is not great. Every site is unique in the data it presents. Web templates present data quickly and professionally without the hassle of designing anything.
Being that many web templates are under $50 and many custom site designs are well over $5000, it is easy to see how web templates can save money and time. Web templates are a good way for someone to learn HTML. By becoming familiar with code that has been written professionally, a webmaster can pick up on things along the way. Instead of having an amateur web site at the start, an HTML novice can have a professional site from the beginning with a pre-designed site template.
Search Engines also play a factor in choosing web templates. Sites with HTML mistakes do not fair well in search engines. Particularly in older versions of Netscape, forgetting one “table” tag can mean the whole page won’t show. A good web template has been designed and tested in many environments, to W3C standards, for maximum compatibility. Instead of thrashing your way through mistakes, take advantage of competent template designs.
If you are just starting out, a web site template is almost always the way to go. There are thousands of sites offering them for sale for very low prices. Why waste your time when you can use a template to get off to a quick, professional start?
If you are planning to become a serious player in the webdesign world, you should now what to learn and discover. Here’s a short list that gives you an overview of your needs.
1. Learn HTML
Before you start creating websites you should master HTML. This is the key element to even start publishing documents on the web. This sounds pretty obvious but there are some elements that you should understand like the label element which will add great usability to a form.
2. Master Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
I can’t stress this enough. DO NOT USE TABLES FOR YOUR LAYOUT!
Is it clear? Don’t, just don’t. Why? Because they work against you instead of for you. You can have so much more control of your layout, design and colors if you use 100% CSS.
1. CSS is easy
2. CSS is fast to create
3. CSS is lightning fast when your website loads
4. CSS is easy to modify
So forget table layouts and start using stylesheets. You will really like the things you can accomplish once you master them.
3. Learn A Server Side Language
This is needed to make dynamic websites like forums. PHP and ASP are a great example. You will need to understand what you can do with these languages and start using them.
Without a server side language your websites are really hard to maintain and will give you a hard job in creating an efficient website structure.
4. Learn A Database Language
I recommend learning MySQL since this is an open source database and is installed on most hosting providers in combination with PHP.
A database is nothing else then some tables with data. You can select data with queries like:
SELECT * FROM table WHERE ID = 3;
Now everything is selected from table when the ID equals three. It’s not hard to understand SQL, you just need to know how it works. PHPMyAdmin can help you a lot when you are creating your database.
So, start with step 1, and stick with CSS as long as you don’t master it. CSS is huge, and you will love it once you know how it works.
For application development you can’t do without a language like PHP and a database like MySQL.
It’s no secret: the internet is the place to be. And there is no shortage of web hosting companies out there — cheap hosting or otherwise — all vying for the scads of business flocking to the internet to grab their share of the pie. You might say it’s a Buyer’s Market. eMerchants of all kinds know that consumers are all bargain hunters and as our appetites grow fatter and our palates grow wiser, we demand more and more from the companies that serve us at less and less of a cost to us. The result? These days, web hosting companies can’t afford not to be cheap hosting companies.
To compete, cheap hosting companies have to provide an assortment of tools and services to make them stand out above the rest, and the least of these is website design and building. If your cheap hosting company can’t help you design and build, publish, and edit and maintain your website, then it’s too cheap. This article will lay out some of the most common and useful features you could reasonably expect a good, cheap hosting company’s website builder/editor to have.
In brief, a website builder (whatever fancy name the individual cheap hosting company slaps on top of it) is essentially a point-and-click program for designing and building websites. These programs have evolved over the years to the point now where they are so simple that even a retired great-grandparent could do it. (You thought we were going to say “a child”, didn’t you? — and apologies to the tech-savvy great-grandfolks out there.)
The software exists, and has existed for a while now, to empower anyone at all to design, build, and publish not just a website, but a website that works. One that’s error-free, that’ll be search engine-approved, that’s attractive and easily navigable, that encourages traffic, and that doesn’t require you to know a whit of HTML code.
The foundation of any website builder/editor are these are predesigned webpages, designed around specific themes or categories — sales, membership organizations, service provider, in-house, family scrapbook, self-promotional, etc. — that you are free to use as your own. Simply fill-in-the blanks with your own information and customize the look and feel to suit your tastes.
You see, a template is just a springboard for your website. Sure, you can use it as is; that’s fine if it’s a personal website for you and your friends, but don’t expect an un-tweaked template to generate a lot of business. Templates are designed to be fully customizable, and that includes background colors, fonts, text sizes, graphics, backgrounds, borders, page layout, and more. You should exercise that facility to its fullest.
Cheap hosting companies’ website builders/editors should include not only a wide variety of templates in a wide variety of themes/categories, but a wide variety as well of color sets, fonts, graphics/clip art/photo databases, backgrounds/borders, etc.
Templates may also exists for many of the most common and popular website tools that people use, like photo albums, event calendars, feedback forms, and user forums.
There should also be a suitable Preview feature included so that you can see the progress of your website at each step along the way. You should be able to see exactly what your visitors will see once your cheap hosting company puts your site live.
Finally, crucial to any website that’s not intended merely for personal use — which is most of the websites out there — is making a sale. And if there’s one thing a cheap hosting company’s website builder has got to have for you, it’s a shopping cart.
Take a look at the shopping cart the cheap hosting companies you’re considering offers. How customizable is it? Is it easy to use? Is it confusing? Does it support the major payment methods — from credit cards to PayPal — both online and off?
Armed with these tips, you’ll be in a better position to make the right decision when choosing your cheap web hosting company