BOOT CAMP ARCHIVE 1998

  

 

BOOT CAMP 019

CREATING YOUR OWN WEBSITE PART 3

If you've been following this short DIY guide you should now have a working web site, safely filed away on your PC's hard disc drive. Now we come to the tricky part, getting your site up and running on the Internet. It's tricky, not because it's difficult, but there are just so many different ways of doing it.

The fist step is to find someone to host your site. You can either pay for it --the best option if you're using it to sell something or promote a service -- or you can take up one of the many offers of free space that are available. Free space usually comes with strings attached, but that needn't be a problem, in fact it can work to your advantage if your site is devoted to helping others or is of a charitable nature. Shared single-subject sites are a useful resource and often a lot easier for visitors to find. To see if there are any appropriate servers, access one of the main search engines (Yahoo, Alta Vista, Lycos, Infoseek etc.), enter 'free web space' plus suitable key words ('Scouting', 'disability', 'childcare', etc.) into the search field and see what comes up.

If you're a subscriber to one of the larger Internet Service providers (CompuServe, AOL, UK Online etc.), then you will already have an allocation of free space. Use it if you've got it, but read the small print; you might find there are restrictions on what you can and cannot publish. They're usually reluctant to let you use it for commercial purposes, or anything they deem socially or politically unacceptable. The other problem with free space is the ISP can pull the plug at any time, and they're not obliged to warn you, or tell you why. The same applies to servers who provide free space in return for allowing them to put advertising on your pages. You will have little or no control over advertising content -- you could end up with an ad for a burger restaurant on your web site for vegetarian recipes -- moreover you have no say in how long they will host your site. If that's not a problem you should certainly check out the free service offered by the US server Geocities, by visiting their web site at: http://www.geocities.com

Don't be put off by the fact that a host server is overseas. This is an irrelevance on the Internet and it may well be that your visitors will get faster access if the company is well connected to the network.

However, for the purposes of this exercise we'll assume that you're going to use your allocation of free space, provided by your ISP. The precise method of uploading a web site onto a host server varies enormously so you will have to do a little research. Access your ISP's free web site tutorial, which will outline the exact procedures. It should also tell you how the all-important URL (uniform resource locator) or addresses for your site is allocated. In some cases you may need to changes file names on your web site in order to conform to their system. They may also advise you to add extra hypertext links or HTML code, but this is a very simple procedure, involving typing a line or two of text and symbols onto your pages.

CompuServe is fairly typical. You need the original software CD-ROM, which contains a suite of programs, including a useful web site-authoring program, called Home Page Wizard, and the Home Publishing Wizard. Open the Publishing Wizard and follow the instructions. It basically involves entering a few personal details, then you identify your web-site files, press the OK button and it is automatically uploaded onto the server. Remember that your web site must contain all necessary files, including text, images and anything else that visitors may want to access.

After your site has been uploaded make a careful note of the URL and log off. Log on again then try accessing your site. When the page appears re-check all of the links. If there are any mistakes return to the original files on your PC, make the appropriate changes and go through the upload procedure again. This will overwrite the existing site. You can use this method to update the site as often as necessary.

Now the site is operational it is time to publicise it by making sure that as many search engines as possible list it, or can find it. Once again there are lots of different methods. You can do it manually, by accessing each search engine in turn and looking for their Submit Form link, however since there are literally hundreds of search engines, this could take a while. The alternative is to use a program to do it for you. Web site registration utilities like SoftSpider and Add Web 2.01 are available in shareware form. Usually the shareware version will only register your site with a limited number of search engines, but they tend to be the most popular ones. If you want to register with more you will have to pay. Nevertheless, they are all very simple to use. Just enter the details of your site, the URL, a short description of what it contains and some keywords.

You can also register your site with multiple search engines on-line. The best known submission sites are Add Me -- they'll send your details to 34 search engines for free -- and Submit-it, who currently deal with over 400 search sites. Links to an from other related sites are a very useful way of attracting visitors, so contact those sites and offer to put a link on your site in exchange for them carrying yours.

And that is everything you need to know to create a Web site and publish it on to the Internet. Needless to say you can make it a great deal more complicated, and there are countless embellishments you can incorporate into your site. There are literally hundreds of books and Internet sites offering further guidance, and hopefully you'll receive plenty of feedback from your visitors. However, the point to bear in mind is that the basic principles are easily mastered, if you've managed to get to grips with a word processor, you can do it!

 

USEFUL CONTACTS

www.adme.com

http://www.cyberspacehq.com

http://softspider.com

http://www.geocities.com

http://www.submit-it.com

 

JARGON FILTER

HOST

An Internet company providing storage space for web sites on their server computer

HTML

HyperText Mark-up Language -- hidden text-based codes and commands on a web page, that helps your browser to move around documents and access other sites

SEARCH ENGINE

Internet sites that seek out information, by topic, keyword or name

URL

Uniform Resource Locator – a standard Internet address e.g.: http://www.rickmaybury.com

 

TOP TIIP

If your Windows 95 PC is starting to get a bit sluggish and files seem to take longer to open, you may be able to pep up its performance with a few simple changes. Open the Control Panel and click on the System icon. Select the Performance tab and click on the File System button. On the Hard disc tab you will see a box marked Typical Role of this machine. Change the selection to Network Server. While you're there, make sure the slider marked Read Ahead Optimisation is fully turned up. Click on Apply and re-start your PC. 

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