BOOTLOG 001 06/09/05



This short series of articles looks as how to set up your own web site. Although this is something we’ve covered once or twice in the past so much has changed recently that it is time for an update.


Over the past ten years I have set up several small web sites but nothing on the scale of BootLog, which is currently approaching 1000 pages and heading for double that size over the next few weeks. Nevertheless, the basic steps involved in building a web site are pretty much the same, whether it is a personal site with half a dozen pages, or a mega site and the key to success is preparation, followed by preparation, and then preparation, after that everything else is a breeze…


Over the next few weeks we'll be looking at how to design a site, managing files and folders, registering a domain, page layout and finally publishing your site.


For various reasons the BootLog site had to be put together quite quickly, in fact the first 400 pages went ‘live‘ in just 3 days, which sounds impressive except that unpicking the mess that made took 4 days, and is still going on. A few hours spent prepping the material would have halved the workload so don’t make the same mistakes that we did. Before you go anywhere near the a computer or the Internet spend some time working out exactly what you want to achieve and the best way to do that is with a good old fashioned pen and lots of paper.   


Start by creating a site ‘map’. All Internet sites, big or small must have a Home page that by convention is called ‘index.html’. This is the first page that a visitor to your site will see and from there, move to other pages by clicking ‘hyperlinks’, which may be underlined or highlighted words or disguised as graphical elements or buttons.


Think of the site map as a family tree, with the Home page at the top and the pages or ‘nodes’ that are linked to it branching off. Your first rough draft should show the Home page at the top with perhaps three or four nodes. Now you have decide what is going into each node, and this is where it gets difficult. The trick to web page design is to keep things as simple as possible. Space is not a problem on a web site so don’t try to cram too many topics or subjects onto each page..


After two or three drafts you should begin to get a good idea in of what you want to put on your web site, its layout and how a visitor will navigate their way around site. Don’t be surprised if you have to completely redraw the map a dozen times, it's time well spent. It’s vital that you make the decisions about what is to appear on each page before the site is up and running, when making structural changes can be a lot more difficult.


part 2 -- preparing files and folders

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