BOOTLOG 001 06/09/05
BUILDING A WEBSITE, part 1
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…
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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