Connect 2 the Net Web Talk

Articles and information for business owners on how to maintain and gain a successful web presence. This blog is sponsored by Patricia Smith, of Yellowbelly Web Design and Cynthia Mackey, of Winning Strategies.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Building a Web Site Yourself Using Software or Online Tools

In creating a web site, you must determine whether you want to build it or not. If you like learning new things and feel that you are a creative person, then maybe creating the web site yourself is a great way to go.

Below are some questions to consider:
1) Do you have the time to learn and build your web site?
2) Do you have the desire?
3) Do you have the necessary skill set? If not, where can you get it?
Remember this is the Internet face of your organization, and you want to make it as appealing to your target audience as possible.

Creating a web site using software
There are software solutions available to create your own web site.

Popular ones include:
Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer™ for some is considered easier, but limiting in some features.

Macromedia Dreamweaver™
Adobe GoLive! Macromedia Dreamweaver™
is the predominant web development tool for professional web designers, and Adobe GoLive!™ is a close second.

Software prices vary from $300 to $600+

Other options for purchasing include where you may find cheaper versions of the same software, or if you are a student you may be able to purchase the software from you local college store.

Advantage – one time software fee (excluding software upgrades that are released)
Disadvantage – learning curve and time factor

The best way to experience these tools is either by downloading 60 day free trial copies from the vendor web sites, or taking a free or low cost class through a local community college, or similar. This way you can experience what tool might be the best for you to work with before making a purchase.

Creating a web site using online tools
More and more Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Application Service Providers (ASPs) – companies that allow you to use an online application usually for a recurring fee – provide you with access to their tools to create your web site at nominal fees. These tools allow you to select a predetermined design, to change some basic elements of the design such as a central image or color, and enter text into the design. The drawback is that you do not own the design and they do have limitations in the amount of content you can add. However, these sites are excellent for designing a web site quickly, or when you need a web site for just one event.

The recurring fee is a form of “rent” for the use of the design template. This may not be desirable for the long term if you want to brand your company. We know of at least one client who found someone was using the same template as he. NOTE: It is possible, in some cases, to purchase the design, but the costs vary and vary from several hundred to several thousand dollars more depending upon the type of design.

These sites are quick to deploy and extremely affordable. You can often get a site launched with an hour – as low as $9.95/month in some cases. This is an excellent approach for a first phase solution, for those who must have a site right away.

Advantage – fast learning curve and quick to employ
Disadvantage – recurring monthly fees, you don’t own the web site and limitations in the amount of content you can add

Check with your Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to see if they have an online tool that you can use.

Other Online Options Include:
Network Solutions
Template Monster – a site where you can purchase pre-made HTML (Web) templates for those who know HTML
“Menu” pricing applies – the more features you add, the more you pay
You must create your own content (words and images that goes on the web page)

Next time I shall be discussing the future of FrontPage™ and Microsoft’s next generation web authoring tools SharePoint Designer™ and Expressions Web™.


At May 24, 2007 4:08 PM , Dave L said...

Thanks. That was an interesting article, Pat. But you forgot to mention one of the best website creation tools and it comes free with all versions of windows. It's called "Notepad"! Forget all that whoosy WYSIWYG stuff. The world would be a much better place if we all would simply learn HTML... :)a

At May 29, 2007 10:37 AM , Tim said...

Pat -- looking forward to next post. I've had some experience with Dreamweaver but need to learn more about Frontpage. Keep up the good work: T

At June 5, 2007 5:35 AM , Anonymous said...

If you are in business, and you are not web software savvy, I'd recommend you outsource as much as you can. Getting the design/image you want, and flexibility so you can add and change content easily, and do promotions (if doing ecommerce) are vital.


At June 13, 2007 12:33 PM , Paul said...

From what Ive seen, self made websites always tend to lack taste. The way I see it, if you arent professional then your overall credibility in the business world is mininaml. There are thousands upon thousands of businesses in the world, the only way to stand out is to present yourself in a light that makes people feel as if their money is going to the right place.


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