How to build a professional WEB SITE

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 »  Articles Overview  »  Technology  »  Software and the Internet  »  How to build a professional WEB SITE

How to build a professional WEB SITE

By Diana Marqués | Published  03/4/2004 | Software and the Internet | Recommendation:
Contact the author
Quicklink: http://www.proz.com/doc/69
Author:
Diana Marqués
Spain
English to Spanish translator
 

See this author's ProZ.com profile
How to build a professional WEB SITE

Contents

0. Introduction
1. Getting started: learn the basics of HTML and CSS
2. Moving on: use a WYSIWYG editor
3. Building your site: planning is the key to success
4. Saving time: templates are a ready-made solution
5. Discovering advanced features: applets and JavaScripts
6. Publishing your site: the last step
7. Last but not least: some advice from my own experience

 

0. Introduction

 

Why is a professional web site so important?

Having a professional web site is very important for translators and other freelancers because it enables direct communication with agencies, clients and fellow colleagues. Publishing a web site on the Internet is like sending your cv and cover letter to all your potential clients and collaborators all over the world.

But it is also much more than that. Your web site becomes your business image. It reflects your values, your quality and your commitment to your clients. In other words, it is your best advertising.

What will I find in this HOWTO?

In this howto, you will find some valuable tips on how you can build a professional and appealing web site that reflects your quality and business strategy.

My indications are aimed at everybody. They will be useful for those who are not familiar with HTML and are starting from scratch as well as for the ones with more advanced knowledge.

Back to Contents

 

1. Getting started: learn the basics of HTML and CSS

 

What is a web site?

A web site is a group of web pages bound together. A web page is a HTML file. HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language. A HTML file is a simple text file containing small markup tags. These markup tags tell the browser how to display the page. An HTML file must have an .htm or .html file extension and can be created using a simple text editor.

How do I begin building my web site?

To every translator wanting to build a web site, I would recommend to learn the basics of HTML and CSS first of all.

CSS: CSS is another markup language. CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets. These styles define how to display HTML elements. CSS was added to HTML to enhance its visual effects.

HTML is very simple. The only thing you need to create a web page is a notepad and a browser:

Recipe: The simplest web page in 10 seconds
1. copy this code in the notepad:
<HTML>
<BODY>
Hello!
</BODY>
</HTML>

2. save it as hello.html on your desktop
3. open your browser
4. open hello.html from your browser (file: open file: hello.html)

I know two excellent online tutorials to learn HTML and CSS but there are many more that you can use on the Net. If you have a look at them, you will learn very quickly by doing easy-to-follow exercises like the one above.

HTML tutorials:
W3 Schools:
http://www.w3schools.com/html/ (excellent tutorial for those who start absolutely from scratch)
Dave's HTML Guide: http://www.davesite.com/webstation/html/

CSS tutorials:
W3 Schools: http://www.w3schools.com/css/
Dave's CSS Guide: http://www.davesite.com/webstation/css/

Start with HTML and then move on to CSS. It is amazing what you can do with a couple of tricks!

Back to Contents

 

2. Moving on: use a WYSIWYG editor

 

Once you are familiar with HTML and CSS you can start using a WYSIWYG editor. A WYSIWYG editor will help you to build a complex web site more easily.

What is a WYSIWYG editor?

WYSIWYG (pronounced Wizzy Wig) stands for What You See Is What You Get. A WYSIWYG editor is a program that hides the HTML code so that you can design web pages visually. With a WYSIWYG editor you compose your web page as if you were composing a word document (for instance) while the editor writes the HTML code for you.

Then, why is it useful to learn HTML?

HTML is essential to make fine adjustments on web pages and to introduce advanced features on a web site. In addition, knowing HTML is very useful for translators: we use HTML to introduce our profiles in translators directories like ProZ, for example.

Where can I get a WYSIWYG editor?

Advanced editors like Dreamweaver or FrontPage are quite expensive, but we all have access to free WYSIWYG editors that will help us a lot in building a professional web site.

Here you have a small list:

Microsoft Word: A WYSIWYG web site editor that we all have at home.
1. In the view menu, change your view to "web view" .
2. Right click on any toolbar and select "web tools" from the menu that will appear.
And it is ready to function as a WYSIWYG web editor!

Netscape Composer: A built-in WYSIWYG Editor that comes with Netscape Browser. You can download it for free at: http://channels.netscape.com/ns/browsers/

WebDwarf: Free WYSIWYG editor for web pages. You can download it for free and get more information at: http://www.virtualmechanics.com/products/dwarf/index.html

Back to Contents

 


3. Building your site: planning is the key to success

 

Planning is a key factor to develop a successful web site. Before actually starting to build your site, take some time planning it carefully to make it as good and effective as possible.

How can I plan my site effectively?

a) Research:

A good idea is doing some research before getting started. You can browse through colleagues web sites to get some ideas: see what you like and what you dislike in them, think about what makes a good web site work, check out clever structures and easy-to-navigate menus and consider what features you would like your personal web site to have.

b) Contents and structure:

The contents and structure of a web site are closely linked. Plan thoroughly the contents and sections of your site. Do as many sketches and drafts on paper as necessary. My advice is to stick to simple and solid solutions.

c) Business Image, language and graphical layout:

Your web site will become your business image, therefore you need to pay as much attention to language and graphical layout as possible. Your web site must reflect your professional values, your quality and your commitment to your clients. It is really worth taking some time to create a consistent and appealing professional site.

d) Very important:

Remember that it is essential knowing what you want to achieve before getting down to building your site.

Back to Contents

 


4. Saving time: templates are a ready-made solution

 

The next thing that you have to consider is whether you want to use templates or you prefer to start building your site from scratch.

Template: A template is a ready-made web page layout that you can edit and fill in with your own information.

Some templates are great and can help you building a professional looking web site very easily but I guess that if you are a creative person, you will prefer developing your site with your own design and style.

Where can I find templates?

Since they are so attractive and can really save you a lot of time, there are few web sites offering free templates. Here you have a couple:

My Free Templates: http://www.myfreetemplates.com/
Free Web site Templates from Jimworld: http://freesitetemplates.com/templates/

Back to Contents

 

5. Discovering advanced features: applets and JavaScripts

 

If you are already familiar with HTML and CSS and have developed your own web site, you can try adding some special features to it, like counters or navigation menus, by using applets and JavaScripts.

Applet: An applet is a small application. In terms of the Internet, an applet is a little program that can perform animation and other tasks on a web page .

JavaScript: JavaScript is a scripting language commonly used to construct web pages. Programmers use JavaScript to make web pages more interactive; for example, to display forms and buttons.

Here you have some good URLs where you will find applets and JavaScripts ready to insert in your web site:

Java Boutique: http://javaboutique.internet.com/
The JavaScript Source: http://javascript.internet.com/

Back to Contents

 

6. Publishing your site: the last step

 

If you want other people to view your pages on the Internet, you must publish them. To publish your work, you have to copy your files to a web server.

What do I need to publish my web site on the Internet?

1. A server or host:

To publish your work, you must copy your site to a web server. Your own PC can act as a web server if it is connected to a network but it is most common is to use an Internet Service Provider (ISP).

2. An ISP:

ISP stands for Internet Service Provider. An ISP provides Internet services. A common Internet service is web hosting. Web hosting means storing your web site on a public server.

3. FTP software:

FTP stand for File Transfer Protocol. An FTP is used to upload your web site files from your computer to your server or host. Some ISP allow you to upload your site files through a web page, in this case you do not need a FTP software.

Back to Contents

 


7. Last but not least: some advice from my own experience

 

1. Know your limitations:

It is important to know your own limitations. Do something simple to start with, html is very simple and you will learn fast as you work on your site. Soon you will be able to build advanced web sites.

2. Get hosting and server information:

It is very advisable to have some information about the server where you will upload your site. If your server is slow, for instance, you know that you should not use too many pictures because that would make your site slower.

3. Have reference at hand:

Have always some good HTML/CSS reference at hand that you can check if you have a problem or a doubt. For instance:
W3 Schools: http://www.w3schools.com/
Dave's HTML Guide: http://www.davesite.com/webstation/html/

 

© Diana Marqués

 

Feedback:

Was this HOWTO useful to you?
Was it easy to follow?
Were you stuck somewhere?

Please, feel free to email me your comments. I am very interested in constructive criticism, opinions and suggestions.

Diana Marqués - English > Spanish Translator
Specialized Translation & Software Localization
Barcelona - Spain
Email: dianamarques@netscape.net
Web Site: http://www.webpersonal.net/dmarques
Translation Resources: http://www.webpersonal.net/dmarques/resources

 

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