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The Internet: The Missing Manual by David Pogue, J.D. Biersdorfer

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Professional Web Sites

There are super-simple, Web-based services ideal for the casual Web designer who just wants to publish the Little League schedule or present the minutes of the latest PTA meeting. But if you want to make your site look professional, you'll have to do a little more rooting around.

This process can get so technical, in fact, that many small business wind up hiring a professional Web designer to do the job. If you're interested in creating a professional-looking site, here's what the job entails:

  • Figuring out what's on it. If you're going to have a Web site, you need something to go on it: not just text, but also visual elements like pictures, graphics, and logos. You should also start thinking of a name for your site so you can figure out whether the Web address you want is available. (It probably comes as no surprise that virtually all the most popular one-word addresses—cars.com, sports.com, and ragu.com—are already taken.)

  • Web editing software. You need a program that lets you create, design, and check each Web page before you hang it up online for all to see; such programs range in price from free to several hundred dollars. The cost factor is often inversely proportional to the amount of work you need to do yourself; if you go low budget, expect to get a little less handholding and a little more code-wrangling.

    If you want to learn HTML (Section 19.3.1.1), you can make Web pages with programs that come preinstalled on your PC or Mac. But there are easier ...

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