Building a website is something that anybody can do - not just computing professionals! Even if you know nothing about website design, after reading this easy-to-follow tutorial you could have your own site online in just a few hours. Note: Plusnet webspace, CGI and some of the webspace-related tools mentioned in this guide are only available on some older accounts. If you're a Plusnet customer and switch to one of our newer broadband accounts you won't lose any CGI service or webspace you've got.
There are plenty of free programs available which you can use to write the content for your website. These range from very basic - e.g. Notepad (this comes pre-built into Windows), through to more professional, but simple- to-use word processor or publisher programs which let you save what you've written as webpages. We recommend using Nvu (N-View) which is free to download. This lets you do everything a professional web design program can do. Read the Using Nvu section for more information.
An image editor
Unless you're wanting a text-only website (which will be informative, but won't look very eye-catching!), you'll want to add some pictures to your site. As with text editors, Windows comes with a simple graphics programs pre-built into it. This should be fine for most of your web building needs. However, if you do want something a little more advanced why not try Paint.NET - a free image editing program?
An FTP program to upload files to your website
An FTP (File Transfer Protocol) program lets you edit, upload and download the files which will make up your website. If you have Internet Explorer you can use this for quick one-off file transfers, or if you want a more dedicated FTP program the most popular free software is CuteFTP and wsFTP (PC), CyberDuck (Mac).
A web browser
Yes, that's right - exactly the same program that you use to browse the web and read this support page.
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The following are optional extras which you may want to do to add extra functionality to your website:
Note: The CGI service and webspace are only available on some older accounts. If you're a Plusnet customer and switch to one of our newer broadband accounts you won't lose any CGI service or webspace you've got. [Top]
3. The 6 steps to website success
Step 1 - Plan what you want to say
Before you start creating your homepage, draw out on paper what you want it to look like and what you want to say. A little bit of time spent planning will save you from wasting time - building things you find you don't need later on. Think about:
How many pages will you need?
How will the pages be linked together (draw out the navigation)
Step 2 - Create a page template
A page template is the blueprint or framework for each page. All the pages on your site will use the template as a starting point. Think about:
What you want your pages to look like. Draw out what your template should look like.
Step 3 - Create your homepage
This is just 1 page. It's the very first page that visitors will see first when they arrive at your site. Think about:
What needs to be on this page? What do you want to tell people as soon as they click on your site (i.e. "My Summer 2008 Holiday Photos")
Do you want to tell people what to expect on the other pages of your site?
Do you want to add contact information to this page?
Step 4 - Create more pages Ok, so you've got your homepage all planned out. What additional information do you want to add to your site? Think about:
'Contact me' page
Upload your files - put your pages on your FTP site. Test your pages - it's important that you check your website. Maybe you could get a friend, colleague or member of your family to check your site for you? Common problems:
Step 5 - Activating webstats
You can find out how many people are visiting your website and which pages they are looking at by activating webstats. They will also tell you some interesting information such as what country each of your visitors is from. Find out more about webstats.
Step 6 - Adding referrals banners
Encourage your website visitors to join Plusnet By adding referrals banners to your new website you could earn discounts on your broadband bill, or even generate a monthly profit! Read how to add a referral banner to your website. [Top]
4. Installing Nvu
You can download Nvu for free at http://net2.com/nvu/download.html. Choose the version which is compatible with your operating system. Then follow the on-screen download/installation instructions to download this to your PC. Now run Nvu. [Top]