So, you think you would like to create your own web site and you have limited talents and financial resources? Read on!

There are a few procedures or steps that are required for the simplest to the most complex web sites. Clearly the first step is the most important. You should define the purpose of the site: personal, community, professional association, service club, hobby or business. Then, secure a domain name which embodies that purpose or name. Browse the internet and check out how others might have organized similar sites. I find this is a great source of hype-links you might choose to add to your site later in the process or for providing a comparison to your own site later.

There are many companies on the internet, such as www. or or their licensed affiliates that will assist you with the name selection procedure. All these sites have domain name search features which will return derivations of the name you are searching for as well as indicate whether the name has been taken and with what extension it has been associated. The good news is that you may choose any one of several extensions, although most sites will choose from the generic extensions, such as .com, .net or .org. I discovered recently that a name that I wanted had been taken. But I was offered an option to reserve the name for use in the future, should the current owner ever fail to pay his annual licensing fee. Most people don't realize that you rent the naming rights for an annual fee of $15 to $30 per year. This cost can be avoided if you create and maintain a web site as part of your subscription to an ISP (Internet Service Provider).

With your name secured, the second order of business is to find a DNS (Domain Name Server) or hosting service, assuming you have not chosen to operate through one of the ISP's referred to earlier. A quick search of the Internet will yield hundreds of DNS companies. A few hosting services, like Tripod, Geocities and Fortune City, are free, but their services do come with some costs, such as banner ads and other minor distractions to you and the ultimate user. The lower cost host servers minus distractions like,,, or are good representations of the $5 to $25 per month host companies. A host company is nothing more than a computer company online 24/7 that rents computer file storage space and access time for you and all the other people you hope will visit your site and view your shared knowledge. This phase of the process can be accomplished with little human interaction. I would recommend, however, that you discuss your site and future plans with the technical folks at the DNS so that any optional features you might want can be installed at the beginning-if they are not part of the standard package configuration. Microsoft Front Page and Adobe 5.0 users will require certain files or file extensions to be on the server before some applications, like forms, can be accessed by the users of the site. These are issues that can be resolved with a simple inquiry if it is not obvious on the site registration page of the DNS.

With more people accessing the Internet by cable or DSL connections, routine file sizes have grown and other file items, like streaming video, are common place.

The result of this increase in access speed is that the beginning designer can be less concerned about an efficient layout of the site, which translates to file size, and concentrate more on the content and mapping of the site for the ultimate user. There is a coding language referred to as HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) which is bedrock to this process. Fear not! If you have any of the newer Microsoft products, one of the "Save As" options will allow you to save your document as an "HTML" file. This feature allows you to create any document in Word, Excel or Power Point, and then instantly turn your creation into an Internet-ready document, with or without graphics, that can be instantly accessible to Internet users after you have stored or uploaded the file to your Internet space with your DNS. If you choose one of the ISPs to do this part of the work, your creative work will have been done on their site. This means that the minute you save your work, you have stored those files on the host service and they are instantly available to anyone who knows the address of those files. If you have chosen a DNS host, the process is slightly more involved. You must upload your new files to the server using an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) program. This process is quite simple. There are many FTP programs around. I use the FTP Voyager sold at, but there is a built-in FTP program in Microsoft Front Page, if you created your pages with this product.

There is a large number of books covering every step of the process I have touched on in this brief overview. There are also Front Page courses available locally through Anne Arundel Community College. The bad news is that this final creative section is like the proverbial peanuts. You start, you can't quit and it seems you never finish. As many times as I look at my creations, I always see ways to change a page or add a graphic. Like me, you will begin to see other sites that you might like to pattern yours after. This is easier than you think and particularly so if you begin to see and understand the HTML language. Your learning curve will be enhanced rapidly by using the "view source code" or "save picture" options from the browser menu. I consider these two options my own online tutorial. You have heard it said that a picture is worth 10,000 words. Change that to 10,000 HTML characters. Be cautious with your use of these features since you may be taking copyrighted materials. By all means, enjoy yourself and don't forget you can start over at anytime---but make a backup first!

If you have comments or suggestions, or have an idea for a future computer or business topic, e-mail me at or