Building Your Own Website, IBM's New NetVista and more.
(MONEY Magazine) – TECH TOOLS Create your own website.
Maybe you feel as though you're the only Netizen without your own home page. Or perhaps you run a small business and want to share your wares with the Web's increasingly large audience. Fear not--creating your own website is easier than ever. Beginners should check with their ISPs, which generally offer subscribers small plots of virtual real estate for free. AOL users, for example, get 12 megabytes to create their own home pages. Earthlink is less generous, limiting users to 6MB--but for most folks, that's more than enough.
These and other ISPs also offer rudimentary tools that simplify the process of building your own website. Earthlink's are somewhat limited, but they're fine if all you're hoping to do is post photos for your in-laws. AOL offers more, providing subscribers with about 50 thematic templates designed for posting material on subjects like Our Family, My Rants--even, I'm afraid, My Wrestling Page. Both allow users to import graphics and photos.
If you want to get a little more sophisticated, check out www.homestead.com or geocities.yahoo.com/home. At Homestead you can get 16MB of free storage and easy-to-use Internet-based software for building and customizing a site. Unlike some design software, it doesn't require you to know a lick of computer code. The same is true with the Yahoo! tools, except that they also give you the option--should you be so inclined--of using the site's advanced HTML editor, which allows you to write your own code and pump up the level of sophistication in your design.
Not surprisingly--all this is free after all--none of the Internet-based tools are as powerful as software programs that specialize in website design. Microsoft FrontPage 2000 ($118 at www.egghead.com) offers 60 customizable thematic templates, which give your site's various pages and sections a consistent look. It also features a range of sophisticated tools, including database publishing, enhanced color options and the ability to save Office 2000 documents directly to your site. It even helps you make your page available in as many as 15 languages.
If you're really ambitious--and software savvy--the next step up is Dreamweaver 3/Fireworks 3 Studio from Macromedia ($350 at www.buy.com). Especially useful for creating and displaying animated effects, this software package lets you customize every element of your website and allows you to create notes for other designers working on the same site. It also tracks the size of a particular file as well as the length of time it takes to download. And the version I tested came with Fireworks 3, a graphics-editing program that works well in conjunction with Dreamweaver.
E-mail your technology questions to email@example.com.