For those of you that have personal websites...
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Thread: For those of you that have personal websites...

  1. #1
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    For those of you that have personal websites...

    How on earth did you get started? I've decided to make a simple site to showcase finished work, but I can't for the life of me figure out how to get the layout I have in my head on the computer.

    I have already purchased a domain name and hosting plan through IX Webhosting. (The expert plan shown in the link, if anyone's interested.) I have also been downloading multiple freeware programs to try and get things underway. I made a very simple splash page stating the website name and "coming soon" just to have something up there to replace the default, but when I tried to upload it to the server... nothing happened.

    I have been Googling various articles for the last two hours trying to figure out what the hell I am doing, but I'm at a loss and rapidly becoming frustrated enough to say to hell with it all and give up. Does anyone know of any good resources that would explain web design to the absolute beginner? How did you get started figuring out what to do? Or did you just find someone else to do it for you?

    Melissa Renae
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  2. #2
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    you're probably not putting your files in the right place. Most FTP layouts have a root folder called "WWW" and that's where you want to put all of your own stuff. Your webhost should have given you all the information you needed as well, possibly in an email. You should also be able to manage everything through a "side" or admin entrance if they feature cpannel which most servers these days do. That or something like it.

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    Best way is to just jump in head first with your progam of choice (if you ever want to market your web abilities down the road, do yourself a favor and learn with the best, Macromedia Dreamweaver 8). It would be to your benefit to use a WYSIWYG editor with split code and design view, so you can get the hang of coding while you design visually. If you think this can be answered in a post online, however, you're wasting your time. The best learning method is just to do.

    Or you could just pay a buddy who knows what he's doing to help you out.

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    Like Exo said. My site has a couple of folders in the root directory, one labeled "html." That's where everything goes.

    Now onto the real problem, learning web design. I started years ago by getting free lame geocities & anycities accounts, using automated features, looking at the page source, and learning html code very slowly. Later, I got dreamweaver, which has great tutorials. Finally, I was lucky enough to still be in art school and could pull one of my friends in front of my computer to show me stuff.

    Don't get too frustrated. Html can be a huge pain in the butt, and for me I still stare at lines of code for hours trying to figure out what the hell I did wrong. I google up web tutorial sites (good idea for you, I bet), and if I like what I see in someone's site, I try to look at the source code and figure it out. If you can sketch out your idea, maybe one of us can tell you the easiest way to do it. I bet that would help you out too. Good luck!

    Andrew Murray
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    www.theincredibleandy.com
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    Exo and Strych9ine:

    I've been trying to make sense of the control panel... I know all the information I need is right in front of me if I could just figure it out. They did give me all the basic information I need in an email. The thing is, they give you the "what" but not the "how". FTP Server addresses, email server addresses, etc, but not what to do with them.

    You are right, though. Honestly I've been too afraid to really get down and dirty with it, but I guess all the mistakes I'm going to make are just part of the learning process...

    Thanks for the words, guys.

    Melissa Renae
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    From my experience you don't need a "www" folder. Create an html file called index.html and put it in your webspace's root folder. This will automatically be recognized as the page to start from, be it an actual page with information, or just an html file which sets up frames for your site, or whatever. Make sure all of your code is correct, and your links are directed to the right places (for example: index.html is in root, and the rest of your info is in a www folder for organization, so make sure that all links point to that folder/filename.extension.) If you do that, then it should work. Then just make it pretty and add flash or whatever else you want.


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    Ha! Beautiful! I just figured it out!

    Everything was uploading to the server, just not into the correct file... All is good now.

    Thanks a lot guys for your tips and helping me see where I was going wrong. I've still got a lot of learning to do, but at least this is one step in the right direction...

    Melissa Renae
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    Heya,

    If you upload files via ftp, Filezilla's pretty good, and it's free!

    I think I do stuff the lazy/easy way, which is to do my design on Photoshop (.jpg), identify where tables would be placed and split the features accordingly (like on my site, the title and tree/menu are separate images).
    Then on Dreamweaver, I'd start on a new, html page, and slap down said amount of tables and add the images, adjust size, background colour(s), etc. And check them constantly on the web browser to see if it reads it correctly (Firefox doesn't seem to like mine ).

    It's good enough for me as I know jack about coding, but we all have our methods, eh?

    Good luck!

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    How to get started, grap Notepad 2 , Notepad ++ or the standard notepad in windows. Look around for xhtml and css tutorials, sites like alistapart.com and etc a good places to get started.

    What ever you do, DO NOT USE a wysiwyg editor such as dreamweaver if your not able to make a website ground up from code. Trust me, you'll do yourself a favour. Learn the web standards of WC3.

    Oh and last peice of advise, 40% of making a website is actually planning one out. Paper and pencil is your freind in this department.

    Good luck with making a web site, it takes alot of time and effort. Most importantly, unlike an artwork - a website has to be functinal and accessable so do keep that in mind (I see so many artist make website that not only crawl when are loading but have a navigation which is a puzzle to solve).

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    I learned html about 10 years ago, I didn't have access to dreamweaver or wysiwyg editors like that... just notepad- so I used search engines and looked at the source of all my favorite sites. back then this was relatively easy, as most sites were simple html layouts. now css, php, flash, etc. are prevalent, so it's not as straightforward... but the fundamentals are still there.

    My advice, if you're serious about learning how to make a site, is to google some html tutorials, then some css tuts after you're familiar html tags... and to make a bunch of simple sites by handcoding before you attempt to make something final for your portfolio site. Once you're somewhat comfortable with code, Dreamweaver becomes a great tool, because you can fix whatever bugs it creates... and it makes a bunch. Webdesign isn't something you'll learn in a weekend, it's a different way of thinking with its own vernacular, it really requires diving in and giving it time to figure out. It's definitely possible, though, and all the resources are freely available online.

    Good luck!

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  11. #11
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    I traded a friend to make my site back in 95. I art directed and he did the rest. At the time I didn't want to learn another program. He did set me up with a simple html lesson to update a class I had on my site.

    Years later I took weekend Dreamweaver class. The teacher was not that good so while she lectured I began to create my wife's web site and when ever I would get snagged I'd ask the tech person for help. That was very helpful - very. I like Dreamweaver, easy. Take a beginning class.

    Over the years I just figured things out. Last fall I totally redid my site by myself. I thought it would take 2 weeks, it was way more indepth than I imagined, it took 3 months. I hired another friend who is really good at this stuff and he was my tech support and helped to create style sheets. He reviewed the end product and added a pile of back end stuff for search engines and wa-la!

    ~Mark

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  12. #12
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    I learned html about 9 years ago. To this day, I use really simple code. When I do a layout, I create the look I want in CorelDraw or Photoshop. Then I just figure out the code and fill it in with my graphics. It helps to make a mockup. At least that gets it out of your head and into a program. Then, from there, you can visualize how it will fit into other html builder programs or into the code itself.


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  13. #13
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    Quicksilver - That is a really interesting method, great website you have, too. Simple, yet interesting.

    Raykart, Cotron & Magicgoo - Thanks a lot for all the great info. I learned a bit about html in high school but have since forgotten all but the most basic of things. (basically all the tags you can use on the forums...) I'm definitely going to start refreshing a bit and hopefully learning more.

    At the moment, though, I'm probably going to use a combination of the two as Strych9ine mentioned earlier. Design visually in a WYSIWYG with the code off to the side at the same time so I can see what it is doing as I do it (if that makes any sense) and also hopefully recognize just how exactly the editor strays from the proper coding method and clean it up as I go along.

    Thanks again to everyone who has replied... perhaps in a couple of weeks I will have something presentable to show you guys.

    Melissa Renae
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