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and give strength to body and soul." - John Muir   Get Kids Outdoors - Get Active - Get Walking


Want to create a web page the right way?

Then do your best to complete all the steps below. Or buy ''Build Your Own Web Site The Right Way Using HTML & CSS'' by Ian Lloyd. (free sample chapters available)

'' This book is, quite simply, the most easy to understand, fun, and comprehensive guide to learning HTML and CSS!'' - SitePoint.com

Note: The following steps are for those who want to create a personal or nonprofit home page or web site, not a commercial one. For that, check out these e-commerce resources.

Note: The following steps are hidden from sighted visitors and keyword searches with Javascript. If you prefer viewing them without having to click on the links to show them, or want to do a keyword search, or print this page, either disable Javascript in your browser and refresh the page, or view the steps without Javascript.

  1. Standards, Accessibility and Do's and Don'ts | skip
  2. Editors, HTML and XHTML | skip
    • Use a standards-compliant and accessibility-friendly editor or template, or learn HTML 4.01 Strict or XHTML 1.1
    • WYSIWYG Editors
    • WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors allow you to create a web page without having to learn and use HTML or XHTML code (more on them later), but they don't allow you to have as much control over its appearance.
    • If you don't mind that limitation, and want to comply with web standards, use only one of the following WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) web page editors or the TypePad web service (for web journals, photo albums, etc.).
    • All other WYSIWYG editors create HTML and XHTML that isn't standards-compliant, and as a result is inaccessible to visitors with disabilities.)
    • skip
    • Templates
    • As with WYSIWYG editors, using a standards-compliant and accessibility-friendly template allows you to create a web page without having to learn and use HTML or XHTML code, but with limited control over its appearance.

      If you don't mind that limitation, and want to comply with web standards, use only one of the following sites' templates. skip

    • HTML and XHTML
    • Learning and editing HTML or XHTML code in a nonWYSIWYG editor gives you more control over how your web page looks.
    • The original purpose of web page code was to make it easy for database servers, search engines, etc. to find what they and you are looking for and to exchange and share that data.
    • To do that, a set of standard specifications called GML (Generalized Markup Language) was created, which evolved into SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language). It tells devices, web browsers and other software what's called the structure of a web page, a description of its content, as opposed to its presentation, or how it looks.
    • But it's so complex and hard to learn, that the web standards folks at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) created HTML, a limited but easy-to-learn programming language.
    • Unfortunately however, due to fierce browser wars, Microsoft and Netscape later added code to it designed to present or display data, instead of describe them, which made them less searchable.
    • And unfortunately W3C incorporated Netscape's and Microsoft's extensions in HTML 3.2. Because of that, people got used to coding their web pages improperly, instead of keeping structure and presentation separate.
    • To correct that mistake and bring us slowly and painfully but surely back to where data is easy to search again, the folks at W3C separated it into three forms, signified by Document Type Definitions, commonly referred to as DTD: Strict, which doesn't have any presentational code in it, and Transitional and Frames, which do, for backwards compatability.
    • They also created XML, a version of SGML that's slightly easier, but still difficult, to learn, and XHTML, a replacement for HTML and a bridge between HTML and XML, designed to both describe data and display them, without making them less searchable.
    • So web browser programmers, as well-meaning as they were, got us away from the original purpose. HTML Transitional and Frames, because of the presentational code they added to them, aren't able to make data easy to find.
    • But now there's XHTML 1.0 Strict and XHTML 1.1, which are. And the way it's done is by keeping presentation (colors, fonts, layout, positioning) separate from structure, which includes using CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and coding for semantics, and depending on your point of view, keeping structure separate from content as well.
    • But there's a catch. Most servers are serving XHTML web pages to web browsers as regular, but invalid, HTML, or as some programmers call it, tag soup. And only the addition of a bit of code will get your web site's server to serve your web pages as XHTML.
    • The problem is, all versions of Internet Explorer - including 7.0 - are currently unable to render, or process, pages served as XHTML (actually ''application/xml+xhtml'' - this is called a MIME type and is in the web server's "Content-type" HTTP header - HTML uses a ''text/html'' MIME type).
    • And Mozilla-based browsers are currently unable to display such pages as they render them. They only display them after rendering the whole page, which causes a delay of a dozen seconds or more on a dialup connection.
    • So others may disagree, but I personally recommend coding with HTML 4.01 Strict for now to get used to keeping structure and presentation separate with CSS, and consider implementing HTML5 (Web Applications 1.0) when it's issued, until you can someday serve your XHTML pages to Internet Explorer as XHTML and to Mozilla-based browsers without a delay.
    • If in spite of those and other drawbacks you decide to create your web page with XHTML 1.1, the current standard, and your hosting account has access to PHP, Python or an .htaccess file, you can serve XHTML pages to Internet Explorer as text/html with one of the following methods, but that'll make the code invalid, so I don't recommend it.

      (some more information on XHTML's ''dirty little secret,'' the bit of code to serve a page as text/html to Internet Explorer, and as valid XHTML 1.1 to XHTML-supporting browsers, and what's required to make it work)

      If your hosting account doesn't have access to PHP, Python or an .htaccess file, I recommend converting your XHTML pages to HTML 4.01 Strict instead for Internet Explorer. If you're willing to learn a new language, convert XHTML pages to HTML 4.01 Strict with XSLT via one of these implementations for PHP, Python and other server-side languages. XSLT stands for eXtensible Stylesheet Language Transformations and is a complex language that requires in-depth knowledge of XSLT functions and other related technologies like XPath.)

      If you don't want to learn XSLT, use one of the following free XSLT tools: skip

    • Here are some articles to learn more:
    • skip
    • If you want more control over how your web pages look, learn HTML 4.01 Strict.
    • Here are some good HTML and XHTML tutorials compliant with current web standards:
    • skip
    • For nonWYSIWYG editing, use one of these free editors that come with the HTML Tidy validator and support XHTML. (Be sure to clean and validate your code with HTML Tidy to make them standards-compliant before uploading your pages to your web site.)
    • skip
      • HTML-Kit (free - for Windows - syntax highlighter, auto complete, unlimited undo/redo, search and replace, code templates and snippets, over 400 free plugins available, etc.)
      • WebCoder (free - for Windows - has syntax highlighter, AutoProposal and AutoComplete, search and replace, CSS editor, code libraries, built-in FTP client, etc.)
      • tsWebEditor (free - for Windows - has syntax highlighter, code completion, FTP edit, code templates, search and replace, wizards, etc.)
      • EasyEdit or EasyASP (free - for Windows - may not include HTML Tidy)
      • HTML Builder XP Lite (free - for Windows - appears to have been discontinued and downloads)
      • 1st Page 2000 (free - for Windows)
      • SEEdit (free - for Mac OS X)
    • How to Make Accessible Web Content Using Dreamweaver 3.0 and 4.0
    • Accessibility Features of Dreamweaver MX and MX 2004
    • Here are some text editors to edit your web pages with and alternatives to Windows XP's buggy Notepad. (Be sure to clean your code in a separate HTML Tidy software program before putting it online.)
    • skip
      • TextPad (commercial - for Windows)
      • EditPad Lite (free - for Windows and Linux - has unlimited undo and redo, and replace features)
      • NoteTab Light (free)
      • SubEthaEdit (free - for Mac OS X)
      • TextWrangler (free - for Mac OS X)
      • FCKeditor (free - for Windows, Mac OS and Linux - it's named after the author's initials)
      • Nvu (free - for Windows, Mac OS and Linux - a web editor, not just a text editor, but doesn't include HTML Tidy...yet)
      • Tumult HyperEdit (trialware - for Mac OS X)
    • Use HTML Tidy (step 10) to convert your web pages from HTML to XHTML or XML. (Make sure the ''Output to XHTML'' and ''Clean'' settings are set to YES.)
    • How to Convert from HTML to XML with HTML Tidy
    • Hide Step 2
  3. DOCTYPE, Rating and Meta Tags | skip
  4. External CSS and Javascript Files | skip
  5. Semantics | skip
  6. Liquid Design and Testing | skip
  7. Image Optimization | skip
  8. Customized Error Pages | skip
  9. Tips | skip
  10. Validate and Accessify | skip
  11. Web Host / Hosting | skip
    • Find a reliable and affordable web host.
    • Don't have a site yet to put your web pages on?
    • If you want free web space without banner ads or popup ads on your web pages, check out these free web space providers, and these. Look for the ones that don't require you to register or transfer a domain name. Don't ask me how they can afford it, but such providers really do exist! (Some restrictions apply.)
    • RootsWeb's Freepages provides free and unlimited web space for genealogy-related web sites. (One banner ad will appear at the top of each page and one at the bottom.) (Some restrictions apply.)
    • If you don't want restrictions on your account, find super cheap web hosting at FindMyHosting.com. (You won't believe how cheap these are!)
    • Hide Step 11
  12. Some Final Tips | skip
    • Tip 1: Use a Link Checker
    • If you have links to other sites's web pages on your web pages, prevent broken links, also known as link rot, by checking them often with Xenu's Link Sleuth, to find pages which have been moved or removed.
    • Then when you find that a page is no longer where it was when you linked to it, try to find its new address by searching for the title of the page with the search engine on the web site that hosted it or, if it doesn't have one or it can't find the page, search for the page's title, enclosed by quotation marks: ''Page Title'', at one of the top search engines.
    • Note: Search engines' cached copies of pages are stored for a fairly short time, so I don't recommend linking to them.
    • If you can't find the page's new location in the search results, search Archive.org's Wayback Machine for the page's old location. If you find a viewable copy of the page, replace the old location's URL in the broken link with the URL of the viewable copy. Otherwise, remove the broken link.
    • Tip 2: Use an FTP Client
    • If your web host doesn't have an upload utility to upload your web pages to their server with, you'll need to upload them with an FTP client.
    • I recommend avoiding the following FTP clients for the reasons I give for each one.
    • skip
      • AceFTP (saves your password by default and can't be deleted)
      • SmartFTP (saves your password by default, no local files window in the default layout and you have to click and drag to
      • tranfer files)
      • FTP Navigator (only starts in administrator account and the tranfer log is unhelpful) and...
      • FreeFTP (no transfer log and it doesn't disconnect).
    • I recommend using FileZilla, Core FTP or ESftp (requires flash player). They let you choose if you want to save your password before connecting, they have a helpful transfer log and you can transfer files by double-clicking them.
    • Here are some other free FTP clients:
    • skip
    • If your web pages seem boring and you want to make them fun and interesting, there are many web sites that provide scripts, gizmos and services you can add to your web pages for free. If you have your own domain name, check out the free scripts. If you don't have your own domain name, check out the remotely-hosted scripts.
    • skip
    • Hide Step 12

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