Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Computer Training: Basic HTML - Design Your Own Webpage

Here are some resources and notes for those that attended the Arkansas SBTDC's computer training seminar. Those unable to get a seat in the sold out program might also find these resources useful as well.


KompoZer is a FREE complete web authoring system. KompoZer is designed to be extremely easy to use, making it ideal for non-technical computer users who want to create an attractive, professional-looking web site without needing to know HTML or web coding.

HTML Kit is a full-featured editor for HTML, XHTML, XML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP and other text files. This is what Timothy uses day in and day out. Its FREE too.


One of the biggest time and money savers for small business websites is the availability of free and low-cost HTML templates. Find one you can live with. Change the name and contact information. Swap a logo and maybe a photo or two. Add some text. Then, get your site up and running the same day.

Simple, easy to modify templates include:

Free business web template #17

Free HTML Bleu Red and Brown Business Template


Resist the urge to register a domain name right away. Instead, select a hosting package. You can register your domain name while purchasing your hosting package. Most hosting packages include a FREE domain name. Why pay twice? 

Get a full featured hosting package that offers more than you will ever need. Consider one of the larger Internet buffets that offer all-you-can-eat services. Among these are:

Bluehost.com - Timothy has used Bluehost for several projects.

Hostgator.com - Timothy runs several large portals on a Hostgator account. Consider the Baby Gator plan.

Siteground.com - Recommended for business needing an online customer contact database. Siteground specializes in hosting SugarCRM.

Content Management Systems

A content management system, or CMS, reduces the need to know very much HTML. You can build a sophisticated, full featured website quickly and easily add content and new features.

Service businesses and sales lead generators should consider installing WordPress as your CMS. Its widely used and there are lots of add ons. WordPress is included with the above Internet buffet hosts and installs with a few clicks of the mouse. Nothing to download and install.

Retailers and others selling online should consider installing Zen Cart as a CMS. Zen Cart is also  included with the above Internet buffet hosts and it too installs with a few clicks of the mouse. While the above Internet buffets also offer several other shopping arts as well, keep in  mind that when selling to fellow Arkansas, you must collect city and county sales tax based on the delivery destination. Arkansas has 75 counties and over 200 cities with sales taxes. How are you going to keep track and remit accurate taxes monthly. A solution already exists for Zen Cart, not so the others.

Final Thoughts

Get your site up and going quickly. Don't agonize too much over initial content. It takes 2-4 months to get a new site up and buzzing with visitors. You'll have time for upgrades. Using a CMS like WordPress or Zen Cart makes upgrades fast and easy.

Once your site is up, request a free Search Engine Optimization (SEO) report from the Arkansas SBTDC. A business consultant will examine you site and compare it to "perfect page" criteria and send you a detailed report on what needs to be "fixed" to have an optimum site. If you're paying some one to do the work, request an SEO report when the final draft site is accessible. No sense in paying the designer a second time for work that should have been done right in the beginning.

Best wishes for success...

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