Every time I check, I read that most businesses that want to have a web site, don't have one. Some business owners have had a site, or started the process to get a site, but eventually still ended up not having a site. Others have a site, but don't know how to update it themselves so they either get rid of it, or pay someone to update it for them.
If you can send an email link, you can create your own website.
There is an excellent, free and very easy to use program called kompozer that makes updating and creating websites nearly as simple as writing emails. My advice is simple: Get this free program right now! (If you are a web developer and want to help your friends and clients, start by downloading KompoZer portable to a USB drive.) Kompozer is a what-you-see-is-what-you-get program (WYSIWYG) like Microsoft Word.
If you feel unsafe clicking links, go to Google.com and search for "site:download.com kompozer" (CNET's safe downloading site) or just "download kompozer." Otherwise, click here and follow CNET's instructions. It doesn't install ads, spyware or anything of any kind you wouldn't want on your computer. In fact, there is no installation process. It just lets you create and update website pages.
But, download the software now, before reading further. Do it NOW! If you don't use it later, fine. But if you want to use it one day, it will be on your computer, and you won't have to find this download link again. I suggest saving it to your desktop so you can find it easily. So: stop reading, and download the software first. Right now!
Start using KompZer
It's a relatively small program, and won't interfere with the operation of your computer in any way, so the next step is copy it somewhere so you can use it. Right now. No installation necessary. Double click on the file that was downloaded to your computer and a window will open. There will be a folder named "Kompozer" with a number after it. Copy that folder to your desktop (or wherever you wish) and double click on the folder. Look for the file named kompozer (or kompozer.exe). Double click that file and the program will open.
Type a few words in the big empty space in the right-hand area of the window that opens. Now highlight a word or two and experiment with clicking the a A B I U letters in the toolbar near the top of the window. These will make your words Bold (B), Italic (I) and so forth. You are now formatting text on a web page!
KompoZer tutorial and user guide
Next step: either read this kompozer short tutorial, or keep playing with the program to familiarize yourself with it. I suggest not using the help within the program. Instead, for the KompoZer user guide, click here. Really: click the link for the user guide. You won't find this information easily anwhere else.
Here's a useful tip for editing an existing page: type within what you want to change so the formatting stays the same. Say you had yellow bold text and highlighted text you wanted to keep (for example). Follow this three-step example:
- This is the page before editing
- Type inside the existing words when making changes:
This Different words go here is the page before and more words here editing
- Then delete the words you don't want:
Different words go here and more words here
Formatting on a web page can be endcoded in many different ways. If you are editing something that is already formatted, save yourself the headache of learning about CSS and HTML formatting and just use the above method to ensure you keep what is already working on your page.
Advanced tip for updating your site
Once you have a website that you are working on, you will be creating or updating pages on your computer, and then sending them to the website so the world can see them. The "sending" part is done by what is called "ftp." I use Kompozer for editing, and a separate program for sending by ftp (which just means "file transfer protocol"). The site manager sidebar in Kompozer works fine for this, but is missing one option: automatically send all updated pages.
If you want a one-click solution that will automatically update your website with whatever changes you have made, read this article about using a separate program for ftp. Works on Window, Mac, Linux, etc.
Use design templates to create your own site
Here are some great sites that give away excellent free website designs:
Alternatives for free WYSIWYG design software for creating an add-free site on your own domain
Blogger is one service that lets you have your own domain, and still use their hosting, templates and editor. Unlike many other free services, they don't require you to show their ads. Some I've seen that look like a good fit (but that I haven't tried) include:
Continuing education and advanced techniques