How to Create a Website

Testing Your Website

Although I list this step separately, this should be done throughout your web design cycle. I list it separately to give it a little more prominence, since too few new webmasters actually perform this step adequately.

You will need to test your web pages as you design them in the major browsers: the latest versions of Internet Explorer (version 11 at the time of this writing), Firefox, Opera, Safari and Chrome. All these browsers can be obtained free of charge, so it should be no hardship to get them. Unfortunately, directly testing your site in all these browsers is the only way you can really be sure that it works the way you want it to on your visitors’ machines.

If you want to improve the chances that your website will work in future versions of all web browsers, consider validating the code for your web pages. In layman’s language, this means that you should check that the underlying code of your web page, called “HTML” and “CSS”, has no syntax errors. You don’t actually need technical knowledge of HTML and CSS to validate the page, since you can use one of the numerous free web page validators around to do the hard work. On the other hand, if the validator tells you that your page has errors, it may sometimes be hard to figure out what’s wrong (and whether the error is actually a serious one) if you don’t have the requisite knowledge. Having said that, some validators actually give concrete suggestions on how to fix your code, and one of them, called “HTML Tidy”, is even supposed to be able to fix errors for you.

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How to Create a Website (continued..)

Designing your Web Pages

Once you have settled your domain name and web host, the next step is to design the web site itself. In this article, I will assume that you will be doing this yourself. If you are hiring a web designer to do it for you, you can probably skip this step, since that person will handle it on your behalf.

  • Although there are many considerations in web design, as a beginner, your first step is to actually get something out onto the web. The fine-tuning can come after you’ve figured out how to publish a basic web page. One way is to use a WYSIWYG (“What You See Is What You Get”) web editor to do it. Such editors allow you to design your site visually, without having to muck around with the technical details. They work just like a normal wordprocessor.

There are many commercial and free web editors around. For those who don’t mind spending money on a commercial program, Dreamweaver comes highly recommended by many webmasters. If you are planning to use this editor, thesitewizard.com has an online tutorial called Dreamweaver CS5.5 Tutorial: How to Design a Website with Dreamweaver CS5.5. The tutorial takes you through all the steps of creating a fully-functional website with multiple pages and a feedback form, and provides you with the theoretical and practical foundation that will help you create and maintain your site.

If you prefer to use free software, you can find a complete tutorial on using KompoZer, a free WYSIWYG web editor, in the article How to Design and Publish Your Website with KompoZer. Like my Dreamweaver tutorial, this one also guides you through the process of creating a website from scratch. In addition, it shows you some of the main features of the KompoZer software so that you can go on improving and updating your site on your own.

There are many other web design software around. If you prefer not to use either of the above, you can find some others listed on thefreecountry.com’s Free HTML Editors and WYSIWYG Web Editors page. I also have tutorials for a few other WYSIWYG web editors here.

How to Create a Website

In order to make a website, you need many things and here are the steps to create a successful website.

Get Your Domain Name

The first thing you need to do before anything else is to get yourself a domain name. This is the name you want to give to your website. For example, the domain name of the website you’re reading is “thesitewizard.com”. To get a domain name, you have to pay an annual fee to a registrar for the right to use that name. Getting a name does not get you a website or anything like that. It’s just a name. It’s sort of like registering a business name in the brick-and-mortar world; having that business name does not mean that you also have the shop premises to go with it.

  • Detailed information on getting a good domain name can be found in the article Tips on Choosing a Good Domain Name.
  • After you read that, you will need to know the steps to registering a domain name and the things you need to look out for when registering. You can find a detailed guide in the article How to Register Your Own Domain Name.
  • It may also be wise to take a look at some of the Important Precautions to Take When Buying a Domain Name, just so that you don’t commit the same mistakes that some newcomers make when buying a domain name.

Choose a Web Host and Sign Up for an Account

A web host is basically a company that has many computers connected to the Internet. When you place your web pages on their computers, everyone in the world will be able to connect to it and view them. You will need to sign up for an account with a web host so that your website has a home. If getting a domain name is analogous to getting a business name in the brick-and-mortar world, getting a web hosting account is comparable to renting office or shop premises for your business.

After you sign up for a web hosting account, you will need to point your domain to that account on your web host. Information on how to do this can be found in the guide How to Point a Domain Name to Your Website (Or What to Do After Buying Your Domain Name).

Principles of Website Usability (continued)

Credibility

Even if people find the content they are looking for, if they don’t trust you, that content is worthless. Your website could cause site visitors to be skeptical about your business in any number of ways including whether or not you really exist, your reputation, or the quality of your content.

It is important that people know you are a real company with real people. Offer a clear “About Us” page together with your contact details and if possible a physical address.

Of course your content also plays an important role for the perceived trustworthiness of your site. Make sure you are honest and precise about your content. Avoid mistakes, such as incorrect grammar or misspellings. Don’t be modest about your expertise. If you are an expert in your field, make sure people know it. For example, you can show third-party testimonials, work references, or the number of your social media followers to win your visitors over.

Relevancy

It is not enough that your website is clear, your content must also be relevant. Again, it is essential that you know your users and why they visit your site.

Start with defining who your users are. Second, talk to them to find out what their goals are when visiting your site. Third, define user scenarios that demonstrate in which situation people visit your site to find what kind of content. Any design decision that you make should result in a more user-friendly website for your users.

Nike has done an exemplary job in prioritizing their content with focus on their users.

The brand offers sportswear and equipment for different sports. When coming to their website, you can either choose to browse their store by Men, Women, or Kids, or you can browse by sports.  Instead of only grouping people by their age or gender, Nike recognizes their visitors as sportspeople within a certain discipline.

For example, if you are looking for new running shoes, you don’t even care about all the tennis or indoor sports shoes they also have. Nike allows you to browse their store according to your very specific goal.

Principles of Website Usability (continued)

Learnability

It should be your goal to design intuitive interfaces — interfaces that don’t require instructions, or even a long process of trial and error to figure them out. Key to intuitive design is to make use of what people already know, or create something new that is easy to learn.

By now, people are familiar with a lot of design concepts used on the web. By using these concepts consistently, you meet your visitors’ expectations. This way, you help them reach their goals more quickly. As human beings, we like patterns and recognition, which is why we are better at handling familiar situations rather than unfamiliar ones.

If you use new concepts in your design, make sure to use them consistently and give people a hand during the initial learning phase. For example, you can offer additional information, or instructions the first time they use your site or product. Keep it simple and visual to help people remember new concepts.

Microsoft is the perfect example of a learnable website. While the design is very fresh and modern, the layout of the site is classical and in line with what most of us know about websites. At the top left, there is the logo telling us where we are. On the top right, there is a search field, allowing us to search the site for any random term. Below, there is the top navigation menu featuring the central content categories of the site. When clicking on the links, we get a dropdown menu with all the content available within that category.

Then, there is a big visual header element, which alternates between four different images. The header is followed by what we know as content area with a vertical sub navigation menu featuring different topics that can be “discovered” and some highlighted content. Below that, there is a social media section and a comprehensive footer area, which features Other Microsoft Sites and a lot more secondary links.

The site is very clean and easy to navigate. The familiar layout helps people to quickly find what they are looking for.

Principles of Website Usability

Like we talked in class today, web content is very important when creating a website. There are many principles that one can follow in order to have a good website and good usability. Here are 5 steps to follow:

Availability and Accessibility

If people try to access your website and it doesn’t work, for whatever reason, your website becomes worthless.

Amazon.com is a perfect example of an accessible website for several reasons. First, the desktop version of the site is optimized for both tablets and desktop screens. The layout is flexible and adjusts automatically as the screen size is reduced. For mobile, there is an explicit version of the site with a clean interface, less clutter, and a clear hierarchy of the content. This stripped down mobile version works like a charm — even with a slow mobile Internet connection.

Second, Amazon.com has almost no downtime. Obviously, this is what you expect from a company that size. Still, the history of constant availability makes Amazon a reliable and trustworthy service platform.

Last but not least, Amazon is actively concerned with it’s accessibility. On their website, they state: “We’re always looking for ways to improve usability of the site for our customers, including those with disabilities.” For screen readers, they specifically recommend their mobile site with a cleaner presentation of the content.

Clarity

You could say the core of usability is clarity. If you distract or confuse your visitors, they will either need more time to find what they came for, or they might forget their initial goal all together. Either way, they will not experience your website as user-friendly and chances are that they leave dissatisfied and with no intention of coming back.

Visitors come to your site with certain goals in mind. It is your job to help them reach these goals as quickly as possible. If you can manage to do that, your visitors will be pleased and you have laid the groundwork for a positive experience.

Apple is known for its lean and user-friendly products. The extreme simplicity of the brand and the focus on what really matters can also be found on their website.

FIFA Ultimate Team (continued)

Ultimate Team Players

All the players in the FIFA Ultimate team game are split into three categories. There are Bronze players rated up to 65, Silver players rated up to 75 and Gold players rated 75 to 99. These generally reflect their ability in real life and the price reflects their popularity within the game. You can create a team mixing any of them but some competitions offline and online might have to meet certain requirements, more on that later.

Each category is further broken down into Normal, Rare and In Form. Look at the following image which shows one of each for bronze, silver and gold. Normal is a standard card, rare means it is just that and more valuable. Every week in real life some players are outstanding.

Ultimate team on FIFA recognises this and creates new versions of the players with increased better stats. These are called In Form players and become available to buy and are inside packs during each week. EA announce when the team of the week players are available and we let people know on twitter. Easily recognisable as they have black backgrounds and shiny too. Bronze, silver and gold through the middle so you can tell which they represent. If you have a normal version of a card that does not change to the in form version. It means there will be the normal versions of the card available in the game and also the In Form version.

Then at certain points in the year EA release Team of the Year players, Upgrades, Team of the Season players and transferred players. So a Team of the season player will have amazing stats compared to his normal card or even inform card. Player prices reflect demand. So Ronaldo and Messi and now Ibrahimovic will be over 1 million coins. This means you have to try buy and sell players to make coins and play games to make coins, in order to try buy them. Or you could buy packs and hope that you get the amazing players in them. Usually you have to be very lucky to get the top players in packs. You can even buy FIFA points with real money on Xbox or PlayStation to buy packs.

FIFA Ultimate Team

EA Sports is the creator of the most popular online sports video games from Madden NFL to MBA Live. But, the most popular video game in the world is FIFA soccer.

FIFA Ultimate Team explained (http://fifaaddiction.com/ultimate-team/what-is-fifa-ut/)

Ultimate Team is a mode in FIFA where you build teams using any players from all the leagues to play offline and online. There are tournaments where you play to win cups. EA have set tournaments, which are always available, and they also add new tournaments during each month with different entry criteria. Then there are seasons where you play in 10 divisions starting in Division 10 trying to work your way up. You randomly play people online who are in your division and there is no league table. You just have to reach a certain number of points in a certain number of games to get promoted or win the division. If you don’t reach the minimum points you will be relegated to the division below. You can play as many seasons as you want.

Start of FIFA Ultimate Team

Everyone starts off with a team of bronze and silver players and couple of gold. If you have played Ultimate team the previous years (FIFA13, FIFA12 etc) you get free packs when you start a new version of FIFA Ultimate team. Also there is a web app, which starts a couple of weeks before the console release. On there you can see what your starter team is and open any of the free packs (These are seperate to the 24 free packs from the season ticket or the 24 for ordering the game). You can sell anything you receive in the packs but the original players you are given you cannot sell until the game is released. You can also buy players on the webapp to sell and make coins or to put in your team. Also if you login to the webapp daily before the game is released you receive daily gifts, which are just small packs or coins. You might get lucky in any of those packs and pull out a Ronaldo. Usually the packs will be rubbish though. When you use the webapp before the game comes out on the consoles it continues when the game is released. SO whatever you do with your team on the webapp is what you will start with the first time you start Ultimate team using the disc when it is released.

World of Warcraft

Online gaming is another Internet phenomena that keep gaining popularity, and there is one game in particular that blows out all of the others.
What is World of Warcraft?
World of Warcraft (WOW) is an online game where players from around the world assume the roles of heroic fantasy characters and explore a virtual world full of mystery, magic, and endless adventure.
Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game
Games in the same genre as World of Warcraft are commonly referred to as MMORPGs, which stands for “Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game.” Most multiplayer games can accommodate anywhere from two up to several dozen simultaneous players in a game. Massively multiplayer games, however, can have thousands of players in the same game world at the same time, interacting with each other. They are, as the name suggests, massive.
Online
Unlike most games, MMORPGs do not have an offline mode; you need to be connected to the Internet while you play. This doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy these games alone; World of Warcraft offers plenty of content to players who want to go it solo. But since you share a virtual world with other players, you need to be connected to the Internet to join in the fun. Much of the game’s advanced content is geared towards groups of players working together to explore dangerous dungeons and defeat powerful monsters.
Role-Playing
In World of Warcraft, each player character has a specific set of skills and abilities that define that character’s role. For example, mages are powerful spellcasters who use magic to inflict damage on their enemies from afar but are very vulnerable to attacks. These traits define the role of the mage: hang back, do a ton of damage, and hope to kill the monsters before they reach you.