Learning Basic HTML
Ok, no getting around it, you’ve got to learn some HTML! You don’t have to be great at it, but you really do need the basics. Even if you choose to write and format everything in Word and use PDFs for your ebooks, white papers, articles and the like. You will still need to be able to change headlines on your website, create or change ‘thank you’ and ‘sales’ pages, and add things quickly to your website.
There is a wonderful membership website that I once enjoyed. The site is filled with Internet Entrepreneurs who are successfully running an internet business. There are a series of detailed interviews discussing how each of them got to be successful. Without exception, every single business owner said ‘you have got to do your own website’. The number one regret by those who hired others was the money they spent on web designers. They all learned HTML in the end.
Now I am not saying that you will be stuck building your own websites forever and ever… in fact, I encourage everyone to have “propellerheads” on their team. Its just that even when others are building the sites for you, you will still want to be able to gain access and do some minor changing of copy, colors, font sizes and the like.
HTML is the language of websites. You use HTML to make your fonts large, change colors…
Start a new paragraph, insert a picture…
I am not the best source to teach you. However, Annabella is! She has a wonderful website where I learned HTML. It’s located at: http://www.annabella.net/html.html
Once you get through Annabella’s site here is a handy HTML reference guide: http://www.devx.com/projectcool/developer/reference/tag-table.html
Here is one more great learning site: http://www.utoronto.ca/webdocs/HTMLdocs/NewHTML/htmlindex.html
There are other languages that have been created after HTML. Java, php, and others. However, you will find that for most needs, a bit of HTML is all you need. Anything more complex is best handled by your propellerhead, unless you have plans to really master this area of web design.
At some point you will need an HTML editor. This is a handy tool that lets you see what it is you have created. Let’s take a quick look at the most popular ones.
Microsoft FrontPage® is very popular. It has a lot of great functionality allowing you to build a site from scratch. It’s a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor that lets you graphically design your web pages. It’s one of the easier ones to learn. Though you will still spend a week or two banging your head trying to figure it all out (assuming you are a beginner). One of the things I like about it is the ability to “split” the screen and see the HTML code along with what the web page looks like.
Dreamweaver is supposed to be the best. It’s the high end program that does everything but the dishes with regards to website design. The learning curve is high. And frankly, if you aren’t going to be building sites right along, it’s expensive.
There are website builders out there that take all the pain out of building websites. You provide the copy and the graphics, and they manage the rest. The one we like at the moment is XSitePro. It is relatively easy, quick and inexpensive as these things go. They also don’t appear to leave a “footprint”… something that the search engines look for to see if your sites are mass-produced.
Check out our resource page at http://www.BizRecipes.com for this resource along with our many, many favorite things.
I have used a little free HTML editor that is quite delightful. You can download it at: http://www.evrsoft.com
It’s called 1st Page 2000 and we used it for several years before moving to FrontPage®. I always like to include a free tool wherever possible for those who must be extra careful with their dollars.
What can I say? You just have to sit down in front of your computer and do it. This is one of those skills that you will have forever. And you will be very glad you learned it.