Roadmap of Resources Net Life Regional News Regional Events Calendar About the KnowledgeWay Home Site Map Search Contact Us Home
 Strategic Initiatives: KnowledgeWayWORKS KnowledgeWayVOICE Research & Education Collaborative
    Home : Net Life : Creating A Web Presence 
Creating a Web Presence
 
Net Life
The Basics
Creating a Web Presence
 
Introduction
Strategic Considerations
Content Considerations
Web Server and Internet Access Considerations
Design Considerations
Using Vendors
Evaluating Web Sites and Designers
Planning For The Future
Resource Locator
Electronic Communications
Electronic Publishing
Electronic Commerce
Online Marketing
This section of "Living in a Networked World" explores the strategic and design issues you should consider when planning your own Web site. Additional sources of information are listed near the end of this page.

Introduction

Once you've seen the possibilities of the Internet and the World Wide Web, you may wonder how to become a content provider and make your material available to others on the Web. It's not that hard. If you're ready to take that step, the following overview will help you get started. Also included are pointers to online resources and tutorials. If these concepts are new to you, please take some time to review The Basics: An Overview of the Internet and the World Wide Web.

A Web presence may be as simple as a family "home page" that lists a family's favorite sites and links around the world. It may be as complex as a large newspaper, containing audio and video files and involving sophisticated search tools. Both projects vary in scale, but include the same basic development considerations. Your decisions on how to proceed will be integrally tied to your goals and resources ­ especially your financial, time, technical and creative resources.

As a Web content provider, you need:

  • A method for designing and developing the "pages" which make up your Web site. Although the medium and process are different, this is akin to the way you design and write a brochure. The pages may contain text, graphics, audio, video or other files. They may also contain hypertext links to other resources on the Internet.

  • A place to store the files for your site, on a computer called the Web server. This computer runs Web server software which can communicate with the browsers people use to access your site. A Web server can be as simple as a Macintosh in a k-12 classroom, or as complex as a UNIX system at a university workstation. Server software exists for many computer platforms.

  • The Web server must have a dedicated connection to the Internet through an Internet Access Provider. If you want your Web pages to be accessible all the time, the Web server must have a direct Internet connection.

Getting your site up and running, not to mention updating and maintaining it, can involve quite a number of tasks.

Before you design your Web pages:

  • Frame your goals and purposes.
  • Develop content. What information will you present, and how?
  • Think interactive. What information do you want back from the users?
    • Demographics?
    • Suggestions?
    • Electronic mail?
Now you have your design considerations and you're ready to create your pages:

  • Define, layout, tag, and test pages using HTML (hypertext Markup Language), a simple, page description language.
  • Load files onto the server and prepare them for access.
  • Validate the HTML tagging, verify links, and test for usability.
  • Master the file formats for your various content: In addition to text, you may have picture files, audio files, etc..

Now that your server is ready:

  • Secure a direct connection to the Internet.
  • Schedule acquisition of new content. Nothing is worse than stale information.
  • Schedule hardware and software maintenance, upgrades, and backups. What will happen if your server hardware fails, and you're out of town?
  • Enable optional services such as firewall security, user registration, user authentication, or use statistics. Provide hooks to external databases for facilities of electronic funds transfer.
  • Register and promote your site so others can find it.

And this task list is by no means exhaustive, but don't let it frighten you. If you are interested in mastering the necessary technical skills and welcome a challenge, you can do all of the above on your own. Many individuals create and operate their own sites, and organizations often divide the work among teams.

Most new content providers, however, outsource some or all of these tasks to others. If you don't care to design an original page, you can use existing, often free, templates. If you don't have the computing power or fast Internet connection at your facility, you can rent Web space on someone else's computer (a commercial online service provider, for example).

Even if you intend to outsource all or most of the work, you or someone on your staff should be familiar with the basic concepts in order to make informed and effective decisions.

Additional Information Sources

The following list of sources is a small sample of the resources available to you.

Books:

  • The World Wide Web Unleashed, Second Edition. By John December and Neil Randall, Sams Publishing.
  • Using the World Wide Web, By Bill Eager, QUE.

Online Information:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Online:

Newsgroups:

Mailing Lists:

To subscribe to one or more of the following lists, send an email message of the form request-address@w3.org with the word subscribe as the "subject" of the message (NOT the body). The request-address options are indicated below. Instructions for subscribing to World Wide Web email lists is available.

  • For technical information about HTML issues use:
    www­­
  • For technical information about general Web issues use:
    www­­
  • For technical information about Style Sheets use:
    www­­

Once you have sent the email message to the request-address (an example would be "www-html-request@w3.org"), you will start receiving regular email messages from the rest of the participants. If you are new to the Web, HTML or the Internet, you may want to wait a while and simply read the periodic messages you will receive. Once you feel you have something to add you should send the comment or question you have to the list-address for the group you have joined (an example would be "www-html@w3.org"). It is very important to understand the difference between the request-address and the list-address. You will annoy hundreds, if not thousands, of people if you are not careful. Novices should consider reading the News Groups (such as news:comp.infosystems.www.misc forcomp.infosystems.www.*) for a period of time as an alternative to joining the technical Mailing Lists above until they are confident they can understand and contribute. Please also consider simply using your Web browser to view the archives for the most prominent Mailing Lists. They are updated regularly and you are never more than a few hours behind the actual participants in the List. You also do not clutter your inbox with messages that are sometimes of little use !

Mailing List Archives: (An alternative to joining a mailing list)

A mailing list archive consists of the collected contents of the actual email messages sent by all the participants on the list. Archives can be viewed with a Web browser and do not require you to actually join the list. We encourage you to browse the archives of a list you are considering joining to understand the issues that are being discussed before actually joining the list.

HTTP-WG - The Hypertext Transfer Protocol Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Working Group mailing list archives at University of California - Irvine.

Conferences and Seminars:
Listings of regular and upcoming Web-related events are available on the Internet.

Training and Education:
Many training and educational programs in the Potomac KnowledgeWay are available for people looking for personal or classroom education.

  Top of Page Top of Page
Content copyright © 1999-2014 Morino Institute, All Rights Reserved.
Copyright © 1999-2014 Potomac KnowledgeWay Project. Acceptable Use Policies.