There are many ways to build a website. You can either install some software on your computer and design the site offline or you can create it online using web applications that run in a browser. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages.
When creating a website in a browser, the process is often simpler and usually menu driven. It can be very easy to get started and in this tutorial we show how to build a site using 1&1's MyWebsite package.
An advantage of working online is that you can access your site from any computer with an internet connection. The disadvantage is that without an internet connection you can’t edit the site or add content.
For many people an online menu-driven website designer is a good way to get a site up and running quickly because you can get online storage and a unique website address (URL) as part of the deal.
There are many services to choose from and 1&1 is just one example. We will assume you have signed up, at least for a free trial, and this populates a small website with several pages containing dummy text and images.
What you must do is replace them with your own. Elements on the web page such as headings, body text and images can be selected and moved around and opened for editing. The editor enables you to paste text, edit it, add links to other pages and sites and so on.
The site structure can be modified and you can create or delete sections and add or remove pages. A navigation menu is automatically created.
1&1's online designer has some great templates and a good library of images that you can simply drop into pages. The most exciting feature though is web apps. This is a recent addition and they enable you to insert ready-made items such as YouTube movies, a Flickr photostream, Google Maps, Facebook and Twitter integration and much more.
We used a 1&1 Business Plus account, but it all depends on the features you need and a Basic account is £9.99 per month (exc VAT). There are templates from dozens of different market sectors and ours is a hotel, so yours will look different and depends on your business. 1&1 Web Apps are free with MyWebsite Plus and Premium, and you can add 1&1 SiteAnalytics Plus for £4.99. There's even an SEO marketing service to get your site noticed on Google.
Build your first site with MyWebsite
1. Log in to your MyWebsite with your password and in the Control Panel, click Edit Website followed by Open next to the site. There is a panel on the right and clicking Layout displays a gallery of website designs. Choose one for your site.
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2. There's a navigation bar listing the pages in the website template. Mouse over it and click Edit page structure. Click a heading and you can change the text. The trash can on the right deletes the selected page.
3. The template contains ready-made pages. You might not need some and others you would like may not be there. Click the plus in the panel to add pages and the arrows to rearrange their order. The power button hides them.
4. Move the mouse over the image and title at the top of the page and click Edit Header. A panel is displayed with options to change the title and the background image. There are useful editing controls for tweaking the image.
5. You will probably want to replace the template image with your own. Click Select image and a new panel opens that provides options to upload your own image, to search for some suitable clipart or use a pattern. It’s your choice.
6. Move the mouse over the page and click an item, such as a heading or paragraph of text. An editor appears and you can replace the template text with your own, change the image, add hyperlinks and so on.
7. You can go to any page by using the menu as a visitor would. Click Insert Elements on the right and a panel of apps is displayed. There are many more than shown here, so click the browse button to see more and select one.
8. Click and drag a web app to the page and drop it where you want it. Here we have added a Google +1 button. There may be layout and design options, forms to fill in and so on. This one is straightforward.
9. More web apps can be added to the page. Just browse the apps and drag the ones you want to the page. We have added the all-important Facebook Like button and also Yelp reviews. Some aren't displayed in edit mode, so view the site to see how they look.