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Easy Web Design Programs  

You don't need an expensive, complicated software program to build a useful website. Lots of simple, inexpensive, programs can do it.

For my first website I wrote the HTML code by hand because that was the only way to do it at that time (mid-1990s). Then I went through software hell buying expensive, buggy early website-design programs. I wasted way too much time and money on them.

Now I use a program called Dreamweaver (part of Adobe's website-design suite). It's sort of expensive, annoyingly buggy, overly complicated, but extremely powerful. I'm still climbing its learning curve, but I figure that, like word processing, web design software is just something I have to learn to stay current in the writer's craft.

In effect, knowing how to design websites gives me the ability to publish immediately to the entire world, forever, at very low cost. It allows me to easily put my entire brain online and earn a living from it.

There are simpler, cheaper programs:

iWeb: If you bought a new Apple Macintosh computer in the last few years, you probably already have iWeb (part of the iLife suite) on your computer. Use it! It's probably the easiest web design software on the planet. If you don't have it, it's worth buying.

RapidWeaver: This inexpensive program from RealMac Software makes it easy to get a website online quick!

Microsoft's Front Page is perhaps the best known web design program for Windows computers. Many people used it (and I know one writer who designed a very successful, highly profitable website with it). Unfortunately, Front Page was discontinued in 2006. Microsoft's new programs, SharePoint and ExpressionWeb, are more complicated and powerful than FrontPage was. They're aimed at professional designers.

If you use a Microsoft program, you're liable to be trapped in Microsoft's web (pun intended) because Microsoft designs its programs to work best with its other programs (and sometimes not with general-standards programs). For example, SharePoint is meant to be hosted on a Microsoft server. If your website host does not use Microsoft programs on its server (and most web hosts do not; they use an open-source program called Apache), SharePoint may not work on the server.

The company that provides the Internet connection to your home, your Internet Service Provider (ISP), probably includes some web-design facility and website hosting capacity to you as part of their service to you. In other words, you are probably already paying for all you need to get online, at least in a simple way, right now.

There are also free (or cheap) website-publishing services that help you to set up your own simple site using their software and/or templates:

BuildAWebsiteTonight.com may be your best bet: you can get a simple website up quickly and cheaply, and you own and control all of it.

Homestead.com will help you build a website, but then they get to put their ads on it, which means you can't put your own ads on your own site, and ads are going to be a major source of revenue for you. This might be good to get going quickly, with a move to another server later.

Tripod.com is in between: you can build your simple website for free, but then they put their ads on it; if you pay a bit more, they don't put their ads on it.

Even if you decide to employ a web designer, the more you know about the nuts-and-bolts of how websites work, the better you can optimize the content of your site for success.

Do It Yourself or Hire a Website Designer?

Finding a Web Designer

What Makes a Good Website?

Your Website's Design

How to Make Money from Your Website

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Tom Brosnahan