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Build a Website - part 1 (click here for part 2)


So you think you'd like to build a website. Good - go for it. You will be surprised what you can create quickly and easily with just a little knowledge. Then you can go on to create some whizzier stuff as you build on your knowledge and experience.

This document is a brief introduction to what you need to think about when building a website for the first time. You should build your website with XHTML and CSS initially, then you can use javascript and PHP to add some whizzy dynamic content later. After you have something that you'd like to release to the world, you will need to think about a domain name, hosting and how to transfer your website files to a live webserver.


The following sections introduce the topics that you need to know about and give you some website URLs for tutorials and other information. Read through the below sections and do the tutorials as you go. As you get hands-on practice, the concepts and the way it all works will fall into place and you will soon be able to add your own website to the World Wide Web.


What is XHTML?

XHTML consists of tags that are used with the text, images and links etc on the webpage to define them as elements to be displayed in the browser. As you write XHTML, you will use certain syntactical patterns (instructions to the browser) to create what you want. Below are one example each of the syntax used to show an image and a hyperlink on a webpage.

Using XHTML to display an image

<img src="/images/my_image.jpg" alt="John" />
<img tells the browser that it is to display an image.
src="" tells the browser where to find the image.
alt="" tells the browser what text to display if the image is not displayed.
 /> closes the image tag.

Using XHTML to create a link

<a href="" target="_blank">Go to the BBC website</a>
<a tells the browser to create a hyperlink to another page or resource.
href="" tells the browser the address (URL) of the target webpage.
target="_blank" Tells the browser to open the target webpage in a new window.
target="_self" (You would use this to open the target webpage in the current window).
Go to the BBC website is the text for the hyperlink.
</a> defines the end of the link.
Go to the BBC website

What are the differences between HTML and XHTML?

HTML and XHTML are markup languages, which define the structure of the webpage. XHTML is the more modern version of HTML and you won't initially notice many differences between them. You will need to do the below mentioned HTML tutorial before the XHTML tutorial and the differences will become clear.


These tutorials will give you a good introductory knowledge of what you are letting yourself in for and you will be pleasantly surprised at how much you can do very quickly and how much you will enjoy it.



By: John Wells


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Related Articles:

Build a website - pt.2
SEO - unwrapped
Search Engine Submission
SEO - content/backlinks
SEO - tags
Monetise your website


What is CSS?

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) defines the presentation of the webpage and is the correct way to style the content of the page. It is used to define text size, font and colour, and to define the size and position of an image on the web page and just about everything to do with the cosmetics and layout of the web site.

An example

If you want all the images on your page to be 90 pixels wide and have a blue dotted 2-pixel wide border, you could use the below CSS:
Flowers <style type="text/css">
    border: 2px red dotted;
    width:  90px;

CSS is very versatile, so you can style the borders of different images in different ways. A sensibly and logically built CSS script for your website will allow you to easily make sweeping changes across the whole site, which would otherwise be a nightmare.


This CSS tutorial will show you what CSS is all about and give you some good experience of using it.


Article by John Wells  (jump to part 2 here...)
August 2007  


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