FrontPage and Dreamweaver are commercially available and offer a good WYSIWYG editors.
Frontpage 2003 will run you about $200
Dreamweaver will run you about $400
There are also tons of tutorial books about these two products (may I suggest the 'Visual Quickstart Guide' series?).
I'm also sure that many people here will throw in less-expensive alternatives, so don't run out and buy these as soon as you read this. :D
You can also use Coffee Cup HTML Editor, this is cheaper than those mentioned above and is pretty easy to use by comparison to the above for a beginner.
=) Good luck
My web host even gives you coffee cup free with an annual plan. I just googled 'web host coffee cup' and it looks like several do.
A little html knowledge will save you a lot of grief in the short to medium term. The basics can be mastered in about half a day so it really isn't a big deal.
There's a software program caleed "rssEvolution. Check it out.
See also [webmasterworld.com...]
in which several of us pointed out the importance of learning basic HTML, and I added that you can create a perfectly good website without using a WYSIWYG editor at all.
I am fairly new at this. I started out relying on FrontPage exclusively. I soon found that browser problems distorted my pages for many. But I was helpless to do anything about it because I was relying on FP "magic" to produce code which I could not manipulate.
I still use FrontPage but I hand code everything now. HTML is basic but CSS is a must on top of this.
I believe that it is smart to validate your pages with W3C. I found that FP pages usually did not validate.
Learn the basics, hire a webmaster or find a tech partner. I think these are your choices.
I'd suggest coffeecup too, been using it for about 5 years now. Upgrades are free and isn't a hassle to get them either. For a begginer it's ideal IMO. It's primarily a text based editor but it has a WYSIWG panel too, you can place text and images visually then look at the code to see how it was accomplished.
They do offer a free version on their site and is most likely the same version the hosts are offering. I'm not sure how the free version is limited.
On the question of building a 50-100 page site and ranking highly within six months, that's kind of like asking if you can open a new store and have a good business going within six months. Sure, it's possible, but there are a lot of variables.
On how to do it:
In the beginning, at least, pay more attention to your content than to the bells and whistles you can use to present it. You'll get the site off the ground more quickly, the search engines will find you more easily, and the frills can always be added later. (With the caveat that incoming links from other sites are not frills.)
I'm in awe of people who can picture exactly how a page is going to look just through lines of letters and symbols! If you can do that, great - jump into HTML and CSS, and you'll be able to use them quickly. If you're more visually oriented, look for a program that has both WYSIWYG and code views. That way, you can edit the code and learn what it does by using it in conjunction with the WYSIWYG mode. By the time you make 50-100 pages, you'll probably find you're getting the hang of it. Most programs have a 30-day free trial period, which I strongly suggest you take advantage of to find which one works best for you. The one that was most helpful to me starting out is no longer available, so I can't really make a specific suggestion (but after reading this thread, I think I might check out coffee cup).
[edited by: Beagle at 7:54 pm (utc) on Mar. 23, 2007]
I've always used Arachnophilia 4, which is also free.
It's an HTML editor with preview facilities.
Good post Beagle. I think if you have prepared a layout in your mind, it is possible to just put it together with HTML and CSS.
Although some people see things differently and prefer to use a WYSIWYG. Horses for courses.
In the beginning I thought that a wysiwyg gadget was most important. It was mainly my impatience. I had looked at HTML and it looked worse than Greek. I didn't have time for it. Also I thought that I needed visual feedback after virtually every sentence.
Disgusted with FrontPage, about a year ago, I downloaded a popular text editor, one that was recommended by several people here on WebmasterWorld. I found that it did nothing that FP didn't do just as well. Plus FP has a very effective search and replace function that is very handy when you need it. I put that text editor aside and now as an old song says "I can't even remember her name!"
Then I discovered that if you design a page or a family of page templates, that meet the tests of good design, immediate visual feedback is unnecessary.
It is in the page design, validation, screen resolution and browser testing that the code knowledge is critical.
Once you have some good design, both technical and aesthetic, you can write more freely without needing to check every sentence. Wysiwyg becomes significantly less important.
Beagle recommends keeping your design simple. That is very important. But the pages must work in, at least, Firefox and Internet Explorer. They must work consistently. They must download quickly. There is nothing so amateurish looking as a webpage that has gotten all botched up on an 800 x 600 screen resolution.
|Then I discovered that if you design a page or a family of page templates, that meet the tests of good design, immediate visual feedback is unnecessary. |
I couldn't agree more. When I started designing sites, people want consistancy in their site, in other words, with the exception of content, the pages should look the same. So I first used frames (don't flame me for that!) then I was able to quickly pick p the basics of CSS by downloading free templates (Google: "Open source web design") and peeking at their code. I spent time editing the code (stylesheet.css) and saw what did what until I felt comfortable making my own pages.
Now, I make full use of CSS (doesn't interfere w/ spiders like frames do) and the PHP require (); command (to allow easy editing of headsers, footers, etc.. and I usualy have a blank template.php stored locally with the web site incase I need to add a page or tow ( just have a bad habit of not renaming it before I save it :) .
Design a template, fill the "content" part with a few lines of text or blah, and then preview it. Tweak the design until you and/or your client likes it, then go with the content.
I've heard that some programs, including FrontPage, create some clunky code that displeases Google. Anyone else hear anything about this?
I use FrontPage. Originally I relied on it entirely. I soon found that relying on FP for all code is not a good idea exept for the simplest website. I originally had the 2000 version. Later I upgraded to the 2003 edition. I have not used FP generated code, however, for several years.
FrontPage has some strong features such as the code snippets that help you to get the right tag info with the right spelling. FP uses color to tell you when a tag is complete or when a tag closing is needed. FP also has a powerful find and replace feature that can be a big time saver when tags, declarations, word spellings, word replacements or any other change occurs that requires change to many pages.
In early 2006 FP was discontinued by MS. I find it to be a very stable program with no problems. However, factory support will be terminated.
So FP is a good editor. However, I have dispaired of using a WYSIWYG web editor. Left to its own devices FP will generated bloated code that will not validate and is likely to look very sad in alternative browsers and screen resolutions. It is, however, a good text editor.
If you are looking to do webmastering professionally or you expect to be doing it for a long time my adivice is to learn the basics. The pro's are coming up with new htm/css/various script innovations and solutions all the time. You can't take advantage of the web's growing knowledge to improve your WYSIWYG code if you don't know good code from bad. You could end up two or three years down the pike with websites that can't be fixed or which must be built all over again.
I'm new too and not much is coming easy to me (not that I thought it would). The info above will give me some more ideas of where to start to begin pulling the info I need to learn. When lacking the skills it feels a bit daunting.
How is Nvu in relation to coffeecup? I've just started my first website using Nvu, which is great for helping me to figure out how to manipulate the html and css, but I'm starting to think I might want something a little better. I really don't want to drop $400 on Dreamweaver.
I personally recommend Dreamweaver after using most of the others mentioned. It is more expensive, but well worth it. It is not hard to get started with for a novice and Dreamweaver will be able to handle all of your needs as your knowledge and skills grow.
I was not happy with Frontpage at all.
What's even cheaper than Frontpage, if you have XP Pro on your machine or Windows Vista, you can try installing .NET 2.0 framework and then installing the FREE Visual Web Developer 2005 Express from ASP.NET. It is all free. Your web site would be an ASP.NET 2.0 site, but you would need no knowledge of .NET or HTML using Visual Web Developer 2005 Express.
A content management system may be a good idea. With a CMS you are able to manintain and update your site using nothing more than your web browser.
This will however involve a little it of knowledge to get it set up, most CMS aplications come with good instruction files, there are a lot of CMS programs that are freely available.