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I'm helping my sister, who is a stay-at-home mom trying to make ends meet, get her first website up and going. She's got about average computer literacy -- she can surf the web and save a file -- but beyond that, she is starting totally from scratch.
Let's assume that she manages to master a WYSIWYG web development tool. What simple, easy-to-understand resources would you point her toward -- either on the web or in book form -- for everything else, including promoting her site?
I recommend that any beginner learns the code behind the page initially, rather than using a WYSIWYG editor. It doesn't take much to get a basic understanding of how HTML works; it's very simple language. And without a basic comprehension of how it works, troubleshooting the inevitable glitches of a WYSIWIG editor is nigh on impossible.
Understanding the code also allows a webmaster to look at the source of another web page and see how the elements were added.
In addition, from a beginner's perspective, especially if you care about search engine optimization, you will want to be able to see and understand the code in order to correct certain issues. For example, I use Dreamweaver and find that it automatically puts the title tag *below* the meta tags for description and keywords, while it should be above.
I believe once your sister has a basic grasp of the simplest code, she will feel much more confident in her use of the WSYWIG editor.
Hope this helps.
[edited by: mack at 11:15 am (utc) on Oct. 15, 2005]
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ditto....use notepad as your programming software. thats how I learned html back in 1994 vbg
I agree with deadlyminds.
I agree with the idea that you need to learn the code. Something like FP allows you to build a usable website easily. Usable, not good.
The good thing about something like FP for a beginner is that you show them how to toggle between wysiwyg and html.
"Highlight that, hit the bold button." Now look at the code and see what happened."
"Now write something in html." "See what it looks like. Now go into the code and put the tags around it."
Something like FP will help people learn the basics in a fairly fast way. After they get that, you teach them why FP is less than optimal... why includes are better than shared borders, etc. Feed her what she is capable of consuming.
For most newbies, notepad won't do it. In 1994, we only had a few tags and almost nothing else.
Depending on what drives her, that will help pick her content area.
You also ask, and expect, her to read sites like this for hours per day. She has a lot of learning to do.
And I also agree that she has a lot of learning to do. I think the advantage of being a Web-based entrepreneur for stay-at-home parents is the flexibility (work from home whenever you can) and relatively low entry cost. But anyone who thinks it's "easy money" is going to find out otherwise pretty quickly.
Thanks, everyone, for all the leads...I will be sending this thread to her.