Do you want your own website?
Websites these days are getting easier to own. To have a simple non business site just takes a little bit of learning.
The first thing you need is a way to create the pages on your computer. If you know html code that's not much of a problem but if not there are other ways. Once you have created some pages you need a site to publish them to. That could cost some money but you can find free web hosting if you search for it on a search site like Google or Yahoo!. The main problem with free web hosting is that you have to put up with some kind of advertising and the size is limited. The other option is to pay for a site which can range in cost from around $75 dollars a year to hundreds. Here are some providers: Aplus.net, Everydayconnections.com, Olm.net.
If you are trying to sell something on the Internet then you will pay more. Paying more will usually get you some tech help too. You might check out the options at Ebay and Yahoo!. They can set you up with your own store. If you are a little more knowledgable you might want to try building your own store on a less expensive site.
For this article I will focus on creating a small website for a family or other personal use. The first thing you need is a way to create the pages on your computer. It helps to know html code but now there is a great free program that can help you create without knowing the code first. It's called Nvu pronounced n-view. You can download it for free here. If you have Windows you will want the .exe file. After you install it you need to spend just a little time to learn it. It's not hard and you can play around with it until you have what you want. I used it to create this page.
If you want to learn html then there are other free html editors that you should try. One that I like is 1st Page 2000. It will be helpfull and it will let you work directly with code. Another very good one is HTML-Kit. Another option is to use OpenOffice.org. With it you can save a text or spreadsheet as an html file or you can choose to create an html file directly. Of course, if you have Microsoft Office you can use that. If you want to, you can buy Microsoft Frontpage or Macromedia Dreamweaver. I think Dreamweaver is a better program than Frontpage but it's more expensive too. There are several websites that offer tutorials on html. Try these: Webmonkey, HTML Goodies, 2 Create a Website, or you can run a search for html tutorials.
If you want to use background images you may find some for free on the Internet but you need to make sure that it is truly free and not copyrighted. Also, watch out for spyware on those free clip art sites. If I visit those sites I run a spyware remover afterward.
Once you know how to build the pages then you can start saving them in a folder on your computer. For me I find it easiest to put the html files in one folder and the images in a sub folder of that. You need to make sure your html pages link to where the images are.
One of the difficulties is transfering the files from your computer to the website. I use a program called DeluxeFTP. The details I need, such as the folder to send my homepage to, come from my hosting company. The main home page in most websites needs to be named index.htm. For example, when you go to bschafer.com you are actually seeing the index.htm file.
It might help to take a look at some html examples. If you use Internet Explorer you can view the html code of a web page by clicking on View and Source. The html code will be displayed in notepad; or whatever program is plugged in to the Programs tab of Internet Explorer's Options. This method only shows the html code, it won't capture the images or other supporting files. You can capture a complete webpage by clicking on File and Save As. Then you can save all the files. If this doesn't grab the images you can right click directly on the images and then click Save Picture As.
Ok, now, some people are going to think; why can't I host my website on my own computer? It is possible, I've done it myself, but it's a little extra work. I have used the Abyss Web Server program and I recommend it if you are going to do that. Here is a how to: A Home Server.
Also, you might be wondering why I didn't make this page look like my others. I wanted to use Nvu and create a simple web page like the average novice might. My other pages are linked to a stylesheet and are a little more complex than a simple first timer page. Anyone can view the source of this page and even use it as a template for their own page.