with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

Introduction to Website Development

Got to have a web page! Don’t you? Of course you do! Everyone must have one. Well, maybe not everyone, but if you are in business or have something worthwhile to contribute to the world as a whole, then you should join those among the 4.3 billion web pages online…give or take a few.

Whether you are a photographer, writer, in business, or just a glorified employee, having some form of a web page is becoming more and more important. It’s a way to have your say, to show off, to promote yourself and your wares – okay, a web page is a combination resume and online address for a lot of people. Because of this importance and influence on how we, as nature and editorial photographers and writers, work, we’ve written a series of articles to help you get your own web page set up and going.

While it is fairly easy nowadays to get a web site domain name and site set up, and just about every word processing and graphic program can create web pages in a snap, it doesn’t mean you will have a well-designed or search engine-friendly web site. In this new Learning Zone section, we address the issues of creating valid code and passing the web standards compliance tests (validators), show you our HTML and CSS code from our old site, and soon from our new site, so you can learn from how we created our web site, provide extensive resources and information on CSS design elements, including some fun and free pure CSS design experiments, and we even provide a list of books we recommend for you to learn more about CSS, HTML and web page design and development.

Introduction to Designing, Validating, and
Developing Web Pages and Web Sites

Google, one of the top search engines, charts over 250 million searches per month. Few users pass through the top 50 search results to find what they are looking for, with many barely making it past the top 20. When a possible site is found, searchers spend, on average, about one minute on each page they find. With this many searches and billions of web pages wanting to be found, how do you get noticed among the crowd?

The design elements are up to the individual owner and web page designer, but if the page isn’t seen, how can anyone admire the beautiful work? The amount of work you put into making your pages the most beautiful they can be should be balanced by the amount of work it takes to make those same pages become “search engine friendly”.

After suffering through a lot of trial-by-fire learning about web page design and development, we’ve created a series of articles that will help you take the steps you need to increase your visiblity and presence on the Internet. From checking and validating code and links to designing or re-designing your site to be search engine friendly, we’ll give you some tips, tricks, and techniques to attract attention.

This is not a “quickie” submission site, or “how to race to the top in the search engine rankings” article. This is a hands-on, how-to guide to help you develop your web site so search engines will pay attention to you. If you want to climb the search engine ranks, this will get you started. There are no guarantees here. Even if you pay to have someone speed up the ranking process, there are no guarantees. We’re providing information and resources to help. We’ve also included extensive lists of links and resources to help you access helpful information and resources faster, and a checklist to assist with the process.

To be “seen” by search engines, and in turn by the public, you need to have web pages that are:

  • Well-designed
  • Compliant
  • Accessible
  • Search engine friendly
  • Current
  • Fast-Loading

There’s a lot of work to be done, so where do we start? We’ve put together a series of articles to help you get started by validating CSS and HTML web page designs you already have prepared and increasing your search engine ranking. We have a series of articles highlighting specific CSS and HTML techniques that reveal our own web page design and offer a wide range of tips and information to help your own web page design and development. And if you are feeling daring, we have a series of CSS experiments in design to inspire you to the potential, or just for you to steal a design or three. If you want to go further, we’ve prepared a list of books to help you expand your knowledge of CSS, HTML and web page design and development.

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