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Where to from here?

If you want to take advantage of an Internet Service Provider's Web hosting services, or hire a low-cost, no-cost outfit to host a small-scale website, you'll want to get some idea of what's possible, what works, and assemble enough knowledge to make a credible first effort.

To that end, I urge you to do some reading, some experimentation, and apply yourself to building a modest site to start with, and elaborating as you learn more. Along the way, consider taking some or all of the following steps:

  1. Read a book on HTML or Website design. There are many fine books to choose from, but two of my particular favorites are Elizabeth Castro's HTML 4 For the Worldwide Web, A Visual Quickstart Guide, 4th edition, Peachpit, 2000, ISBN: 0-201-35493-4 and a book I worked on with Natanya Pitts and Chelsea Valentine called HTML 4 For Dummies, 3rd edition, IDG, 2000, ISBN: 0-7645-0723-0. The latter book has sold over one million copies across 7 editions, so it's not just my ego or vanity that's recommending the title.

  2. Take a tutorial or have an online encounter with HTML. I've found the tutorials at www.htmlhelp.com, www.webdeveloper.com, and www.webmonkey.com to be particularly useful. Feel free to use your favorite search engine to find other tutorials you might like better by searching on "HTML tutorial" or "Web design tutorial."

  3. Find some websites you like, and use the "View Source" control in your Web browser to see how they built what you like. Hopefully, you'll have learned enough HTML to puzzle out what you see; if not, repeat steps 1 and 2. Then it's time for monkey see, monkey do.

  4. At some point, you'll be ready to start pulling your own site together. That's when you'll begin using the tools in your toolbox to make things happen. Take comfort from the millions upon millions of sites already on the Web: if they can do it, why can't you?

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