So you want to be a web geek? why, might I ask?!

Be careful - it can be very addictive. The web, we've discovered, is an incredible forum that will change the way you think of information, knowledge, business and more. If you want it, it's out there. The only problem is that there is SO much information out there it can be overwhelming. Where do you start? We went through that learning curve, and want to save you the same trouble. We started as novices and we still very much are, but here's some advice.

Setting up a free site: Several places will give you a free spot to design a site in exchange for letting them put some advertisements on your page. Hey -- it's free. After shopping around, these were the three we considered. Note that all of these sites contain tons of information on how to get started, templates to design a site, and a section of gizmos that you can add directly in to your site.

Software to use: We use Frontpage now, but you can also use Netscape Composer. These are graphical layout web design packages that don't require knowledge of HTML. However, we learned HTML to start -- it's really, really simple (and sick that programmers get paid so much) and will enhance your understanding of everything. We most highly recommend looking at Joe Barta's 6 lesson guide - it is fantastic! Remember if you sign up with Tripod, Geocities and Spree, they offer a lot of online tutorials, templates and support. Other good HTML guides include (we chose sites because they are informative, easy to follow, load up quickly and are well layed out):

We also recommend the use of Adobe Photoshop, which will allow you to manipulate images. Right now we mainly use it to reduce the resolution and size of photos - which is critical if you want the page to load up quickly!

Gizmos: There's a ton of gizmos out there, of which many are annoying, few useful. Here's what we think are useful (we won't bother to tell you about the ones we sifted through and rejected for one reason or another). These are all FREE.

Places with great resources: Having talked to enough web geeks now to satisfy me for a lifetime, here are the sites these turkeys look at, and I'm starting to too (yikes!). We've only learned HTML; there's all this other mumbo jumbo out there, like Javascript, CGI, DHTML that we don't even know about... As if anyone can keep up!

Assessing your site: Run it through the web garage for a quick tuneup and useful suggestions. Also, perform a spell check on your site at Webster's.

Registering with search engines: This still annoys us; we just can't figure how to get in the top 10. Just submit your own URL in what are now recognized as the top sites: Yahoo, Excite, Lycos, Infoseek, Altavista, Hotbot, AOL and Webcrawler. You can only submit to Yahoo if you have a domain name.

Final advice: Set a time limit on how much time you want to spend learning. Cap it -- or you will never see the light of day!

Happy designing! E-mail us and let us know if you found this page useful -- and give us tips and advice. We need it!

- (a little) China Insight
April 6, 1998

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This page authored by:
Michael Wenderoth
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Last updated: April 14, 1998.