Web sites on the Internet are constructed of virtual pages of information, which can include multimedia such as photos, video, sounds, animation or graphics. You have two main choices when constructing a Web site: do it yourself, or hire an expert. Opting for the do-it-yourself method will entail wearing many hats. You must design your page, write your copy, select and scan the photography and graphics into a computer, or convert computer-generated graphics.
If you want to create a really basic Web page with text and stationary graphics you can use a program called an HTML Editor to create the page. You will not need to learn Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) if you are using an HTML Editor, most of which you can download right off of the Internet. Some are free and some must be purchased.
If, however, you want your Web page to have animation, tables or frames, you will need to learn HTML, a set of commands that instructs the Web server how to display your material.
Before constructing your own Web site, observe other sites. Ask yourself what works, advises Jill Ellsworth. What, to you, seems visually pleasing? Which sites would you visit again? Is the site easily navigable? Can you communicate with the site through e-mail? What would you emulate? What would you avoid?
The Whole Internet Catalog at Global Network Navigator (http://gnn.com/wic/wics/index.html) offers links (a link, or "hot button," refers you from one Web page to another) to sites throughout the Web with their "Best of the Net Page," "50 Most-Accessed Links" and "New Sites" sections.
Once created, your pages will be made visible to users on the Internet via an Internet service provider (ISP). The ISP puts your Web pages on their server, which has a live, 24-hour-a-day connection to the Internet. Basically, your pages sit on your ISP's Web server until another computer asks for them. The requested information then travels from your ISP's server over the Internet to the seeker's computer. If you're currently online, check the features of your Internet provider; some ISPs offer packages that include server space along with access.
Setting up your own page is not impossible. Nowadays, colleges offer continuing education classes in HTML, and there are a plethora of books available. Amazon (http://www.Ama zon.com--or call 800-201-7575) offers a selection of over one million book titles, many at a discounted price, including such books on HTML as Creating Cool Web Pages by Dave Taylor (IDG Books Worldwide, $19.99) and Using HTML by Tom Savola (Que Corp., $39.99).
Hiring someone to do all this makes setting up easier, but more expensive. Some Internet service providers offer full set-up services. Or you may want to hire a Web consultant or graphics firm to design the site, and obtain the domain name, or Internet address, and a service provider yourself. If you do hire someone to design your Web site, be sure you own the copyright to the work, so you can alter the site in any way you want--and have complete control over it without paying any future fees to the designer.
A domain name is any name that represents an address on the Internet. Inter-Networking Information Center (InterNIC) (http://www. Internic.net) tracks and assigns domain names within the United States. (Every country has its own tracking center.) The names are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis and cost $50 a year. According to The Internet Business Center (http://home.tig.com/cgi-bin/genobject/ibc), as of May, 1996, over 325,000 domain names have been registered at InterNIC.