Call to Arms

Get your site-building software in marching order: Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is domination of the World Wide Web!

This is for the do-it-yourselfers out there. We assume you've got a decent computer and the hankering to put your business Web site up for all to see. But you can't do that without building an arsenal of Web authoring software. Thankfully, the days of cooking up a Web page by slaving over a hot text document are over. The current crop of HTML editors provide page previews, tag shortcuts and more wizards than Dungeons and Dragons. There's a program out there for every type of entrepreneur, from rank amateur to technophile. Here's how to get started . . .

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The Basics

First, how will users see your Web site? You've probably come down on one side or the other in the Browser Wars. Maybe you won't touch Microsoft Internet Explorer with a 10-foot cyberpole. Maybe you think Netscape Navigator is just so much Web wreckage on the shoulder of the Information Superhighway. Maybe you don't lose sleep over either one. Regardless, you need them both.

The Web community is split between Explorer and Navigator, so it's essential to design your Web site with both in mind. Most HTML appears pretty much the same using either, but the browsers do have numerous, yet small, differences. It's best to test your Web pages in both before launching them online. Check for a consistent appearance, make sure all links function properly, and pay special attention to any frames, tables, JavaScript or plug-ins that your pages use.

Because a lot of surfers don't upgrade their browsers regularly, you should also test with earlier versions (like Netscape 3.0 and Internet Explorer 4.0). You can visit www.netscape.com to download versions of Navigator and www.microsoft.com to download Internet Explorer.

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This article was originally published in the June 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Call to Arms.

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