Call to Arms

Extras

NO MONEY DOWN(LOADS)
Software sites where you can try it before you buy it Surf these sites to get your hands on tasty shareware, freeware and demo programs:

Download.com: CNET's massive directory of downloadable software includes entire sections devoted to Web authoring, multimedia and design, and "Webware."
Jumbo.com: A library of shareware and freeware downloads with separate "Business" and "Internet" categories.
Tucows.com: Large software library sortable by computer platform, category and search function (see right). Regional downloading feature improves transfer speeds.

A good HTML editor will handle most of your Web site building, but sometimes extra programs add icing to the Web cake. Our "Hot Buy" (above) adds streaming media to your site. Or try Adobe LiveMotion ($299, www.adobe.com), which creates Web animations and interactive graphics. With a user interface styled after Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, LiveMotion is especially useful for those of you who have Adobe graphics backgrounds.

NetMechanic offers a host of tools for optimizing your site. Its HTML Toolbox searches pages for HTML coding, link and spelling errors. Try it free at NetMechanic.com. (The full version starts at $40 per year for up to 100 pages.) NetMechanic's GIFBot is a freeware program that compresses Web images for faster-loading pages. Never overestimate the patience of a Net surfer when it comes to slow-loading Web sites.

Most important, choose software that meets your HTML comfort level. Any of the programs we looked at can give your online business presence the room it needs to grow.

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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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