Now that you've created your page in plain English, it's time to format it so that people on the Internet can see it. Webpages are created using Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML), that has a few formatting guidelines. When the Internet was just introduced, many people who knew the basics of HTML made a killing in the webpage development market, extorting exorbitant amounts of money for creating a few basic webpages. The scene is very different today - anyone can design a webpage and be the proud owner of a mini-website. All it needs is a little time and the inclination. In fact there are so many options today, that you can even create your webpage without knowing HTML!
Online Homepage Builders
The simplest way to create a nice looking page without any knowledge whatsoever of HTML is to use homepage builders. Quite a few sites offer templates for you to build your own homepage. They take you step-by-step through the process of choosing the layout for your homepage and the pictures you'd like there. Based on the content you want to put up on your homepage, the builder creates a nifty looking page for you! In fact, you can create your first homepage by using the HTML Generator I've got on my site!
No knowledge of HTML required.
If you have Microsoft Word 97, you have an option to "Save as HTML". This converts your Word document to an HTML page ready to put up on the Net - as simple as that. If you have Word 95, download the "Internet Assistant for Word" plugin (from the Microsoft site) that will give you that functionality.
However, basic knowledge of HTML will allow you to touch up the computer generated page.
There are a few books that not only teach you HTML, but also give you floppies / CDs with ready-to-use webpage templates. Choose the template you like most, make changes where they ask you to, and you can create a professional looking page in less than 5 minutes!
No knowledge of HTML required.
Beg, Borrow, or Steal!
I learnt HTML without a book or tutorial - I used to use the "View Page / Document Source" option on my browser to understand which tags contributed what effect to the webpage, and then apply them to your page. If you're really lazy, when you see a nice homepage (don't use mine, however), save it (don't forget to save the related images too), replace the original text with your content there, and you've got your page!
However, you need to know a few basic HTML tags to understand and tweak your pages, or you may end up with a messed up homepage!
There are so many software programs that you can download and use to craft your pages by yourself - most require you to know the basics of HTML. HotDog, FrontPage, Netscape Composer, Tarantula, Bodh Tree are a few. My favourite however is HomeSite, small, simple, and easy to use. HomeSite 1.2 is a freeware version, but the advanced versions are shareware.
Varying HTML knowledge levels required.
Either online, or offline, there are tons of resources for you to learn HTML. Online resources include NCSA's beginners guide, and HTML Help.
Offline, my favourite is the Dummies Series, though different books keep hitting the market. Go to your bookstore, browse around till you find a book you're comfortable with, and pick it up.
Either way, you shouldn't take more than 10 hours to learn HTML well.
A few words of caution though: there are quite a few HTML tags that do fancy things, like , or the ability to change font size, type, and colour. Just because you can do it, doesn't mean that you should.
Jazz It Up
Use this page to generate HTML
HomeSite 1.2 (500 Kb)
Recommended freeware HTML editor. Visit their website.
A popular HTML Editor
Beginner's Guide to HTML
NCSA's online guide to learning HTML
Online help for your HTML needs
More online HTML resources
The HTML Guru
Online HTML resources
WebMonkey's HTML Guide
Basic to advanced online HTML help
WebTutor (1.2 Mb)
A step-by-step guide to learning HTML
HTML Reference Library (350KB)
A useful HTML look-up
HTML Font Colorizer (135 KB)
Colouring effects for your HTML. Use in moderation.