Web Tip: Free Tools for Building Your Own Web Site
7 Essential Online Tools
I've built and edited all of the web sites I use to run my
business. I wish I could take credit for the look, but I can't.
I purchased a nice business template I liked, to use as the basis
for all of my sites. You don't have to do that though.
Even though I continue to maintain my sites myself, I couldn't do
it if I didn't have some great tools that make it easy to do.
If you're really ambitious, you can design your own web site from scratch.
Unfortunately, creating and designing a web site from scratch can
be time consuming and expensive. I have yet to find a free graphics editor
that will help you create the kind of stunning graphics you will often see
on the Web.
There are plenty of free web site templates available, even for
business, and you can often use them by simply leaving a link to the site
designer at the bottom of the page.
This is my favorite. I once used their templates before I bought my own.
You'll find hundreds of designs here, and no annoying pop up windows while
you are browsing.
This site has recently undergone a redesign of its own and is
very easy to navigate.
This site offers hundreds of free designs you can use. There are also
links to other resources, including graphics, newsletters, and affiliate
2. Sales Page Template
This nifty little tool is one I stumbled across by accident while surfing
the Web looking for something else. I haven't seen a template like this
It allows you to type in your information for your sales letter.
You can preview what you've created first.
You definitely want to bookmark this site. The webmaster is
constantly adding new templates like this you can use for your business,
and they're all free to use. If you have a newsletter, don't forget to add
it to the directory while you are here.
3. Banner Creators
You'll find plenty of debate on the Web about whether or not you
should use banners on your web site. However, a banner creator can serve
another purpose for you: you can use it to create an original and unique
header for your own web site design.
Free Online Banner Creation
Rather than give you one or two links to some banner creators, you can go
to this site. It offers several different places where you can find banner
creation tools. Also includes a description of each site.
If you are looking to create a text banner, this is a great place to
start. You can also make logos for your business.
4. Graphics Editors
Graphics are definitely not my strong suit. I find graphics
programs to have a steep learning curve, and since I don't use that many
graphics on my web site, I don't have a graphics program on my computer
Even if you don't use that many graphics on your web site,
occasionally you may need to change the size, or add text to a graphic you
You'll find online graphics editors much easier to use than
software. You can quickly crop your graphics or add text to them and have
them done in a few minutes.
This site has a complete graphics program online you can use to edit
graphics or add text to them. It's very easy to use. The only format is
You'll also see numerous links to graphics sites where you can
find plenty of well designed, and free, graphics to use.
You can use this online graphic editor to edit both jpeg and gif formats.
It's also very easy to use.
Since some graphics files can be quite large, causing them to load slowly,
you can use this tool to optimize all of your jpeg files so they load
Offers both jpeg and gif optimization and compression.
There's also another type of graphic editor you can use online if
you need ebook covers for your web site. Below are two places I recommend.
Free Ebook Covers
Ever wonder how webmasters create those cool special effects on their web
sites, or are able to offer message boards, chat, classifieds etc.?
They use scripts.
There are two types of scripts I would recommend you become familiar with:
forms, tickers, popups, etc.
Cgi scripts perform more complex operations. They can be used for anything
from members areas to classifieds, message boards and more advanced chat.
If you can read and follow instructions, you can easily set up your own
killer applications on your web site.
reading and following the instructions.
Certainly, not all scripts will be that easy. Start with the simpler ones
and learn how to use them. Once you feel comfortable with the easier
scripts, try using more complex ones.
The most important thing to remember when using scripts, particularly cgi,
is that, you need to make sure you upload the files in ascii mode.
Otherwise you can get some really nasty 500 internal server errors that
can be difficult to solve.
This site bills itself as the #1 java resource online. You'll find plenty
of scripts for your site.
Offers a number of applets and scripts including games. Very easy to use
and set up.
CGI CGI Extremes
Searchable list of hundreds of cgi scripts.
Hundreds of CGI scripts nicely organized by category.
6. Customer Support
Providing support for your customers and affiliates is one of the most
important things you can do on your web site.
At one time I used Human Click on
my web site. All of the top marketers recommended it.
Human Click changed to a pay model, and that left
Bravenet as the only provider of
A few weeks ago, when I was updating the messenger services on my
computer, I stumbled across ICQ Panels.
Allows you to have a complete messaging system on your web site for your
customers. This includes a place where customers can send you email, as
well as chat with you in real time over the ICQ network. Customers can
also easily page you, no matter where you are.
I found it much easier to use, and ICQ has so many features that you can
have a complete messaging system for your business without shelling out
You can see a live
example on my site.
7. Web Site Promotion
Sooner or later, once you have your web site set up, you'll want to
attract new visitors. Unlike the baseball field in "Field of Dreams", you
have to do more than just build it to get customers to it.
Once again, I am recommending ICQ. It offers you an opportunity to promote
yourself in many different ways. Here is a list:
and Your Homepage on ICQ
Join or Start an ICQ Ring
Join the ICQ Banner Exchange
Post Your Special ICQ Site
Post Yourself on Popular Search Engines
Building a web site can be a time consuming and expensive process. Without
the right tools, you can end up with a web site that looks like a Picasso
painting, instead of a professionally designed virtual business presence.
Use these tools, and you'll have an established web presence that will
keep your visitors coming back for more.
About The Author
Jinger Jarrett is a former newspaper reporter and public relations
specialist who now runs her own online businesses. She will show you "How
to Really Start Your Business in 30 Days". Get her free ecourse now.