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Web News & Tips - Issue #220

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Do-It-Yourself Web Design for Home-Based Businesses

By Vishal Rao

Home-based businesses need a strong web presence to combat the inflated advertising and marketing budgets of their larger competitors, but establishing that presence through a professionally designed and developed web site may not be an affordable option. In many cases, the only cost-effective way to get the web site you want for your business is to do it yourself.

Even if you are not experienced in HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), you can find helpful programs which will assist you in your design efforts. Trust me, it is not as difficult as it may seem to be.

Here are a few tips for finding software to meet your small or home-based business's needs.

1) Know Your Options

When it comes to web site creation software, there are three types to choose from: text editors, HTML editors, and WYSIWYG editors.

Text editors, which are basically any word processing program such as Word or Notepad, require extensive HTML knowledge. 

HTML editors are much like text editors except they include additional features to aid inexperienced users, such as color-coded tags and pre- prepared CGI and Java scripts. If you have little or no experience with HTML, WYSIWYG editor is a better choice.

WYSIWYG, which stands for What You See is What You Get, programs like FrontPage or DreamWeaver allow you to design the pages' appearance without writing code. You pick what you want and the program automatically generates the code.

2) Look for the Features You Need

When you start browsing for web site software, you'll want to look for a few key features, such as ready-made templates, wizards (they make many tasks easier and quicker), auto-backup, and pre-built code.

Remember to also keep in mind your own level of HTML experience. If you are inexperienced, then you will want plenty of templates and wizards to help you along. Likewise, if you feel comfortable working with code, then you may want to choose programs without all of the bells, whistles, and help since they will cost you less.

3) Do Some Research

Never buy a program, especially not one for business, without trying it out first. Most of these programs have demos or free trials available on their manufacturers' web sites. You can also check with sites such as or Epinions to get an idea of which programs are being recommended by users. Check with popular computer magazines for their experts' input as well. 

All of this research will give you a good idea of which programs to explore and which to avoid when you are making your final buying decision.

4) Keep in Mind Your Budget

Depending on which type of web design program you choose, your costs will vary dramatically. Text editors, for example, are often already on your computer. Notepad, a feature of Windows, makes a very usable text editor and will cost you nothing extra. 

HTML editors, on the other hand, can cost anywhere from $30 to $100 while WYSIWYGs are priced between $70 to $500 and up.

Well-known brands, such as Adobe and MacroMedia, will cost more but the quality of their programs and the stability of their company make them a better choice than the inexpensive software from unknown vendors. 

Also, be sure to look for programs that offer free or reduced price upgrades so you continue to get the most from your software without paying full price again every two or three years.

With these tips, you should have no trouble finding an HTML program that fits your needs and your experience level so you can create your own professional-looking web site without draining your business's budget.

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Web News

Despite a year of record-breaking digital attacks, and global discord that bares chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats, roughly half of worldwide businesses don't have a complete disaster plan in place, according to mi2g. 

The global digital risk management firm found that the number of attacks measured through May of 2003 surpassed all of those in 2002 87,903 compared to 87,525. The most attacks in one day were seen on May 4th 2003, when 2,576 overt attacks were waged, contributing to May's record-breaking month of 22,0

Eclipsed by multifunction units that produce faxes, printed documents, copies and scanned images, single purpose flatbed scanners are still found in nearly half of Internet households, according to InfoTrends Research Group, Inc.

The firm found that 61 percent of U.S. Internet households own some type of scanning device either a flatbed, all- in-one (AIO), film, or other type of scanner. Segmentation of InfoTrends' survey of nearly 6,500 U.S. Internet households revealed that 49 percent own a flatbed scanner, and 18 percent own an AIO device. 

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) has determined that the worldwide piracy rate for commercial software, which consists of software applications that are written and sold as packages by vendors, actually dropped 10 percent in 2002. 

This drop was attributed in part to better awareness, better defined copyright laws, and more specific and severe punishments for perpetrators. But BSA said that all could be for naught if online piracy is not curbed. 

Worldwide silicon wafer [define] revenue totaled $5.7 billion in 2002 up 5.2 percent from 2001's $5.4 billion, according to Gartner, Inc. The industry returned to positive growth in 2002, after suffering through 2001 when revenue declined 31 percent. 

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