Getting Published on the Internet

One of the most exciting aspects of the Internet is its openness. With the right software and an Internet account, you can go online and view materials that others have published – that is, posted on an Internet server. Add a little creativity to the mix, and you can publish your own materials for viewing by a worldwide audience. One of the easiest and fastest ways to publish your work online is to create your own page on the World Wide Web.

The Internet is not limited to big businesses. Individuals, private organizations, and small companies actually publish the vast majority of materials on the Internet. The variety of online publishing opportunities is almost limitless, and people are using them to enhance their businesses, share information, and entertain and educate others.

Before it can be viewed in a Web browser, a document must be formatted with special tags called Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) tags. These tags, which surround the text they affect, tell the browser how to display the text, whether as a heading, a table, a link, normal text, and so on.

Fortunately, you do not have to be a computer whiz to create HTML documents. In fact, you do not even need to know anything about HTML. With the right tools, you can quickly create attractive, interesting pages that are ready to be published on the Web.

Almost any new word processor, spreadsheet, database, or presentation application can convert ordinary documents into HTML files. These features let you create any type of document, save it in HTML format, and then immediately open it in a Web browser (such as Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet Explorer). Many desktop applications provide tools that embed graphics, create hotlinks, and add other special features to your HTML documents.

Popular Web browsers also provide editors that enable you to create feature-rich Web pages. Using a browser's editing tools, you can create new pages from scratch or use predesigned templates. A popular page-design method is to find a Web page you like, copy it to disk, and then open it in Edit mode in the browser. You then can use that page's HTML formatting as the basis for your page. Using a browser-based editor, you work directly with HTML tags only if you want to. If you prefer, the browser can do all the HTML formatting for you.

After you have created your pages, simply contact your Internet service provider (ISP). Your ISP can provide you with space on a Web server and an address where others can find your pages. Using your chosen HTML editing tools, you can update, expand, and refresh your Web site whenever you want.

If you want complete control over the appearance of your Web pages and like the challenge of learning a completely new software program, then you can use one of the many Web design programs now available. The programs, such as Microsoft's FrontPage or Adobe's PageMill, are a combination word processor, HTML editor, and graphics program. These applications give you all the tools you need to create complex, feature-rich Web sites with as many pages as you like.


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