Internet Advisor  - St. Thomas, Ontario
Find us on Facebook  Connect with us on LinkedIn

Home  \  Web Design Articles & Resources  \  How to Build a Free Website (and Why it May Be Too Costly) Part 2

How to Build a Free Website (and Why it May Be Too Costly)

(Part 2 of 3)

In Part 1, we looked at free and low-cost hosting solutions, and how a domain name, while not required, is the most valuable investment in presenting a professional image. This month, we'll look at free software to help build your webpage.

The Basics

The basic web page is constructed using hyper-text markup language, or HTML. Advanced markup and scripting languages are used to produce the feature-rich websites enjoyed by internet users today. “Static” web pages are HTML files stored on a web server and displayed as-is when requested by a visitor to your site; “Dynamic” web pages are created on-the-fly by a web server, using information contained in a database or external source to display a page built for that particular visitor at that particular time. We'll focus on free tools that build static HTML webpages.

Online Wizards

Many free and low-cost hosting providers offer a web-based “wizard” to build basic websites. Using templates, wizards can range from selecting simple options to advanced content management systems that permit creation of dynamic sites. The quickest and easiest way to create a “live” website, wizards often sacrifice creative flexibility and advanced techniques, such as optimizing the website code for higher search engine rankings.

Word Processors

Modern office suites, such as Microsoft Office and OpenOffice, have the ability to create HTML pages from documents and spreadsheets. Simply create a flyer and “Save As” an HTML file. Upload it to the web, and you've created a web page!

Again, what you gain in ease you loose in creative freedom, as the resulting web page may not maintain the exact layout and formatting of the original document. The HTML code produced by these programs is often cumbersome and excessive, making it difficult to edit and modify the page in a professional web design program. However, if all you need is a simple “who we are, how to contact us” page, then a word processor offers a fast and familiar method to get your business online. OpenOffice is a free download at

WYSIWYG Web Page Editors

What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get editors offer the ease of a word processor, but produce more efficient and standardized HTML code. While professional WYSIWYG editors (such as Adobe GoLive and Macromedia Dreamweaver) offer a comprehensive platform from which to build complex, feature-rich sites, these free editors can help produce creative, attractive web pages with just a little practice.

The free Mozilla browser and email suite ( includes “Composer”, a capable WYSIWYG web page editor. Clients have used Composer to update sites that we've created, though the program is powerful enough to create an entire website from scratch.

Two other programs recommended by associates include Web Dwarf and Namu6. Both of these programs can be downloaded for free from c|net (, and my advice is to download and try all three programs.

Putting Your Webpage On The Internet

Most web editors include a function to transfer (upload) your creation to your web server account. Stand-alone programs, such as FileZilla, can also be used to upload your web pages using FTP, or “file transfer protocol”. A search at will list a number of free FTP programs.


So why do web designers exist if these free tools make it easy to create web pages? The difference is often in the planning, the details, and the bottom line. By optimizing your site for search engines, identifying new trends and technologies, and not allowing the design process to overshadow the real purpose – producing more profit for the client, not simply producing a web page – a professional web designer could be one of the best marketing investments for your business. By experimenting with free tools, some business owners discover that their needs can be met with these tools, while others develop a greater appreciation for the professional web designer. As they say, “our best customer is an educated customer”.

In Part 3, we'll look at free graphic and photo editing programs to add visual pizazz to your site!

© 2004, 2005 by Russ Jackman


Russ Jackman, Internet Advisor
Russ Jackman is the principal of Internet Advisor, a web design and internet marketing firm located in St. Thomas, Ontario.

The concept of the "Internet Advisor" is that the designer becomes a partner or trusted consultant, who can simply provide advice and direction, completely implement a solution from start to end, or any degree in between. This insures that the strengths of a client are utilized, to minimize the investment required and maximize the benefits to their organization.

Site last updated May 06, 2020, at 02:30 PM

PO Box 20111, St. Thomas, Ontario N5P 4H4
Tel: (519) 782-7877
Email: inquire [snail] internetadvisor [period] ca

The provision of email addresses on this website does not equate to express or implied consent for Commercial Electronic Communications.

Internet Advisor - Web design and social media marketing

© 2024 Internet Advisor  \  Log In  \  Privacy Statement  \  Site Map