MAKING A WEBSITE

xaraWe made our first website 13 years ago, using Microsoft’s “FrontPage.” Joy still uses Microsoft’s “Expression Web” for her woman’s organization, and WordPress for our “On Computers” web site. All that is old news now, because Xara’s new “Web Designer 6” makes it super easy to create a professional-looking site.

For example, one of the most common and annoying problems with web site design is changing the length, size and color of the parts. A pale green heading for “News” might look wrong in size or shape as more categories are added. To change the size, pull to enlarge, push to shrink.

You can change the color of any part by selecting from a color bar at the bottom of the screen and dragging that color to where you want it. To change the overall color scheme, choose “edit theme color” and pick a color. To add pictures, select any picture from your files and drag it onto the site.  To add text, draw a box or a line and whatever text you paste there will be automatically sized to fit under that line or in that box.

Video tutorials take you clearly along for each step of the way. You start by going to the “File” menu and choosing from a gallery of templates. Nothing we designed looked amateurish, even after trying six templates.  It was easy to put in text and pictures, in addition to widgets like PayPal buttons and movie players.

Our results looked terrific. You can preview your newly designed web site on your own computer, but if you want to publish it for the world to see, you’ll need to sign up at a web-hosting site, such as GoDaddy.com or 1and1.com. The latter is offering free web hosting for a year. Xara gives you permanent free web hosting through Magix Online, for up to 500 megabytes of files, if you choose it from the pull-down menu when you click “Publish.” We had difficulty setting it up, but the company plans to add a tutorial on this. There’s a free trial of the $49 Xara Web Designer 6 at xara.com.

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