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Wysiwyg Web Site Design Software


Wysiwyg web site design software lets you build web pages as easily as you would use a word processor to create attractive word documents.

There is a learning curve, but wysiwyg software is still one of the easiest ways for a newbie to build their website. They are particularly good for someone who wants to build one or two websites but doesn't want to become a professional webmaster.

You don't have to buy an expensive wysiwyg program either. In fact a free program may be all you need.

How Wysiwyg Software works

KompoZer design view screenshot
Building this page with KompoZer
See a larger view

Using wysiwyg web site design software is like using a word processor. You work in a design view where you can see the results of what you're building. Tables look like tables, not lines of code. Headlines show as headlines, you can indent, make lists, bold words or use italics, use CSS for styling, and it all looks pretty much the same as how the finished page will look.

There are some exceptions. In the normal design view, you'll see outlines of tables that won't show on the finished page. Often though, there is a preview mode that will hide the table outlines.

Many wysiwyg software programs won't show virtual include files. You won't see them included in the finished web page until your page is live on the web. That is something you can work around though.

Pros

Wysiwyg web site design software is relatively easy to use, and it's a visual process. You can see what you're building as you're building it.

It is easier to make a complicated layout with wysiwyg software than by writing your page directly in HTML.

It is easier and faster for an inexperienced person to learn a wysiwyg program and build a web page than to learn to code in HTML.

It removes one layer of complexity from the page building process, i.e. having to learn to code in HTML. When you're building your first website you have a heck of a lot to learn, especially if you actually want a successful website, and anything that makes life easier is a bonus.

Cons

Wysiwyg software has its faults, but you can live with them.

They bloat the code, meaning the code is longer than necessary, or slower to load, or wastes resources in other ways. When you code directly in HTML you can write nice tight code. When you use wysiwyg software the program controls the actual writing of the code and it's not as good as hand coding. It's like a person, instead of being trim, taut and terrific, they may have stacked on a couple of stone and  look a bit flabby. It may not be pretty, but it isn't fatal.

As part of the bloated code the programs can add in extra bits of code that you don't want in some circumstances. You need to open the source code where you see the actual HTML, and make changes.

You may not get precise control over some aspects of your web page, so you may need to look in the HTML code and make changes.

You will need a bit of HTML knowledge, but nowhere near as much as coding directly in HTML. This is knowledge you can pick up as you need, either from a book for beginners or just by doing a search engine search about the problem you have.

What To Look For

What do you need in wysiwyg web site design software to build a website like this one?

There are a lot of things that any wysiwyg program should have, things like table controls, list creation, spell check, and a lot more. It's just like any word processor should have the same fundamentals.

Then there are a couple of extra things you should  make sure your wysiwyg program has.

One thing you have to have is the ability to edit the code directly in HTML. You may need that for some fine tuning, or to fix a problem. And you need it to insert code for affiliate programs, which is one way to make money from your website.

Your wysiwyg web site design software should also have a CSS editor. You can write the CSS file yourself, but an editor makes life easier.

Wysiwyg Programs

There are a lot of different wysiwyg web site design software programs around. I'll just mention a couple that I'm familiar with. If you want more choices you can do a search and find dozens more programs.

KompoZer is a free wysiwyg program, and it constantly gets good reviews. You can edit the source code directly, and it does have a CSS editor. If you're planning on just building one site, or a few sites for yourself and they are content based sites like this one, KompoZer will do the job quite adequately.

Dreamweaver is a high end wysiwyg program costing around $400 or more depending on where you buy it. It is better than KompoZer of course, and if you're building sites regularly then it's worth the investment.

If you're only building one site and you're willing to spend the money on Dreamweaver have a look at Site Build It (read my Site Build It review) which not only has a block by block site builder that is easier to use than a wysiwyg program, it has every other tool you need for a successful website as well. And, it costs a lot less than Dreamweaver.

Should You Use A Wysiwyg Program?

You need to consider your goals.

If you want to build a small business web site that will bring in new customers and you want to do it as easily as possible, then my recommendation would be to purchase Site Build It and use the block by block page builder.

If you don't mind more learning and slower progress then wysiwyg web site design software will build a site like this one quite nicely.

If you intend to become a professional webmaster you need to know how to hand code your web pages, though you could still use a good wysiwyg program and tidy the code up afterwards.




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