Have you been toying with the idea of setting up a web page? Aren’t sure where to start? Recently I gave a workshop for a group that needed to set up professional-looking web pages but doubted that they had the technical know-how to do it. They also wanted to get it done quickly.
To help them, I developed a set of step-by-step instructions for doing your first web page using Google Sites®, and some additional tips on web safety, copyright, digital photos, and other web-related issues.
I chose Google Sites as a platform because they are free and yet offer just about all the options you will ever need. After the workshop, I revised and improved all the materials, including the suggestions I received from my guinea pigs. Now it’s time to share this information with you!
Quick Start Tutorial
The Google Sites tutorial, Web Page Quick Start, has screen shots to walk you through obtaining and naming the site, and an overview of the procedures for adding basic elements. It includes ways to format information on the page, choosing the appearance of both the page background and the text, positioning text and photos where you want them, and creating headers and captions.
It also points out some more advanced options, such as adding attachments, allowing comments, and linking to YouTube® videos. That last option would be a great way to illustrate teaching strategies!
Really Basic Web Savvy
But what if you’re really starting from square one, and feel a bit overwhelmed by all the jargon? It certainly helps to understand exactly what a web site is before trying to build one.
To give you that basic background information, I also made a short slideshow to download in PDF format. This could be presented onscreen before a group, or printed out as a reference. It explains terms such as browser, domain, html, and more, and gives you a checklist of what to get ready before actually tackling setting up the page.
Photos are so much a part of most web pages that you’ll also want to take a look at a previous post, Pixels and Megapixels, Oh My! that focused on preparing digital photos for activities. Everything in that post also applies to preparing photos for a web page, especially file size considerations. For example, the file size of the photos determines how fast your page will load.
Attach Handouts For Download
How might you use your web site? You could use it to offer consulting and workshop services, or to provide materials for download. For example, you might have handouts from a presentation on your page, free for people to download or view.
It’s getting expensive to carry piles of handouts in a suitcase. Setting them up for download from your site is a good alternative. Another advantage: since everything you post stays there, people can go back to the site to view or download materials whenever they need the information.
The Google Sites Attachments option makes it easy to upload documents in PDF format, and View and Download buttons are added automatically. Also, Google Sites lets you restrict page access and/or the ability to post comments to a specific list of people. You could set up a page as an online course that people would pay you to access, or restrict it to a list of collaborators in order to protect your site from spam comments.
To use the web, whether or not you build a web site, you do need to know about spam, phishing sites, and other hazards. I’ve created a PDF file you can download from this page called Safety First that addresses many of these concerns. Also take a look at the No Phishing post, which I’ve updated to include several new resources.
Another suggestion: Use the process of building a Google Site to teach students about the internet. Use the First Web Page slideshow as a fun and informative introduction! Then let students experiment with building a site. The finished site might be for a school club, or to show off a class project.
And while you are showing students how they can become part of the web, also teach them how to be a good web citizen by honoring copyright. Once they have completed a web project, it’s easy for them to understand why other webmasters feel protective about their work. I’ve included a link to the text of an article I wrote for Closing The Gap® called It Came From The Web that discusses copyright and attribution issues.
Finally, I know many of you are consultants and might want to offer online courses or other online materials, rather than downloads. For that option, take a look at ISSUU.com. It’s a web site that lets you set up a free online library, to which you can post PDF or Word documents and Powerpoint presentations that people can access online.
This is the site I’m using now for all my online tutorials. You upload your finished materials, and the site provides the machinery so that users can turn the pages onscreen. You might have people subscribe in order to receive the link to the materials via email, or you could use the provided code to embed your web-published works into your own web page.
I hope all these materials will help you take advantage of these free options for using the web to share information. It’s a little different from what I usually post here, but then I’ve never seen an attic without a few webs!
Applications: Web browser, Acrobat Reader®, PhotoShop® or similar (optional).
Subject area:Life Skills.
Level: Teacher, Grades 5-7.
No Phishing! post CLICK HERE.
Pixels and Megapixels, Oh My! post CLICK HERE.
ISSUU.com web site CLICK HERE.
FirstWebPage.pdf (2.6 MB) PDF format slideshow presentation to use onscreen or to print. Covers web basics such as definitions of browser, server, URL, etc and included a checklist of what to prepare before building a page.
WebSiteQuickStart.pdf (1.7 MB) Tutorial with screenshots to walk you through setting up a Google site and adding the format and content. Open with Acrobat Reader.
SafetyFirst.pdf (800 KB) Article on web safety focused on how to keep spam off your site. Also includes a glossary of terms relating to cyber crime. Open with Acrobat Reader.
First Web Page Presentation Online Online slideshow presentation ready to present to groups. Covers web basics such as definitions of browser, server, URL, etc and included a checklist of what to prepare before building a page.
Web Site QuickStart Online Tutorial with screenshots to walk you through setting up a Google site and adding the format and content. Online version is ready to present to a group!
Safety First On The Web Online article on web safety focused on how to keep spam off your site. Also includes a glossary of terms relating to cyber crime. Online version is ready to present to groups.