Inevitably as an affiliate you'll end up having to create a website. In this lesson we'll look at what software is available, to help you decide Which Website Building Software to Use.
Chris has done a review of Artisteer that you may want to check out.
Dreamweaver is the most comprehensive and powerful web authoring software on the market, and it has been for some time now. It's a WYSIWYG editor (“what you see is what you get”) with the capacity for hand-tooling your HTML in a separate editor window.
Learning Dreamweaver can take some time, as it is a very complex piece of software. It's well worth taking the time to go through the tutorials in the 'help' section, or finding some tutorials online.
Dreamweaver can also be very pricey, depending on where you're purchasing from. Be aware that you can frequently purchase older versions of Dreamweaver for drastically reduced prices from places like eBay which will work just fine. You can also download a free 30-day trial from Adobe.com, and this should be enough to give you a taste for the software.
If you're very new to web design, you might not need the full functionality of Dreamweaver right away. Derived from Linspire's NVU, KompoZer is a free open-source web editor that is somewhat like a trimmed-down version of Dreamweaver, and it's useful for having a dabble until you're ready to make the investment in Dreamweaver.
Unfortunately Kompozer has inherited Nvu's issues when it comes to layout – it only seems able to create table based layouts and seems to offer very limited support for divs – but since most newbie web designers invariably start out creating table-based layouts anyway, worrying about this is putting the cart before the horse. (and if terms like “table” and “div” fly right over your head... that's probably a good sign that you're a newbie!)
The spiritual successor to Microsoft Frontpage, Microsoft Expression Web (part of the Microsoft Expression Studio suite) is a slick new way for designing modern web pages.
Unfortunately the tool has been revamped to aim more at professionals, but it does include features such as a basic SEO analysis tool; it's also cheaper than a new version of Dreamweaver. Microsoft has a 60-day trial available so you can decide whether you want to
XsitePro is a web authoring program designed specifically for internet marketers. It is designed to greatly streamline the website production process by sticking to the functions and layouts that internet marketers need and use most often.
XSitePro provides utilities and functionality for setting up Adsense, doing your SEO, managing links, uploading your site, creating redirects, updating navigation pages and creating pop-ups - basically all the dirty work. It's not as flexible as Dreamweaver, but it's not designed for web designers who want to be able to do everything - it's designed for internet marketers who have a fairly predictable set of needs and wants.
Affiliates with a bit of web-design experience might find the XSitePro is too restrictive, and the websites it produces too similar; conversely, others absolutely swear by it. It's far cheaper than Dreamweaver, but still pricey - however, if you're serious about getting your sites out there as quickly as possible, and you're not all that interested in learning the nitty gritty aspects of web design, XSitePro might be a very worthwhile investment. There's a lot of information and screenshots of XSitePro on their website.
Surprisingly you don't actually need any specialist software to create webpages; in fact our developers here at Affilorama, along with many professional web developers, do their development in plain old text-editors, writing the sites directly in HTML and CSS.
If you've got the time and inclination, HTML is a relatively easy thing to learn, and there are thousands of tutorials available on the internet. If, however, you just want to dive in and get a website up on the internet as soon as possible, you might be better using a WYSIWYG editor and then learning a bit of HTML as you go along.
Unfortunately you're probably not going to get very far as an affiliate without knowing the very basics of HTML - things like how to write a hyperlink and insert your affiliate code into it, how to add "nofollow" tags to links and how to insert images into your website will require this knowledge - but don't worry, these are all pretty simple things to learn, and if you can do it, you'll save yourself a whole heap of trouble later on.
A basic search for "HTML tutorial" will turn up a mountain of websites. You'll have no difficulty whatsoever finding free lessons. One site I highly recommend for being educational, correct and entertaining to boot is www.yourhtmlsource.com. Otherwise you can go with www.w3.org/html/, and www.blooberry.com/indexdot/ for a comprehensive HTML reference.
In this lesson we've looked at several programs you can use to develop your affiliate sites: