Web page building tools for the novice/idiot

I’ve never built a web page, but my wife wants to put up a family page on our Comcast web space. Something simple, like text where she can easily write the current family news, and photos such as our recent family vacation photos.

We have Front Page, but I’ve been told other tools are simpler and easier to use. Any suggestions? Also, is it possible to make this simple enough that my wife can update the page easily?

Look at one of the blog-type sites. Blogger loading to an ftp site or something.

While Frontpage is definitely not the best program to use, it has a fairly simple interface and should be fine for text/pics. However, even your basic word processing program (Word, WordPerfect, etc) can publish to HTML, allowing you to create a document as you would writing a letter. If your wife is familiar with using a word processor, perhaps just using that would be a safe bet.

It doesn’t sound like your aiming for a professional-looking site, so some basic tools should work for you.

I’m using the Macromedia Studio MX 2004 package for my own design work and I like the ability to use the designer and coder views in Dreamweaver while doing the graphical and animation work in the other programs (Flash, Fireworks) with mockups in Freehand. Way too much for what you need, for sure.

Definitely go with a blog. Blogger is probably your best bet for simplicity.

OK - gotta go do some homework on blogs now. Do I need a specific blog site or is that something I can do with blog tools (whatever those may be) on the web space Comcast gives me?

Here’s Blogger’s web site:

You can use their hosting service, Blogspot, to host the blog. I think they have free options. Last I checked you could also use it to post to your own website but I haven’t used Blogger in a long time.

I think Blogger is probably the most dead-simple way to post news and photos on a regular basis. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, though.

I use Movable Type which is so dead simple, that my wife can use it… but it’s not fun to install, if you don’t know your way around MySQL and that sort of thing (but hey, you might… I know a bit about webdesign but not much about databases and server stuff - nothing in your post states your not the opposite)
They also have the even simpler version called, Typepad… but I think they make their money by hosting your site for you.

If the free version of blogger lets you use it to ftp or on a webhost you allready have, I can recommend that too.

But there’s a number of quite good free and open source blogtools out there, which can be used on your existing webspace - provided you can install them. But once they’re running any person can post to the site without any knowledge of webdesign from any computer and without the bother of learning to use a program pf any sort.
So definately go with a blog tool (which is just a simple CMS (Content Managing System))

This is true. However, Blogger’s interface is still simple than even an already-installed CMS IMHO. And there’s no installation needed.

If you’re going to install one on your own webspace, you might also want to try Nucleus, which is what I use on my blog. It’s lightweight and relatively easy to install.

Note that I think you need a fairly current version of PHP installed on your server as well as the ability to create MySQL databases in order to install and run most of these apps. I dunno if Comcast gives you that kind of access or not.

One other thing: if Comcast has Fantastico installed on your free webspace, you might want to check that out. It’s a program that automatically installs certain scripts without you needing to do anything and supports installing CMS software. If Comcast has it (and is running Cpanel) you should be able to find it on one of the menus.

Own a Mac? A .Mac account makes this REALLY easy.

Hmm. Played with blogger, as well as another site. Looks perfect for most of what we want to do. The one thing I don’t see is how to add a link that takes people to an album of photos (as opposed to showing them all on the main blog page - for example, 30 or so photos from our recent cruise.)

I’ll keep surfing for blog sites in hopes of finding one that lets me do that - other than that, this looks perfect (since my wife will likely do most of the updating, and she’s pretty PC limited.)

Hey Jeff:

One thing you could do is use Flickr to post your photos.

Flickr is an extremely nice, simple photo organizer. You can then use Flickr to post photos to your blog. Instructions are here:


I second Flickr. Great site.

Probably too late, but I just realized that Yahoo (who bought Flickr recently) has their own blogger-like system which apparently links directly into Flickr.

It’s here.

Might be worth checking out.

So someone I know wants to make a simple Web page where she can post pictures and the prices of her handmade jewelry. She doesn’t need any retailing features and she doesn’t want to go the Ebay route; she just needs a simple page with pictures and text. She’s a Web novice, so I fear that even Frontpage might be too complicated. Is there anything out there that would make this a simple point-and-click affair, preferrably with templates?

Well, she could just create a Flickr profile and put the price in the “description” section of the photos. That’d be dead simple.

That’s a great idea. Any opinions on whether that would violate this term of use?


It would likely contravene the terms of use. It also contravenes the spirit of the site which is a way for people to share photos.

Perhaps something like one of the free sites like geocities might work. Thye have a page builder which I admittedly have never used, but I woudl imagine that its a simplified web page builder that is designed for ease of use by html novices.

Sorry, didn’t think of that.

If hosting space is available, she could use Gallery which, in my view, is one of the greatest web-based open source projects evar.