getting started
Making my own web page... I can tell you that it didn't all happen in one day, and that I happen to work with two very talented programmers so that if I get really stuck, they're able to help me.

That said, there's really nothing that should stop you from having your own site. My site began because I was starting to learn and design web pages at work and I wanted to put what I'd learned to work for myself. One of the best ways to learn is by doing, really, so I made many, many pages until I got here. The first incarnation of this site was very simple. I've found that being a designer is more important {in my humble opinion!} than being a programmer, because you could have a very, very simple site from a programming view and still have it be really beautiful and workable from an artist's point of view.

The first thing I suggest is to draw or write out in outline form what you want your page to do, look like, the order of things.... it's WAAAAAAAAAAY easier to change things on a piece of paper than to do your whole site and then realize that you want to change something. That doesn't mean it shouldn't ever change... good websites should change and grow; that's their nature. I'm talking about making the navigation going across the top and then deciding mid-way that you really wanted purple buttons going down the side. If you're a strict beginner, getting a program like FrontPage {which I don't like, but it's supposedly easy to use, especially if you already know Word) or Dreamweaver {which I use, but is about $300} will help you immensely. There are also some good books that you can get at the library, of check out your local Barnes and Noble and see what they've got. Anything that says "for beginners" is good. It'll teach you a lot about the structure of things, so that when things go wrong with your HTML editing program {and they will!} you can go right into the code and fix it. {I remember once there was something I was trying to do on a page, and Dreamweaver wouldn't let me for some reason. There was no real reason why I couldn't, though, and so I went into the code and fixed it, and then DW accepted it, because the coding was correct. Go figure.}

Pretty much everything on my site is either achieved by graphics {and the key to remember here is the smaller file size, the better}, by HTML code, by Javascript {there are excellent web resources out there that will allow you to use their scripts for free}, and by Flash {which is a WHOLE other program and which I am still in the process of learning. A great Flash book is “Learn Flash in 24 hours”... very in-depth and easy to follow, I thought.} See the resources and articles pages for some great links to free information.

Why copyright is so important
I am pretty much a believer that knowledge is meant to be shared. But there a few things I think you shouldn't ever do on a website, and that's use anything that doesn't belong to you without permission. I like unicorns, right? But there are at least 50 unicorn websites that I've seen that all borrow each other's graphics, or scanned in a Robert Vavra photo, or have the same tired MIDI file of "The Last Unicorn" playing when you go to the home page. Their Links pages are all the same links, of all the same stuff. Aside from the fact that stealing someone else's artwork is WRONG, {and so is playing someone else's arrangement of a song you didn't write... }, stealing someone else's code or their words are wrong too. {You can look at someone's code to see how they did something, and copy it to play with it and learn how to do it yourself, but copying sections of code from someone's page is really not nice.} Sorry if this sounds harsh, but many people think nothing of right-clicking an animation because they like it and then putting it right on their own page. When we’re talking about a page that is clearly original art, or where the ownership is not clear, you are obligated find out who the original artist is and ask permission… or don’t bother using it. Just linking back without asking isn’t very fair at all. Always ask permission!

The reason I say all this is because your website will be unique. You are the only you in the world; your webpage will be something only YOU can come up with. I would be way more interested in learning something new about someone — their insights, their thoughts, their dreams — than to see the same thing that's somewhere else. You are special.

All artwork and content of this site copyright © Élena Nazzaro 1993-2010. Support your favorite artists and don't steal!