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Planning Retirement Online

You can do IT in later life - 46

October 2004  

Amazon book - Basic computer skills made simpleYou can do IT is a regular feature of aimed at trying to help laterlife visitors make the most of Information Technology on or off the web.

Jackie Sherman who runs the You can do IT Question & Answer section is an IT trainer and author. Jackie has spent her career in education and specialises in teaching IT to adults. Her courses for adults include such topics as MS Office, the Internet, e-mail and basic web page authoring. Amazon Book - getting the most from your computer

Jackie has also written the two books shown here - you can find more details about these by clicking on the cover images above. Jackie has also been running a course specifically for over 50s.


Via Jackie aims to particularly help those new to IT and the web to build up knowledge and confidence, so no question is too basic. At the same time she will cover Q&As for the more experienced user. 

So if you would like to ask a question of Jackie, why not email her

or if you have discovered something which may be of interest to others in making the most of the web, then she would love to hear about that too

October 2004    

In this final column, I am going to explain how you can find out what details other people have used on their web pages, and how to publish your own on the Internet. 

HTML Source 

Web pages are divided into different areas, and these comprise the main content of the page known as the “body” and an upper part, the “head” not normally visible.    

When creating the page, your authoring software writes the code. It introduces the different parts within angled brackets: e.g. <head> or <body> at the beginning of the section and </head> or </body>at the end.  Between these, you will find each paragraph and line introduced with code in a similar way. View your page as code by selecting the View – HTML menu option. 

The body section contains all your text, so that you should be able to identify this, together with the code which you can set to display in different colours.  Some of the code you can see in the example below is the heading level of text (hi, h2 etc.), the background colour (bgcolor), a new paragraph (p) and the text alignment (e.g. align = center).



 View your page as code by selecting the View – HTML menu option. 

Colours will appear as #FFFFFF, or #CC6600 or #800000 etc.  Each number is a code for a particular colour.  The yellow of my page is shown as #FFFF00.  

As you browse the Web, you may come across a page that has a particularly attractive design or special features. You can see exactly how the page was created by opening the View menu on your browser and selecting Source. 

You will open a window in Notepad and can then see if you can spot the item you prefer that might be used on your own page: 

Window in notepad 

Although extremely complex to a beginner, you may be able to locate a new background colour or font type and could then replace these in your own page. You should also be able to see that linked text has different colours (shown as vlink or alink) which you could also try out on your page.  Make sure you update your page by clicking OK if you do make any changes in the HTML view. 


If using the free space provided by your ISP, you need to read the instructions for publishing your pages on their Website.  These are likely to be similar to the following:

  1. Connect to the Internet via your ISP number and download a free or inexpensive file transfer program such as CuteFTP (a link is usually provided to the relevant website) that will allow the transfer.

  2. Stay connected and open the FTP program. You must now complete the relevant sections to register and make a link between your computer and your web space. You will need your ISP account name and password but should be given all other necessary information to complete the process. 

  3. When these are completed, you will see your screen divided into two panes:  on one side is an empty space for your web pages and on the other will be all the files on your computer.

  4. Locate the folder in which your web pages and pictures are stored and then double-click or drag all the files across to the web space area.  Remember that the welcome page should be named index.html.

  5. You can now type the web address you have been given by your ISP into the Address box to visit the URL and view your web page – although there may be a slight delay before it is up and running.

  6. To make changes, which is quite common once you see the ‘real thing’ published, re-open the FTP program - it should have remembered all the settings - and then drag across new or replacement pages. Any with the same name will replace the originals so this can be very easy to do on a regular basis.

Being Found 

A few years ago, search engines would index pages according to keywords typed into the “head” area, known as metatags. Now, they search by checking the words on the page, so you must make sure relevant words appear on your page that will be picked up. Each search engine normally has a link for you to click to submit your page, so follow the instructions to add your URL and keywords and hope your page will start to be listed when visitors carry out a search. You could also pay to advertise on other people’s websites, or write to them and organise a reciprocal arrangement – you mention them if they mention you! Obviously, you will also start to add your website address in e-mails and printed material to advertise it as widely as possible. 


This has been a very brief look at web page publication, but hopefully it will have wetted your appetite and shown that it is not too difficult or technical to do. There are many books in the library on creating web pages, as well as tutorials on the Web, so spend some time investigating all the possibilities and good luck if you join the millions of people who have given it a go.


View previous editions of YoucandoIT for more useful Questions and Answers


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