Here are some resources to get you started. This is not a complete or thorough list by any means. No recommendations or endorsements are implied by listing a link here; this is just an effort to help you on your learning path.
- FTP & File Transfer Protocol is the most common means of placing your web pages on the hosted server
- Online knowledgebase for support
- Telephone number for voice support (ideally, 24x7)
- Website statistics
- Unlimited disk space, bandwidth, and email addresses
- Support for PHP, MySQL, and WordPress if you are thinking of going in that direction
- Free domain registration for at least a year
Some popular hosting providers are very difficult to work with. They may have a lot of upcharges or add-ons, making their initial very low entry price inflate as you try to get the features your need for your website. They may also have complex or convoluted procedures for doing basic tasks like transferring a domain registration from them to another registrar.
- Internet Explorer — IE comes with all Windows-based computers and, I believe, Apple computers (or at least there's a version you can download). From Microsoft.
- Firefox — open source software from Mozilla. I also recommend the following add-ons for Firefox:
- Web Developer Toolbar (from Chris Pederick)
- HTML Validator (from Marc Gueury) - with Firefox 4, to see the HTML Validator icon, you need to enable the Add-On Bar (right-click next to the right-most tab just under the browser title bar and choose "Add-On Bar"); though not the same as the old status bar, it functions the same way for the HTML Validator add-on
- Opera — fast and friendly browser, but was recently (July 2016) purchased by Qihoo, a Chinese company, and it is too soon to tell what effect that will have on the browser
- Chrome — popular browser owned and developed by Google, this browser requires some significant software running in the background on your computer
A couple of my favorites (both free):
- HTML-Kit 292 — although this program has been around for several years, I think it is still one of the better HTML and CSS editors. From Chami.
- Notepad++ — this is a much fancier version of the standard Notepad program. It does color-coding and can handle standard HTML and CSS changes. From Don Ho at SourceForge.net.
For a selection of other editors, try these links:
- Comparison of text editors (Wikipedia)
- Free HTML Editors (from thefreecountry.com)
- Free WYSIWYG Web Editors and Website Builders (from thefreecountry.com)
- CyberNotes: Map a FTP to a Drive in Windows (from CyberNet)
- Free FTP Clients (from thefreecountry.com)
- ColorMania (from Blacksun Software) — this free utility program lets you pick colors and save palettes
- Color Scheme Designer (authored by Peter Stanicek and now from Paletton) — lets you play with whole sets of theme colors; now also has many ads, but functionality is still full
- List of named colors (from World-Wide Web Consortium (W3C))
- Web-safe Colors (from University of Maryland, Baltimore County)
- The 216-Color Webmaster's Palette (part of Visibone's Webmaster Color Laboratory)
- RGB Color Chart (from htmlcenter)
- Don't spend a lot of time on this ... it's about the content, remember!
- Font Squirrel — free fonts comparable to many popular proprietary fonts
- Google Fonts — increasingly popular fonts that you can reference from Google's site and use as if embedded on your website, so visitors don't have to have it installed on their devices
General design resources
- A List Apart
- Web Page Design for Designers
- Webmonkey: The Web Developer's Resource
- usability.gov — guidelines from US Government to enhance website usability
- HTML Dog — tutorials, references, articles, and best practices for XHTML and CSS
- HTML Tutorial — web developer site with streamlined, very good HTML tutorial (from W3 Schools)
- HTML vs XHTML — differences between HTML and XHTML (from W3 Schools)
- HTML Primer — this is part one of a seven-part tutorial for HTML; this site also has lots of other helpful stuff for the web developer, but you have to put up with a lot of advertising (from HTML Goodies)
- Index of the HTML 4 Elements— although no date on this document, so possibly dated, it contains the list of HTML 4 elements in a table form showing which ones are empty, deprecated, etc. (from W3C)
- HTML 4.01 / XHTML 1.0 Reference — list of tags linked to more details about attributes and how to use them (from W3 Schools)
- HTML named entities (special characters)
- CSS-Tricks — essentially a blog about CSS, this site has interesting examples and medium-level explanations
- Zen Garden — an amazing site showing the power of CSS to transform any content; all designs on this site use the same content
- CSS from the Ground Up — CSS tutorial (from Web Page Design for Designers)
- CSS Reference — list of properties with links to keyword value, definition and usage, plus examples (from W3 Schools)
- RichInStyle.com CSS2 tutorial — offers basic and advanced concepts in relatively short segments (from RichInStyle.com)
- CSS Tutorial: Starting With HTML + CSS — very simple examples (from W3C)
- CSS 2.1 Specification — for all the details about the standard, look here (from W3C); NOTE: browsers will support this standard at different rates and with different methods
Expression Web resources
- Download Expression Web 4 (free from Microsoft)
- Prerequisites for Using Microsoft Expression Web — FAQ from Microsoft to better set expectations of Expression Web users, including answers to questions like:
- Is Expression Web a WYSIWYG tool?
- Does Expression Web replace FrontPage?
- Do I need to learn new design technologies?
- What skills are needed to use Expression Web?
- Expression Web help — tutorials assume some basic knowledge (from expression web help) [lots of ads]
- Expression Web Tutorials — relatively short tutorials and tips (from Any Expression Designs)
- Discussions in Expression Web — technical but often interesting discussions from users (from Microsoft Expression)
- Learn Microsoft Expression Web — numerous tutorials covering a variety of subjects, and in a variety of formats (from Microsoft Expression)
- Expression Web Templates — free templates you can use or modify as needed (from Expression Web tutorials and templates)
- Open Source Web Design offers free design templates, most of which should work with Expression Web
- Search Marketing Standard — one of the best resources for tips and explanations around online marketing, written in terms that anyone can understand
- Beginner's Guide to SEO — a wonderful overview of search engine optimization and website marketing with many helpful references and examples (from Moz)
- lynda.com — books, CDs, and online videos (some free, some for a fee) on all kinds of topics, including HTML, CSS, Web design, Web development, etc.
- HTML Goodies — lots of topics from HTML to graphics, mobile, and databases
- W3 Schools — one of the best resources for short tutorials in all Web-related subjects (all free)
Microsoft®, Windows®, Expression®, Expression Web®, and FrontPage®