How to Create a Website Using iWeb

This past weekend I created a 4-page website (link has expired) for my Mom (83) to feature an art show she had recently. It was a fairly simple process, but then again, I am a web developer by trade! More than once I’ve discovered that things are easy…if you know what you are doing. If you don’t? Well then, all bets are off.

Part way through the process I discovered a 25-page iWeb instruction manual (PDF) from Apple inside my Application Support folder. (Computer > Users > roxanne (my user) > Library > Application Support > iWeb. I’ve uploaded here for your convenience.)

It’s very helpful, but being a trainer myself and having seen people resist tech support’s most common recommendation, RTFM I decided to add a little to the planning process.

# There are many themes you can choose from for your web site.
** The theme is the overall look and feel of the site – the background graphics, the colors, the fonts, and so forth.
** As you click on a theme, to the right you will see the different _templates_ that come bundled with that theme.
# Templates define the layout of each individual page.
** The templates come with columns and added bits of content to show you the layout.
** The templates come with “dummy” text. All you have to do is retype in the boxes with your content.
** You can move the boxes around and you can add more or less content than the dummy text. And you can use the templates for different types of content, but it’s easiest to just start with the basics.
** Try to think of your content as generic stuff: it is mostly text? Use the “About Me” template. Is it mostly pictures or graphics? Use the Photo template. Do you want to add a podcast or audio file? Then use the Podcast template.
# iWeb will automatically create the site navigation for you as you add new pages, by clicking the plus sign at the bottom of the left column.
** Then choose the template you want to use for your new page.
** You can change the name of your pages (e.g. from “About Me” to “Mission Statement”).
** You can also change the order of them, just by dragging them up or down in the left hand list.
# Some of the templates actually have secondary templates included.
** For example, if you add a “blog” it will automatically create the main page of your blog, an individual post, and an archives page, which lists all of your previous posts.
** Likewise, if you create a “gallery” it will create the main page for all of your thumbnails and it will create the individual detail page for each photo as well as the slideshow option. The basic gallery page shows 3 images. All you have to do is create an album in your iPhoto, select all, then drag them right on top of the “dummy” images and voila! You have a gallery page.
# You can work on your site (and SAVE OFTEN) without publishing it.
** So take your time and get it the way you want.
** You can also edit it again and again once it has been published.
# Build your basic site first, then begin exploring how to add more functionality.
** Your can let visitors leave comments on any page.
** You can add an “email me” button anywhere on any page.

Was this helpful? Let me know and I will do more iWeb tutorials. I am thinking about doing a screen cast movie to accompany this post as well.