Publishing Your Photos—Your Own Web Site
When you want total control of your Web site, you can set up your own. All you need is a domain name, a hosting service, and an authoring tool. Lets look at some of the choices you have.
- Free accounts. You may find that your Internet service provider (a company
such as Comcast that you use to connect to the Internet) may offer free accounts. By providing templates that establish the overall look of the site, they make setting up a site as easy as possible. It's almost as easy as filling in forms. Visitors go to the site by entering a URL such as http://home.comcast.net/~johndoe/ or http://johndoe.home.comcast.net. You can also use other,
more powerful authoring tools to create your pages on your computer and then copy them to your personal Web page, bypassing the site's templates and other tools. Some services offer authoring tools as free downloads.
When you post images on the Web, they are easy to steal. Services such as picscout.com and digimarc.com digitally mark your images and then continually search the Web for images with those digital marks. When it finds any, it reports back to you so you can take action.
- Your own domain name. If you are serious about having a Web site, it's better to register your own domain name such as www.yourname.com and then find a place to host your site. Companies such as Pair.com or Network Solutions will do both for you. Although you have to pay an annual fee to register a domain name and there are monthly charges to have the site hosted, your bonus is a permanent e-mail address. For example, since I registered the domain name shortcourses.com for my Web site, I can use the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org. My Web host doesn't store mail sent to that address,they immediately forward it to my e-mail account at my Internet service prover (Comcast). If I change e-mail accounts I just go to my Web host and tell them where to forward new mail. As long as I hold the shortcourses. com domain name, I have a permanent e-mail address.
When picking a hosting service, here are some questions to ask.
- What is the data transfer limit? There is usually a monthly limit on how much data can be transferred from the site to visitors. Since photos have fairly large file sizes, if you are lucky enough to get an unexpectedly high number of visitors, there may be additional charges. How are these overcharges calculated?
- How much storage space is provided? You have to store your images and other files on the site and there is usually a limit—often one that includes the site's log which grows in size every day.
- What on-line tools are provided to help you build your site? Can you upload to it from other Web authoring tools such as Dreamweaver?
The tools you need to create your Web site depend on your goals.
- Integrated album builders. When you just want to post images on your site, you'll find that many photo programs such as Aperture, Lightroom, and Picasa can automatically create photo gallery pages in HTML format, complete with links and navigation buttons. When finished generating your pages, you upload all of the files to a folder on your Web site. When a visitor to the gallery clicks any thumbnail, a larger version of the image is displayed. The pages also have all of the navigation buttons and other devices that allow a visitor to scroll through the images. Aperture offers an alternative Web Journal format if you want to add text and captions to your gallery.
- Stand-alone album builders such as JAlbum are designed specifically to help you create album pages that you then copy to your Web site. These programs include templates that set the album's style and navigation controls and automatically creates thumbnails and links them to full-screen images. When finished, the program copies all necessary files to your Web site.
- Full-featured Web Authoring applications such as Dreamweaver, Expression Web or iWeb let you visually design and lay out your Web site, starting from a template or blank page.
Interestingly, programs that let you create your Web site on your desktop make it possible for you to copy all of the files to a CD or USB flash drive. The site can then be viewed locally on any system with a browser. This is a good way to show off images even when you don't want to put them on-line.
CuteFTP lets you FTP
files to your Web site as if it were just another drive on your system. Folders and files on your
computer are shown in the left pane and those on your Web host in the right pane. Just drag and drop to copy files from the computer to the site.
get your images on-line almost immediately. Courtesy of Web Gallery Wizard.
One of Lightroom's Web Album templates.
. HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language and is the formatting language you use to create Web pages.
. FTP stands for file transport protocol and is used to upload your Web page files to your Web site.
Most of us want to avoid having to write HTML code (left) because it's essentially programming. We prefer to work visually (right). A program such as Dreamweaver lets you work either way.