These days there are numerous ways that an aspiring webmaster can build a website, from the super complex down to the really easy. RapidWeaver from Realmac Software fits nicely in between, offering simple and easy to use ways of creating a website yet allowing enough flexibility for more advanced users to be able to spread their wings a little.
With Apple’s abandonment of iWeb, many home brew would-be website owners have been left without a way to easily build a site in a friendly WYSIWYG environment and RapidWeaver more than fills that void. Today we’ll be taking a look at how to make a simple website with RapidWeaver.
First of all, you’ll want to get RapidWeaver downloaded to your computer. This can be done either through the Mac App Store or directly from the RapidWeaver site. Once you’ve installed the program you can start building your site almost immediately!
Adding a Page
The first thing you’ll probably want to do when you set out is to add your first page and get some of your content into that page. Doing this with RapidWeaver is simple. To create a new page simply click Add Page and you’ll be presented with a drop down box with the various types of webpages that are able to be created directly within the software. If your aim is to create a standard webpage then it’s probably best to scroll down and choose the Styled Text option. Selecting this option will open a word processor style screen for you to add your content (but we’ll get that later).
For the more advanced users who have knowledge of HTML or other languages, selecting the option HTML Code allows you to add content using HTML, XHTML or PHP. I’d recommend studying the different options available in order to find the best types of pages to suit your own style of website.
Adding your Content
Some people say that a website is judged on the strength of its content and with RapidWeaver adding your content to pages is simple. With a standard Styled Text page, content can be added in much the same way as you would add content and text to a Word Processor. Text can be pasted, typed or dragged and dropped into the window and from there re arranged to suit your needs.
Any images that you may wish to add to your site can simply be dragged and dropped into the word processor style area and, as with text, moved around freely.
Choosing a Theme
RapidWeaver comes with a number (47 to be exact) of built-in themes that control how your website looks. Selecting and implementing a theme for your website is easy.
Simply click the Themes option on the menu bar to open up the themes menu. From there just click a theme and it will be instantly selected for use on your website. The cool thing with RapidWeaver is that selecting a new theme will not alter the style of your content so you won’t have to spend time re-sizing images or formatting your content again. This is a great system as some website builders fail to do this and can cause a great deal of frustration.
You can easily review how your website will look by using the preview switch at the bottom of RapidWeaver. Clicking from the Pen icon over to the Eye Icon will bring up a preview of your site with all your content and pages shown. Since RapidWeaver takes care of all the formatting for you when you switch themes this can be used to quickly find the best theme for you (the images on the theme menu are a little small to properly see what each theme looks like).
Adding hyperlinks to your website is super simple in RapidWeaver. To add a link to another URL or even another page on your own website you simply highlight the word or phrase that you want to be a link and click the Add Link button at the bottom left of the editing screen. Doing this will open up a drop down box giving allowing you to control where that link will take the user.
Clicking the menu that reads URL will give you the option of linking to either an external URL or selecting any of the pages that you have created for your own website within RapidWeaver. You can also choose to link to a resource if you desire.
Publishing your Site
Once you’ve chosen a theme and organized your content so that you’re happy with the way your website looks it’s going to be time to get it published. Luckily, in RapidWeaver this only takes a few clicks of the mouse.
Before you click the all important Publish button in the top right of RapidWeaver you must make sure that you’ve added the relevant information regarding the setup to your site. To do this, hit the Setup button also in the top right and fill in some of the information such as site title, site footer and more importantly the web address that your site will be at. Once that’s been done hit the Publish button and fill in the information requested such as your MobileMe information (if you’re going down that avenue) or your own server information.
It’s important to note that this article is aimed at helping those who wish to create a very basic website. Within RapidWeaver itself there are a great number of help files and video tutorials which assist with a variety of difficulties that you may encounter when building your website. RapidWeaver is a great way to get your content and site out there!