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Twenty years ago the Internet was a fledgling way of communicating. Today, there is no more widespread technology in the world. Internet shopping and product research are so commonplace that success in business often hinges on the quality of a company's website. It has become imperative that even small business owners operate a professional looking website if they expect their business to succeed. Of course, it's not just businesses that have the need for a snazzy website but there are also a myriad of recreational users who want to maintain their own World Wide Web addresses. However, there is (or was) a problem.


Designing websites used to be nearly impossible for those of us who don't have extensive knowledge of computer languages, programs and formats. Most folks who desire a beautifully designed and smoothly functioning website think they have no alternative other than paying a professional web designer to create one for them. Hiring a web designer can cost upwards of thousands of dollars and even then you must pay more if the web page ever needs to be changed in any way. All in all, it is an expensive hassle that many people don't see any way around.   


What most folks don't realize, however, is that there are tools and programs that can help. There are programs on the market today that can enable someone with no computer programming experience whatsoever to create his or her own professional quality web site. I am a big fan of one of the most powerful of these tools that is named SiteGrinder. SiteGrinder is, simply put, a plug-in to the popular Adobe Photoshop program, which allows any design I have created in Photoshop to be transferred to the World Wide Web quickly and easily. 


The Forerunner of SiteGrinder  


In 1988, Thomas Knoll began work on his first version of image-editing software as a PhD student at the University of Michigan. The next year, Thomas, with help from his brother John, pitched his program to engineers at Apple computers and the art director at Adobe. Both showings were successful and Thomas released Photoshop 1.0 in 1990. It was available exclusively on Macintosh computers. Photoshop was, and is, a pixel-based image editor that allows users to conform computer images to almost anything. The program has come a long way from its modest inception almost two decades ago.


Today anyone who is well versed in computer jargon is familiar with the Adobe Photoshop software program. In fact, the program has become so popular that it has even spawned its own verb, "photoshopping", which is used to describe the act of editing or altering a visual image. Millions of people have utilized this innovative program to create stunning graphic images. Photoshop has received a lot of praise from consumers for its powerful applications and easy-to-use interfaces. The newest version of Adobe Photoshop, CS4, sells for $999, and there is also a student license available for only $199. But despite Photoshop's massive popularity, the program does have important limitations.  


The biggest drawback of the software is that it is not easy to transfer designs created in the Photoshop program to a personal website. That's because the Internet is made up of many different types of codes that tend to distort and alter graphic designs. The result of all this is that even users who are very skilled at using Photoshop have a tough time designing their own websites. In fact, unless people spend the time and effort to learn complicated computer languages like CSS, javascript, and HTML they struggle to create websites that look "professional." That is where SiteGrinder comes in.


A Problem Solver


SiteGrinder turns Adobe Photoshop into a convenient and powerful tool that can be used to design innovative and striking web pages without the need to learn any complicated computer codes. It's true! A prospective web designer who is equipped with SiteGrinder needs no HTML expertise. Anyone who can use Adobe Photoshop can create professional-grade web graphics. SiteGrinder allows a user to convert any image from Photoshop to a personal web page without the design being altered at all. The graphics will appear exactly the same on your IP address as they do in Photoshop.


The reason that SiteGrinder can do this is because SiteGrinder is compatible with CSS, HTML, Web image formats and many other types of Internet formats and codes. SiteGrinder requires no programming experience to use. The only thing you need to do is create whatever gorgeous web designs you would like in Photoshop and SiteGrinder will ensure that your graphics look the same on the web page as they did when you first created them. SiteGrinder also has been programmed to ensure cross-platform browser compatibility, so no matter which platform and browser a visitor to your site is using, the appearance of the pages will be identical.


Helpful Features


SiteGrinder can help you design the perfect exterior to your website, but that is not all it can help you with. The SiteGrinder program also allows you to add special layers, such as "buttons," "roll-overs," and "pop-ups", which are necessary to have a properly functioning web page. These special layers are called "Hints", and, with the help of SiteGrinder, are incredibly easy to create. Because SiteGrinder comes equipped with this awesome feature, you can create gorgeous web sites that function so smoothly no one will be able to tell they weren't professionally constructed. The best part is, SiteGrinder is such a powerful tool that after you launch the SiteGrinder plug-in, it takes only a matter of minutes before your web page will be up and running with only a few simple clicks of a mouse. SiteGrinder is such a powerful tool that professional web designers use it in their own personal practices.        


Currently there is a huge demand for expertly designed web sites. The title "Professional Web Designer" is listed on various business sites as one of the fastest growing occupations in the US, and frankly there are not enough experienced web designers to go around. That is where SiteGrinder can help. The program is so powerful it can turn anyone who is skilled in Photoshop into a professional web designer. I bet you never imagined that simple Photoshop skills could open the door to a new career, but with SiteGrinder they can. Even experienced web engineers can benefit from adding SiteGrinder to what they already do. The program can increase productivity for anyone's site and, most importantly, it can help your bottom line.


Of course, professional web designers aren't the only ones who can benefit from a program as powerful and easy-to-use as SiteGrinder 2. The majority of people who purchase the SiteGrinder software don't design websites for a living. Instead, they are small business owners who are fed up with being held hostage by their web engineer. Many business owners have found that after their web page has been implemented it's like pulling teeth to get their well-paid web designers to make even the smallest alterations to their web page. SiteGrinder 2 allows these business owners to control the entire process of design, construction and maintenance of their own web sites. Imagine the freedom of never having to deal with a condescending Internet expert ever again!


Anyone who has ever attempted to master a computer language knows how difficult it is. Take that and multiply it many times over and you have an idea of how tough it is to create a web page by using the typical computer programming methodology. That is why SiteGrinder is so revolutionary; it takes a mind-boggling, complex process and distills it into something that is useable for anyone who has even rudimentary Photoshop skills. All you need to do is design the web page of your dreams and then click "Build" and presto, you have a web page that is fully standards-compliant, CSS-rich and looks exactly like your design in Photoshop.


How Does SiteGrinder Work?


At this point you might be asking yourself, how SiteGrinder manages to get all of this done. Well, the answer to that question can be seen in the features that have been built into this powerful design tool. You see, SiteGrinder 2 has been worked on by some of the most pre-eminent software designers in the world. It has dozens of unique characteristics, each one specifically designed in order to make SiteGrinder the most powerful web design tool on the market.


Handy Text Functions


Sitegrinder Text FunctionPhotoshop contains powerful tools for producing stylish text and fonts. Websites have increasingly flexible options for employing text layers through technologies like CSS. SiteGrinder combines these two characteristics and allows users to transfer text layers that look exactly the same in Photoshop as they do on the web. The text on the web is live text, which means it is searchable, selectable and modifiable with any web page editing tool. And it can all be done in the same format and style as the text was originally designed in. SiteGrinder also preserves the same spacing and special characteristics that you as a designer might use in a word processor. Qualities like bold, italic, and underlined type are easily retained. In addition, you can also maintain leading, left, right, center, and justified paragraph alignment. This program even translates indentation, right and left margins and pre- and post- paragraph spacing into CSS. If you have ever tried building a website without SiteGrinder, you know just how useful these features can be.


There are two types of text on a website. One is "real" text. That term simply means that the text is selectable, searchable and can be modified by the web designer. The other type is called "graphic" text, which is simply there for decorative purposes, i.e. a logo. SiteGrinder gives you two ways to indicate that you would like a text field to become real text rather than graphic text on the web page. The first way is to set the layer's anti-aliasing to "none." This has the advantage of making it very easy to tell by eye which text layers in Photoshop will become graphics and which will become web text. The other technique is to simply add "-text" to the end of a text layer's name. This will cause the layer to produce web text on the resulting page that SiteGrinder builds regardless of the anti-aliasing. That's all you need to do. SiteGrinder does the rest! SiteGrinder can even create scrolling text. To instruct SiteGrinder to make a text layer into a scrolling text area on the resulting web page you need only add "-scroll" to the end of the text layer's name.


What About Graphics?


Sitegrinder Graphics Function

Similar to text, SiteGrinder can also convert any image from Photoshop to the web without changing the appearance of the graphics at all. But maybe, you want your web page to look different than your Photoshop page. In that case, SiteGrinder can be used to condense any image according to Photoshop's "Save for Web" dialog box. The user can select a compression setting that will function as the default for most layers and also select layers, which are exceptions from the default compression setting. SiteGrinder will output graphics using the compression settings you choose and tailor the HTML setting in order to match the positioning of the web page to that of the Photoshop document.


Creating Buttons


Creating Sitegrinder ButtonsAnother of the amazing features of SiteGrinder is that it can create buttons with images, text, or a combination of both. Simply adding the button "hint" to the image/text layer creates buttons. Buttons that contain graphics are referred to, appropriately, as graphical buttons. Graphical buttons are images, which serve some function when they are clicked on, or alter their appearance when you roll the mouse over them. Such graphical buttons are often called "roll-overs" for obvious reasons. Text buttons are simply swatches of text, which perform some function when clicked on. Often these are used for names of people, places or websites. SiteGrinder makes it easy to create and use any of these various types of buttons.


Buttons are generally made from two Photoshop layers. The first layer is how the button appears when the mouse is not in the vicinity and the other is the way the button looks when the mouse rolls over it. SiteGrinder can understand which layer is which by using the simple SiteGrinder naming system. A graphic layer will become a button if its name ends in "-button." That's what is referred to as a SiteGrinder "hint." The graphic will have a different appearance when a mouse rolls over it if it contains the same name as the "-button" except instead of ending in button it ends in "-rollover". Text buttons can be created in similar fashion. The only difference is that rollover effects are added in a SiteGrinder window instead of by utilizing a "-rollover" layer. It is done this way because web browsers support many text rollover effects that are not available from Photoshop.


Almost every button on a website is intended to transport the user from one web page to another. SiteGrinder realizes this and that is why it assumes that every button that is created in a document will link to another Photoshop document. If you create a button on your web page that is named "SiteGrinder-button," then SiteGrinder will assume you have created a page named SiteGrinder. In this case, you don't even need to construct the actual link to SiteGrinder; the link will be created automatically. You can also use SiteGrinder to link to different places on the Internet that you yourself have not created.


Using Menus


Creating Sitegrinder Menus

SiteGrinder also allows users to create their own web menus. Combining layers of text, graphics or both, creates menus. All it really takes is adding "-menu," a menu hint, to the end of a text layer's name. SiteGrinder handles all the rest of the work. Pop-up menus are also easy to construct using SiteGrinder. Pop-up menus are simply menus that appear when you rollover a specific text layer. To construct a pop-up menu you create a menu layer, which matches the menu item(s) that triggers it. So if you want to create a pop-up menu that appears when a user rolls over a certain word, say "pineapple," then you construct a layer which ends in "pineapple-menu." Once you create a layer ending in "pineapple-menu" you are one click of the SiteGrinder "Build" button away from having a pineapple pop-up menu.


Adding Forms


Creating Forms with SitegrinderAnother feature, which many site owners depend on, is the ability to utilize HTML forms on their web sites. HTML forms are the best way to solicit information from visitors to your site. Forms can be used to receive emails, acquire driving directions, or obtain billing or shipping information among many other uses. Photoshop does not contain a layer, which creates HTML forms. That would seem to suggest that SiteGrinder would not have the capability of producing effective HTML forms either. However, the innovative designers who created SiteGrinder have developed a straightforward method of creating forms using SiteGrinder.


SiteGrinder supports all of the common forms of HTML. Text fields, menus, multiple choice boxes and check boxes are all examples of HTML forms that can be created through SiteGrinder. In addition, SiteGrinder supports CGI and PHP email forms out of the box. That may sound complicated but in simple terms it means that as long as the user correctly names the boxes used to generate emails, such as "Subject," then the user can easily set up their web page to connect with their email account. HTML forms for a variety of other applications can be constructed by utilizing appropriate URL's and sometimes through using custom variable names.


Creative Use of Images


Sitegrinder Image Function

Another of SiteGrinder's seemingly endless list of features is the ability to produce completely flexible image galleries. This feature is aimed at photographers, artists, and other creative types who wish to display a bunch of images in an attractive, interesting, flexible and easy-to-use gallery setting. A large gallery of images can be constructed in a matter of minutes. SiteGrinder even allows its users to implement thumbnail navigation and incorporate metadata. All you need is a folder of images and a Photoshop document with a few layers denoting where thumbnails and full-sized images should appear. Then all you need to do is click "Build" and SiteGrinder will do the rest.  


Is it Really That Easy?


I know that you're probably thinking, "this sounds too good to be true." As the owner of several websites myself, I can tell you that SiteGrinder really is a tool that is invaluable to me. But you don't need to take my word for it. Go to the SiteGrinder website and check out the many example sites that are posted there. The folks at SiteGrinder are so confident that you will find their software powerful and easy-to-use that they allow prospective customers to download a free feature-complete demo version. I always tend to trust a company more when they offer a free trial, and the demo version of SiteGrinder should prove just how great this software package is even if you are still skeptical about the viability of this product.


SiteGrinder 2 makes website creation fast, easy, and fun. If you have the most basic of Photoshop skills you know everything needed to effectively use SiteGrinder 2. In a matter of hours, you will be creating beautiful, fully functioning web sites that comply with every industry standard. Just think, you never have to deal with costly web engineers again! In fact, SiteGrinder is so powerful that you might even want to utilize it to become a highly paid professional web designer yourself!


Plenty of Support


In addition to the software, SiteGrinder also offers free step-by-step online tutorial videos, lots of online documentation and sample files, and even weekly free training webinars that are only a simple mouse-click away. SiteGrinder also offers support engineers who are ready to help you get the absolute most from SiteGrinder 2. As a full-time graphic designer, I have made it my mission to help others learn from my experience. I have also made a commitment to recommend only those products that I actually use and that I find effective. SiteGrinder is one of the very best tools that I have found. So what are you waiting for? Order SiteGrinder 2 and begin designing websites with Photoshop today! But before you do, be sure to check out my free bonuses I'm throwing into the mix HERE.


Understanding the Importance of Color in Web Design


Making Website Content Easy to Read


The Importance of A Clean Web Layout


Be Smart About Your Use of Links When Designing a Website


Designing Your Website for Different Screen Resolutions and Browsers


Graphics and Images Can Help Your Website Make a Good Impression


Make Your Website Navigation Easy


Using Website Animation and Special Effects Wisely


What Not to Do When Designing a Web Page


Designing for Your Target Audience

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