So you want to create the perfect website, one that everyone will flock to and will increase your reputation and profit tenfold. You have the substance; you just need to get the style spot on. If you are a complete computer wiz then no doubt your intricate knowledge of HTML and CSS means that you can put all the tiny building blocks into place yourself. For the rest of us mere mortals there is Adobe Dreamweaver, the premier web design tool for business.

A website is a multilayered beast made up of image files, HTML pages and various other bits and pieces. The key to creating a cohesive, accessible site is to form a directory to store and locate all these files in. This is known as defining a site and it is the crucial thing to do for Dreamweaver to work its magic. Essentially everything needs to be in its proper place and whilst it is possible to construct a site without first defining it, chances are it will result in an unstructured, illogical mess. Defining a site is highly recommended if you want to make your site readily understandable to the casual browser.

The root directory is where it all begins. This directory includes all the fundamental files that go to make up your website and it is this list that Dreamweaver works from. If it is not included in the root directory then Dreamweaver will not acknowledge it and will prompt you to include any unknown files within the directory.

So how do you go about defining your site? The first thing to do is to select the Site Definition option within the Manage Sites dialog box. Here you input the site name and the location of files to be incorporated into it. You can then edit these files so that they become recognisable to Dreamweaver. It is important to remember that the site you are constructing here is not the same site that Joe Public will be visiting; the finished article is the live site whilst this version is the development site. Working on this copy allows you to make mistakes and experiment without damaging the credibility of your actual site. The Site Definition Wizard also allows you to configure files and share them with other users.

Once you have located and edited your files Dreamweaver gets to work and creates the site cache. This assimilates all the information you have inputted about your files and stores each location for easy access.

After defining your site the whole business of creating your site with Dreamweaver becomes both much simpler and more exciting. Immediately possibilities are opened up to you; you can navigate through numerous definitions with the Files Panel, edit a site definition to alter and amend its settings, compartmentalise directories and file folders.

As Dreamweaver is such a sophisticated piece of software it is wise to enrol on a course that will teach you all the aspects and layers that go into its formation. Defining a site is only the beginning of your fantastic journey into web design!