Welcome to the wonderful world of WYSIWYG ('what you see is what you get,' pronounced wizeewig) html editors. They let you put up pages quickly. In fact, after you have set up the style of the pages you want to use, they can be as fast as a blog post. You can type or paste in the text that you want to use and the editor will work out the code for it.
I prefer working with pure code in simple text editors, but do appreciate and make use of Expression Web (a part of Expression Studio).
A quality product at el cheapo prices
Expression Studio 4 Web Professional used to sell for over $300 for each of its 3 parts. I had to check today to update this page and found it is now under $100. That's a very pleasant surprise.
I do make good use of Expression Web. The capability I appreciate most is its emphasis on valid code. That is a nice new direction for Microsoft.
If there is a problem with a page, one of the first things I do is run the code through a validator. With the w3.org online validator, error reporting is sometimes complex and doesn't point to just where the problem is. A single error might get a dozen comments. Often none of them will point to the exact problem. There will be comments like "this error might be produced by an unescaped ampersand somewhere on the page or it might be something else..." Have you ever been frustrated by that sort of stuff?
With Expression Web, if you type in anything invalid, there is a small warning triangle at the bottom of the window. Each invalid part of the code gets a light yellow highlight. On hover, a simple comment appears about why it is a problem. Once you see exactly where the problem is, most of your troubles are over.
Another use for EW that I am happy about, is code optimization. It does that better than any online optimizer I have used. Optimizing css is not a problem, but with html it can get tricky. I once had vertical Amazon ads that displayed as horizontal ads of a different size after optimizing. Did that ever mess up the layout.
The ad used a script, and after a couple of pages like that, I quit optimizing the script part of pages. I would only optimize the rest of the page. When I optimized a page using EW, to my surprise, all the white space was stripped out except for the scripts. They were left intact. The people that put EW together are at least as smart as I am.
And finally, one of the serious problems putting web pages together is that they will often look different in different browsers, even if the code is valid. Different browsers just do things differently. EW has a "Super Preview" program that is great. If you ever have to beat a site into shape for IE 6, this is the perfect tool. It shows the page you want in 2 browsers side by side. You can select Firefox or any Internet Explorer from 6 up.
You just paste the file path into it and it opens the page into the 2 selected browsers. This works better than any of the online "browser shots" sites I have used.
It was IE 6 that inspired the recipe for the web developer's cocktail. Pour 4 oz of brandy into a blender. (Adjust as needed.) Add an aspirin and a Tylenol. (Adjust as needed.) Blend, relax, and recover.
And finally, one of the strongest advantages of EW. If you have a large site, the navigation and the file paths can get complex. Every site I have has been growing. I keep finding more ideas to add to them. There are folders within folders.
Suppose you have an images folder and you want to add a second folder called graphics. You move your smilie collection to the graphics folder. Now you will have to adjust the file path on every page that calls for a smilie. On a large site, that will take a lot of time.
If you do it within Expression Web, it will change all the file paths to point to the new folder. It will basically become a content management system for the site.
I've been embarrassed by wrong file paths, and appreciate that part of EW.
The other 2 programs included in Expression Studio are Expression Design, for working with website graphics and photos, and Expression Encoder, for working with website video.
A surprising cheaper product making its way up the Amazon software charts is SiteSpinner V2. It does have a lot of impressive reviews. The reviews start about half way down each page that these links open.
I used to enjoy making good solid forum posts with a lot of information. After I got fast at putting up web pages I started putting up a new page instead. If I do like a forum that inspired it, sometimes I will post it there too, but I'll put up a page now at the drop of a hat.
Sometimes it's just because I think I have something useful to say about an issue. If you do have a general issue website, you can pile on topics like cord wood. (Pardon the farm folk stuff.) Every extra page gives the search engines one more thing to associate with your website.
You can also do a blog style page with each new post at the top of the page. Every time you have something new to add to the topic you can just put it at the top of the page with the date or a horizontal rule or whatever you want to use to section it off. When you do use a WYSIWYG editor to add this type of post to a page, it takes about 2 minutes, and that includes the time it takes to pour a double brandy after you finish.
You wind up without some of the blog disadvantages like huge file size and slow load time. You also save yourself the time it takes to make posts on forums like: "My blog was hacked. How do I get it back?" A simple css and html site is the most secure online platform there is, without a wagonload of updates and security plug-ins. Why it's just like having fuel efficient tractor.
One new negative that sounds serious for blogs is that Google is starting to take site load times into consideration when ranking a site. Here is the Google article about it. (On a blog!) Your site's performance in Webmaster Tools.
I don't mean to make this sound too easy. Unless you can find a template you like, getting your first page set up will take some time. Getting to know your editor will also take a bit of use. And you will even learn some html as you go along just by seeing it used.
Everyone is so different and will go in different directions with web pages. Those are just 2 things I use pages for, to express opinions and to add topics to a site.
Adobe Dreamweaver CS4 is more sophisticated, more expensive and has a learning curve, but is also the most capable. People do usually mention that the curve is worth it because of its capabilities but you might want to check your enthusiasm level about that.
It does have a strange problem that I wouldn't expect after paying that much money (!) It is difficult to get it to save pages as UTF-8, and here is an interesting forum thread where one person mentions saving a few Japanese characters in commented out code to force it to save as UTF-8. utf-8/ansi pain in the neck
In fact most of what I read about Dreamweaver rubs me the wrong way. Why bother with an editor that is more difficult to learn than html and css? I'm truly baffled.
Besides that, they have some kind of special arrangement with Amazon that won't let me link directly to the latest edition. Maybe they aren't trying to be difficult on purpose, but I'm starting to get suspicious. I can link you to the WYSIWYG page and you can find it there.