This is a beginner-friendly tutorial on how to start making a website. In this post I go over the options for creating a website. You can choose the method you want to make your website with based on the time and effort you want to put into it, and also the level of familiarity with coding. You can be a total beginner and make a nice and pleasant looking website without writing a single line of code, or you can go old school, open a notepad and code your website from scratch! or you can choose a way somewhere in between. There are website designing options for everyone.
Before getting to creating the website, there are two steps that you need to take before actually making your website:
1. Registering a domain:
2. Signing up for a web hosting package:
The web host is the company which gives your website a home on the net. Your website files on their servers. They also provide you with emails with your website’s address and probably some softwares and scripts that you can use for designing your website or maintaining it.
3. Designing the website:
Now you are ready to take the third step and start making your website. By this point, it should be clear to you that what kind of website you want to create. Is it your work portfolio, your business’s website, do you want to sell something on the internet, or if it is a blog that you plan to write about your hobbies in it. Based on the answer to these questions and the amount of time, effort and money you want to spend, the option you choose can be different. Let’s go through the options:
This is how people used to make website during the early years of internet. They started by opening an HTML editor, most of the times notepad, and coding the website from the scratch. They had to write the code for every single piece of each webpage. If you want to do the same, although you would have the ultimate control over your website which can result in a very clean HTML code, the downside is the abundant amount of time (or money if you want to hire someone to do this for you) you need to spend to get something acceptable at the end. A very high level of familiarity with coding is necessary. Nowadays there are methods to have the same level of control in creating a website without the cons of hard-coding.
These softwares usually come with the web hosting package and differ from host to host. Their main advantage is that they are easy to use, and do not need the user to be familiar with HTML. The range of the websites that can be built is from personal websites to simple e-commerce websites. Making a website with a website builder can be as easy as choosing a template, changing the text and images, adding new pages with the predetermined design, and that’s about it!
If you want to find a feeling of how this actually might be, you can make a free one on Google.
- Quick way for making a website.
- Usually included in the web hosting account.
- Various ready to use widgets.
- Easy to use.
- No coding knowledge needed.
- No control over website appearance other than choosing the template.
- Cannot make large and complex websites.
- Amateur look of the website.
Another option for designing a website is to use the available softwares for creating well-designed websites in a time efficient and cost effective way. There are various WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors available such as: Kompozer, iWeb, Adobe Dreamweaver, and Microsoft Expression Web. Kompozer is free but you should pay money for the rest. I will write a separate post on the WYSIWYG editors. They provide a real time view of the website, while you can drag and drop (in some of them) and arrange the items on the page without having to change the code. You can edit the HTML code of the page simultaneously as well if you want.
- More flexibility compared to online website builders.
- Ready to use widgets.
- More control over layout, code, and design.
- Not necessarily free.
- More complicated than online website builders.
- Not as fast and easy as online site builders. Takes time to make a professional looking website with them.
A CMS is a software package that can be used to publish, edit, modify, and maintain a website right from the website’s URL. A publisher can go to their login page, and enter the administrative environment. Write and prepare the article he/she wants to publish, and publish it from there.
The layout of these websites can be either hard coded, made using a WYSIWYG, or come from a template. Even if you decide to use a template, that template can be customized to generate a uniqueness feeling. There are usually many widgets that can be used to further customize your website for your specific purpose.
WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla are a few of popular CMSs. There are many people developing various plugins for them and the capabilities that can be added easily to the websites based on them are significant.
- Rather easy use if you do not want to customize.
- Many plugins and widgets to choose from.
- Enabling multiple authors to develop and publish on one website.
- User needs to know the underlying code in order to trouble shoot in some cases.
- Softwares and plugins need to be upgraded from time to time.