Get Started With Building a Website or Blog-Part 2

After you purchase and register a domain name and hosting service, you are ready to build your website or blog

Common Ways That People Build Websites:

Using a text editor: Building a website totally from scratch can seem like a daunting task, because it requires that you learn a bit about HTML (HyperText Markup Language), CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), and perhaps, FTP (File Transfer Protocol).

To the untrained eye, HTML and CSS look like a bunch of gibberish.  HTML is a coding language which communicates to web browsers how the webpages of a website or blog display in web browsers, like Internet Explorer and Chrome.

HTML involves the use of “elements” such as tags and attributes (example, <b>OMG</b>).  CSS gives the designer much more creative ability to jazz up webpages than does HTML.

HTML and CSS aren’t as complicated as they appear to be.  Yet, building a website with raw code from scratch is a very time consuming and tedious process.  It also requires attention to detail and patience.

Working with raw code doesn’t require the use of any special or expensive software. You can actually start the process of building webpages, within a simple text editor, such as Notepad.

Quite frankly, it is advisable to at least learn the fundamentals of these two languages.  In doing so, you will have more flexibility and design control over your website.  It will also give you an edge if you decide to upgrade to more advanced techniques or use professional software programs to design websites.  You will also have a greater understanding of how to troubleshoot technical issues when they inevitably arise.  It’s either that, or be prepared to spend an arm and a leg for help with set-up, design, and technical support issues.

There are many tools available that make the process much simpler.  These are some software programs which can assist people in building and designing websites:

WYSIWYG Software Editors:  A WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) editing program eliminates the requirement to learn a programming language in order to build a website or blog.  These programs allow users the option to work with raw HTML and CSS or to work with text.  The text editing option feels similar to working with a word processing program, which shows you what the webpage will look like after it is published.

Still, there is a learning curve with any software program that you use.  Some examples of WYSIWYG editors are Adobe Dreamweaver and Microsoft Expression Web.  These are not free and some of these programs are very expensive.   Coffee Cup has both free and paid version of their website editing program to help people build websites.

CMS (Content Management Systems): 

  • WordPress- Free open-source blogging software; WordPress users can install themes and widgets to the dashboard in order to customize the appearance and layout of the blog. Plugins are used to expand on the functionality of the blog.  There are thousands of WordPress themes and plugins available (some are free and others have a cost).  Some people are wary of WordPress, for it is prone to security breaches.  Hackers are adept at inserting malicious code into outdated WordPress plugins and themes.  So, it is imperative that WordPress themes and plugins are kept updated.

Online Website/Blog Builders:  These allow users to build a website by use of drag and drop widgets.  The advantage of using them is that they are very user-friendly and easy to learn.  You can create a website literally in minutes.

  • Wix– Free and premium paid versions available. They insert their own ads on free hosted blogs. A wide array of very nice website design templates are available. There is no need to manually edit the source code of the website. WYSIWYG editor and user-friendly building tools are included.
  • Weebly– Free and premium paid versions available. Weebly places their own ads on free hosted blogs. Weebly has a catalog of website design templates, although their catalog is not as extensive compared to Wix. WYSIWYG editor and building tools are included, so hand coding is not necessary.
  • Blogger– Owned by Google; Free-hosted blogging service; Allows users to change the look and functionality of the blog by use of widgets and templates. You can also make changes to the HTML and add CSS to Blogger blogs. Google does not automatically incorporate ads on the blog even though the hosting is free. This is a nice touch for people who don’t desire any ads on their blog.

I am neither an internet whiz, nor a tech guru.  I know just enough HTML and CSS to do a little damage.  There are some free resources on the internet, to help you gain a firm foundation for building a website from scratch using HTML and CSS.  You will have access to many tutorials that walk you through the beginning process, step-by-step.

Additional resources:

W3cschools

HTML Goodies