Learning to Build Websites

You are just learning to build websites. By that I mean you are in the process of learning how to build a website from scratch. You are wondering where to start or you have already started and need some direction. This is a plan that I hope will help you narrow down this very large topic.

Related article: Build Your Own Website.

I was a web designer for 5 years. I've built very large and very small sites. But I still remember how over whelmed I was when I first decided to learn how to create a website.

Here's how my education went. I picked up a book on HTML. In that book they expected you to know CSS. So I picked up a book on CSS. In that book they expected you to know JavaScript. So I picked up a book on JavaScript. In that book they expected you to know DOS or some other thing. And so on and so onÂ…

Well, hopefully I will be able to save you from going through all that. Here's the long-term plan in more or less the right order:

Choose a topic for a website that YOU want to build.

Pick something you are excited and passionate about. Be specific. Narrow down exactly what topic you want to cover. Got it? Ok!

If you are passionate about your website your passion will help you overcome obstacles that get in your way (if any). If you don't care about what you are doing, at the first hint of trouble you're likely to give up.

Build a site free and fast with 'drag and drop' software.

Go to Google and search for "build a free website in minutes" or something like that. Find one that promises to have your site up in minutes. It will take much longer than what they say but that's ok. You are doing this to get the experience.

These types of sites are built with "drag and drop" or "point and click" software. That's your first step. Put some pictures up. Write some articles or blogs. See what it's like. You might even like that for a while. But soon you are going to want to do things with your site that you can't do with the "point and click" software.

Learn basic HTML.

This is by far the most important technology for you to learn. Web pages are built (for the most part) with HTML. Learning HTML will help you a lot no matter what type of site you are trying to build. The more HTML you learn the more things you will be able to do and the better your pages will be.

Here are a couple of articles to get you going: HTML Tutorial for Beginners and HTML Basics.

Learn how to use an HTML editor.

An HTML editor will help you make web pages much more rapidly than if you were writing the HTML by hand. Dreamweaver would be a great choice. Many professional web desigers use Dreamweaver.

If you are just "testing the waters" you may just want to pick up a free HTML editor. Coffee Cup is popular.

Learn how to use an image editor.

By far the image editor of choice for web designers is Photoshop. If you absolutely know that you are going to be a professional web designer then PhotoShop is the way to go. It is a bit pricey.

If you are looking for a free image editor that has been getting good ratings try this free image editor review.

Learn basic cascading style sheets (CSS).

CSS is a BIG time saver in the long run. Yes it takes a little while to set up but once you do it it's simple. CSS will allow you to change the style of HTML elements on many pages almost instantly. Say, for instance, you want to change the color of all the text on your website. You could change one thing in one file (the style sheet) and instantly all the pages of your site would have different colored text.

Here are a couple of articles to get you started: CSS Tutorial and CSS Example.

Learn basic JavaScript.

At this stage of the game you want to learn just enough JavaScript so that you can cut and paste scripts you find on the web. You don't want to go through all the trouble of writing your own JavaScript at this time. Maybe you will later. Not now. You just want to be able to add different types of functionality to your site. There are many neat and useful JavaScript scripts out there on the web that would be perfect for your site.

Here's an article to get you started: JavaScript Tutorial for Beginners.

Learn basic search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO is what you do to get more people visiting your site from the search engines. What if you had the greatest site in the world and no one knew about it? It would be a big waste. A few simple SEO techniques will help bring people to your site. No tricks, no deceiving the search engines, just keeping it real.

Here is an introductory article: Search Engine Optimization.

That's your basic plan for learning to build websites. Decide what you want to do with your site. Create a site free and fast. Learn basic HTML. Learn how to use an HTML editor. Learn how to use an image editor. Learn basic Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Learn basic JavaScript. Learn basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO). After you accomplish these things you will be able to learn and do anything else you need. This site will supply you with a lot of this.

Want a second opinion? Try this article about: Learning to Build Websites.

Website Building Tip

Website building is a BIG field.

If you feel overwhelmed with all the technology LEARN HTML FIRST. You can do a lot of things with HTML alone.

Using other technologies like CSS and JavaScript will be easier once you get HTML under your belt.