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How To Build A Website - Five Basic Options

Jul 19, 2008
When you have decided that you need a website you find yourself at the next logical step. How do I build a website? From the perspective of someone who has not build a website before this must seem like a daunting task. However, it's not that hard and there are many options for someone who wants to learn how to build a website.

Since you probably want someone to host your website anyway you might as well try to find out if they have site builder software. Almost since the beginning of the internet there have been web hosts with build in site building software. Usually this kind of software will let you choose from a number of different templates. When you've picked your template it's just a matter of adding content to your website. However, you should be aware that this will probably not give you a website that looks terribly unique.

Another option is to use a html editor with a build in wysiwig editor. Wysiwig is geek talk for, what you see is what you get. Dreamweaver is a really good example of this type of software. It allows you to drag and drop elements into your website. In many ways it works just like a word processing tool like Microsoft office. The main difference is that you have a far greater number of options. In the beginning this is a good way to build your website. However, in my opinion if you want to learn how to build a website you might as well do it from scratch.

That means learning HTML. Html is short for HyperText Markup Language. Every single website you look at on the internet is written in html. Sure there are often other scripting and programming languages involved, but at heart it's all html. One way to do it would be to create your website with a wysiwig editor as mentioned above and then look at the code it generates. I recommend having a good html reference handy when you do that.

If you want to do simple tasks there are plenty of good html books on the market. I personally got started in the business because I picked up "HTML For Dummies" for a school project. A book like that with small step-by-step examples and maybe a few tasks for the reader are a great way to get started if you ask me.

The main problem with "plain" HTML files are managing them. By managing them I mean updating the content on your website. That's where content management systems come in handy. A content management system is basically a website that can be maintained by a webmaster without the technical knowledge that is otherwise required. In other words, with a content management system you don't need to learn how to build a website.

However if you wish to be able to customize the look and feel of your website I still highly recommend taking up html. In the end you will only benefit from it.

There is also plenty of site building software on the market today. A lot of it is highly customized for specific purposes. Currently a special kind of scraping software know as "scraping software" is very popular. The idea behind this kind of software is that it will not only help you build your website, it will also find content for you based on specific keywords decided by you. They do this by "scraping" article directories for content matching the keywords you entered. It's an easy way to build a website and most of this software will also let you enter your own content in some way. Again, however, it's not always easy to customize the look and feel of these sites.

The initial question, how to build a website, can be answered in numerous ways. It depends very much on what you want to do with your website. Do you want to get as many websites running as fast as possible? Do you want to be able to maintain a high quality website easily? Or is it just as much a matter of running a small family website? What you should do really depends on how you answer that question.

If you just want to build a simple website using a wysiwig editor or an editor provided by your web host is a perfectly viable option. If you need to have full control over the look and feel of your website I recommend that you learn some html.
About the Author
Mike Nielsen is a web developer from Denmark dedicated to providing tools for other aspiring web developers and others aspiring to make a living online. At Web Construction he provides numerous resources to that end.
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