General Question

Tennis5tar's avatar

What is the best way to go about creating a website for a complete beginner?

Asked by Tennis5tar (1255points) June 11th, 2008

I have no experience with coding or website design. Are there any good books that are easy to follow? Or websites? What software do I need? Literally starting from scratch here.

I am involved in a local charity and I feel like we could gain a lot more awareness and support towards the organisation if we went online. I’d like to have a blog section and a donation page…

If you’ve got any experience with this kinda thing or could recommend something to help me out, that would be fantastic!

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16 Answers

Dog's avatar

if you have a mac then I highly reccomend iWeb

For pc I use dreamweaver

There are lots of books for
dreamweaver

MamboCube's avatar

I Would suggest visiting the W3Schools website
( http://www.w3schools.com/default.asp )

also some tutorials for basic web design.

A quick google search returns this site for ‘Basic Web Design’ : http://www.yourhtmlsource.com/myfirstsite/basicwebdesign.html

One I found great for creating a CSS website was : http://www.subcide.com/tutorials/csslayout/

:)

Trustinglife's avatar

I hear http://sitebuildit.com is good, and helps walk you through all the steps to create a site.

I’m curious how much energy you have to want to learn about web design, programming, etc., or are you just wanting to get the thing up asap?

PupnTaco's avatar

iWeb (Mac only) or look at http://WordPress.com

wildflower's avatar

I’m gonna give iWeb a 3rd vote – I know nothing about html, but I’ve created sites for myself and for work, using iWeb and it’s worked beautifully.

benseven's avatar

I would second Wordpress – because there’s lots of existing themes and layouts available and it’s much easier to learn by doing some basic tutorials and then learning to hack about with other people’s code (keeping a backup of course) to see what breaks what, and how it’s all structured…

Plus once you’re done, anyone can update the content of the site very easily, it doesn’t always have to be you.

I built Gift Of Hope a mini-site (disclaimer: this is not my best work!!) and simply used the contact form plugin to create the contact page, set the pages up, stripped anything I didn’t need out of the template and voila.

iWeb etc are easy to use, but less easy for others to update (they need to have a Mac and iWeb to begin with, or use yours..). To get started with WP all you need personally is a web browser, a text editor and an FTP client – and once you’re done, all they need to login and update is access to the web!

Drop me a PM if you have any questions about any of that rambling…

Vincentt's avatar

Try installing something like Wordpress (see http://wordpress.org). It’s not too difficult to learn to create websites but it takes a while before you can create good ones, so if you just need a good website pre-built solutions like Wordpres is the way to go.

Breefield's avatar

http://Tizag.org is what I find to be a good starting place.

jballou's avatar

Oh man- if you have no experience, I think everyone’s suggestions here are great, but it sounds like it might be more efficient for you to hire a local web designer. Craigslist is a decent place to start looking, depending on where you live.

Tennis5tar's avatar

Wow, lots of answers! Thanks so much.

@Trustinglife: I’m not looking to make any other websites than this one, but I want it to look good and not “pre-packaged” if you catch my drift…

@jballou: I can’t really afford to hire a web designer. I’m hoping maybe the site will get some attention and someone far better at building websites might step up and volunteer to make it better. It can be used as a sort of building block, if you will.

@benseven: So that website (gift of hope) was made through wordpress.com? That looks pretty good, did you have any paid features? Also, will I need to know about CSS to change the format or are there any other ways of shuffling it about?

benseven's avatar

Howdy.

1. Yeah, Gift of Hope is a wordpress site, with the blog bits and pieces stripped out of the template for the main pages (you can have multiple templates though, so one of them could be a normal looking ‘blog’ page anyway).

2. Did I have any paid features: All the Wordpress stuff is free, I generated the graphics myself (you might like to use the free Stock imagery site Stock Xchange for free images to spice it up). The only thing was, I paid to host it myself on one of my servers.

CSS wise, that’s one of the easier things to play with, thanks to an Extension for Firefox called Web Developer Toolbar – because you can edit the CSS live in a sidebar and see the changes happen live, without overwriting anything – so it’s an easy way to hack about with someone else’s code to customise the look (CSS in WP generally just controls colours, typography and spacings). You can then save the resulting CSS file from this editing to your hard drive, save a copy of the existing one in WP, and paste the code in there to make the changes permanently… If you break anything while playing, you just exit the sidebar and start again.

To get started, I reckon try some of the basic tutorials on Webmonkey (and other such sites) and from there, learn about how CSS looks and acts (it’s actually quite easy to work with). Once you have some basic knowledge, have a look through the Themes available for Wordpress and see if you feel like getting into that as a platform.

A month or two down the line (when my freelance work eases up a bit) I might be able to help you with the initial hacking about of your Wordpress installation and how to plug in a donations module, if you can wait that long. At the moment I have a 39 hour week, 3 bands and 4 freelance projects to contend with, and that’s quite enough!

hello at benseven dot co dot uk

Tennis5tar's avatar

@benseven: Wow, thanks so much! I’ll see how it goes, all that info is really helpful though. I may just e-mail you somewhere down the line, see if you’re still able to give me a couple of hints to do with the dontations page etc.

Antoinette8's avatar

I would recommend dreamweaver

joel's avatar

http://www.ebizcompleteset.com is a complete set of web building courses with step by step videos, 1000+ web templates and softwares.

fluff's avatar

If you’re going for super simple, something like freewebs.com or Google Sites have wysiwyg editors and are totally free.

For something even easier, you could create a Facebook page or Group for your organization, which would allow for a more interactive experience.

Good luck!

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