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DIY Web Design learn how to do it yourself

Everybody has a website - How difficult is it to build your own? Here we give you a breakdown of the options available. Learning it yourself is not the only option.

diy web designThere are now more websites than people on earth, so it can't be that difficult to build one surely?
It entirely depends on what you require from your website.
There are loads of web companies that offer 'build your own website' that is all done live and online.
The advantages of these services are that you don't need to learn any HTML or other coding to be able to get a web presence. They normally have a fairly intuitive drag & drop editor, that's similar to using ms word.

The disadvantages of using such services are:

  1. They will have limited functionality - You'll usually only be able to create 'flat' pages. This is where there's no interactivity or complex functions, such as e-commerce.
  2. You will also have restrictions on the design of the site. The content you are allowed put in will have to fit around one of their standard templates.
  3. You will have very limited disk space and bandwidth and then have to pay over the odds if you want more.<
  4. If you only want a basic web presence with just a few simple pages, then one of these types of sites will be fine, but in reality you'll find that this is usually not enough.
  5. Another option to build your own website would be to use open source (free) software.
  6. These are full website packages that have their own content management systems that allow you to have full access to the layout, design and content of your site, and also have loads of free add-ons for functionality purposes.
  7. Although you don't need to learn full on coding to be able to get these looking how you want, there can be a steep learning curve depending on your technical ability. It is useful to know your way around HTML and CSS to be able to fully utilise open source platforms.
  8. Installing and configuring these on your hosts server can also be a bit tricky, although a lot of hosts now offer 1 click installs for some of the most popular open source software.

The other alternative is to learn web design completely.

Many people think this just means learning HTML. It used to but not anymore. Just learning would enable you do a few 'flat' pages with perhaps a contact form. As a minimum you would need to learn Photoshop, HTML, CSS, PHP and perhaps a little javascript.

HTML

htmlThis is the basic layout & output of all webpages. A lot happens behind a web page, but the final output that the browser shows is always in HTML. Tags are used to display fonts, colours, tables images & forms etc..

There is limited styling in HTML, which is why other methods were developed, CSS being the core.

CSS

cssCSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets. The method being basically you create a style within a style sheet, using images, positioning, backgrounds etc... and within the webpages you can just 'call' that style at any point and apply it to any element within the webpage. Thus not having to create styling within every piece of HTML that you write.

PHP

phpThis where web design gets interesting. Flat websites always have the same information on them. Should you need calculated, dynamic information you need to use PHP (or ASP) scripting. Your data can now be manipulated to do whatever you need it to do, and can be interactive with user input determining outcomes. PHP also allows you to interact with databases which all good websites do nowadays

SQL / MYSQL

mysqlThis is the format of database most commonly used. SQL - Structured Query Language is what you need to access / manipulate the data in your database. SQL can be written within PHP on your web page to 'talk' to the database and interact with the data within it.

Learning all of these would take a long time, and cost a lot more than paying a web designer to do your website.

You can create a decent website without having to be an expert in all of these disciplines. As long as you get a good understanding of all of them, and learned how to manipulate code, mark-up and images it's possible to use all these skills and apply them to  an open source platform such as  Joomla or wordpress to make a  well design website .   You'd also need how to configure the application oin your Web Server, although a lot of hiosts now have 1 click easy installs for a lot of open source software.

Learning Web Design  & development in full is not really worth it just to create your own site. But is worth it if you're looking for a career change.

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