If you are new to web design you will be glad to know that it can be very gratifying and a worthwhile learning experience. With a little effort and commitment you can grasp the basics and go on to create your own inspiration. But before you start there are several questions that you may need to ask yourself. Here is a little guide to help you decide which way forward in the web design world you want to go. This is a follow up post from Newbies guide to Web Hosting
Now I have chosen my Web Hosting what do I do?
First of all you need to decide what you want to do with your website. If you want to publish content then you might want to consider setting up a CMS like WordPress, Drupal or Joomla. If you want to delve into creating your own website then you need to consider whether you want start coding your own website or do it the WYSIWYG way.
Benefits of Choosing WYSIWYG
If you are a newbie to web design or have been hiding under a rock for the past decade. WYSIWYG stands for ‘What You See Is What You Get’ This is software that is developed for you to design and control the look of your website without having to write a single line of code. Sounds good yeah! Unfortunately there are drawbacks. Commercial software can be very expensive and it may also produce unwanted excess invalid code. You will still need to learn the basics elements of web design to truly get the most out of the software. If you are a visual person that wants speed then you may want to pursue the WYSIWYG option.
- Adobe Dreamweaver (Commercial)
- Microsoft Expression Web (Commercial)
- NetObjects Fusion (Commercial)
- BlueGriffon (Free)
- Kompozer (Free)
Benefits of Choosing WordPress or Any Other CMS
I will use WordPress as an example here as it is one of the most popular CMSs. With WordPress you can create content without having to focus on the design aspect as there are thousands of WordPress themes and frameworks out there but the cons are you haven’t added your little bit of inspiration to that design as you would if you hand coded your own website.
WordPress is truly excellent at delivering the content but you may not appear the way you want it to. You of course could install WordPress and tweak or create a theme you like to make it appeal better but you would still need to learn the basics of web design and the WP API which may be tough to get your head around if you are a newbie. If you simply want to have a 6 page web site of static content, then WordPress may be a little overkill.
Benefits of Hand Coding
By designing your own website you are adding your own little bit of flavour to the dish, in the way you add salt to chips or fries to make them taste better.
Whilst hand-coding you are learning more as you go along and eventually you will be able to spot your mistakes and learn from them. There are also an abundance of free tools available which offer code assistance, syntax highlighting and even sample templates. Learning to code manually will also be beneficial if you later decide to create your own WordPress theme or do it the WYSIWYG way.
Whichever method you choose just remember it’s a learning experience and that you will make mistakes along the way. You just have to learn from them!