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New to Web Design? Use WordPress or Create your Own

If you are new to web design you will be glad to know that it can be a very gratifying and 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 to start coding your own website or do it the WYSIWYG way.

Benefits of Choosing WYSIWYG

BlueGriffon-Screenshot

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 basic 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.

WYSIWYG Software

Benefits of Choosing WordPress or Any Other CMS

I will use WordPress as an example as it is one of the most popular CMSs. With WordPress, you can create content without focusing 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 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 website 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.

Aptana Studio 3
Aptana is a full-featured Integrated Development Environment (IDE) which has sample templates to start you off on your first project.

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 is also an abundance of free tools available that 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.

Coding Software

Conclusion

Whichever method you choose just remember it’s a learning experience and that you will make mistakes along the way. You have to learn from them!

4 replies on “New to Web Design? Use WordPress or Create your Own”

This article is a must read for beginners. You have explained the points of website designing in a great manner. Hand-coding can be tough, exhausting and time consuming process. Using an editor is the prefect way to get around it. Designing and creating your website can be a slow process and if you don’t have help or training, is frustrating. So, if possible, join up a small course or get a guy to help you out. I am a kinda lazy guy, so I had my website done from somebody else – Netlingshq. They did the job for me and it was good. There are a lot of other designers out there as well. It’s all upto you as to what you want, If you have the time and wanna learn, go for it -take your time learning the code – it is a good learning experience and as they say(dunno who) – all knowledge is useful.

I couldn’t agree more. I remember printing out the entire HTML 4 specs many years ago. Looking at them was a daunting task let alone a waste of paper! I downloaded a trial of Macromedia Dreamweaver (Before Adobe bough it). I started off using it but didn’t really know the concept and gave up eventually. It wasn’t until I started running this blog and started tweaking a WP theme to suit my own requirements which then spurred me on to learn web design and coding in practice. This learning process would, in no doubt, be useful if I ever wanted to switch back to WYSIWYG.

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