Create Your Own Website Using HTML and Web Design

Use These Web Design Tips to Learn HTML Code and More

Design flow chart

Creating a website is a big project, but not by any means unattainable. More and more people are finding that they, too, can design and code a website by just spending a few hours in study and deciding on specific goals. 

The following will outline the basic steps in creating a website from HTML code to Web design. Use these tips to get started.

  1. Determine the purpose of your website.  Before you create a website, you need to determine what it needs to do. What's the point of it? What information do you want to share? It is important that you have a clear goal in mind when creating a website, even if that goal is as simple as creating a place to display your stuff. 
    • Creating a professional website is the most involved choice, requiring more care and planning than the others; accessibility and professional standards must be kept in mind.
    • A website for a project is another option, which can allow people specific to one activity to view and share information important to your project, and which can allow others interested in the project to investigate.
    • Creating a personal website is an option as well, and the least formal one.  Your personal website can be formal, of course, but it's acceptable to be very laid back.  In creating a personal website, the primary concern is how you want to project yourself.
  2. Know the basics of HTML programming (and/or find a WYSIWYG editor).  HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) is an extremely easy-to-learn programming language that was engineered for the design and construction of websites.  This website, for instance, provides detailed HTML tutorials to anyone who wants to access them.  If you are not interested in learning how to write HTML code, you can purchase a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor such as Macromedia Fireworks, Macromedia Dreamweaver (an earlier version), or Microsoft FrontPage.  However, even if you decide to use a WYSIWYG, it is still useful to know how HTML works.  It is also useful to know the most commonly used tags, such as the <table> (<tr>, <td>) construction and text formatting tags like <b> (bold) and <i> (italics), which can be learned from the previously posted hyperlink.
  3. Consider CSS.  CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets, and is a useful way of storing modifications to the style of your website in an external document that is referenced for display.  It is not necessary to the first steps in Web design, but it is efficient, powerful, and in some time may replace many of the style elements used in HTML.  It will also help you to separate the content and the design of your website into more manageable chunks.
  4. Decide how you will handle different browser capabilities.  You may have noticed over your time surfing the Internet that some pages look great in Internet Explorer, but suffer mutilation in another browser.  One of the reasons for this is the difference in the way that each browser handles incorrect code.  If you were to view a Web page with a missing </td> tag or table tags in the wrong order, Internet Explorer would intuitively "fix" your tags for you and display a working table.  Some believe this is virtue on the part of IE, while others believe that a browser should not guess what you're trying to do. 
    Another difference between browsers is WYSIWYG editor support.  For instance, the WYSIWYG editor Frontpage writes certain code that, when viewed in some browsers, simply does not work.  This is due to the way that different companies develop their programs and resources; however, for the most part, browser-website incompatibility can be remedied by writing correct code.  Using an HTML validator can help correct this.  Before you begin to write your HTML, examine the capabilities and shortcomings of each browser (and the separate versions of each browser) and decide how you will work your way around them.  Many people have given up attempting to design for every browser, and instead just design for the browser of their choice.  However, if your aim is a professional website, you will want it to operate correctly for everyone.  One option is to create different layouts (or altered layouts) for each of the popular browsers that would be affected, and to create a splash page whereupon the user could choose the appropriate version of your website to run.  In any case, as long as you are writing proper code, the differences between browsers are not too striking.
  5. Know your aesthetic capabilities.  Some people find Web design a useful outlet for their artistic talent, and others are more comfortable creating an organized, code-based look for their website (which is creative in its own right). If you enjoy the idea of designing graphics, then go for it.  If not, then don't feel limited.  In a knowledge of programming, there is incredible potential to make your website both functional and good looking.  Experiment and branch into other types of Web-building technologies (such as CSS, JavaScript, and XHTML) to further expand the possibilities.

These design tips will help you create a website; online design classes can give you even more information.  After you have completed these steps, the last thing to do is write the code.  After you have successfully designed your website, purchase a domain name, find hosting, and you're on the air.  Good luck!


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