How to Build a Website: Introduction

Building a website used to be a big deal. It involved learning HTML, CSS, and if you wanted to get fancy, a little JavaScript. But thanks to platforms like WordPress, Drupal, Posterous, Blogger, and more, it’s possible to build a website in a matter of hours, or even minutes. The code used to be the time-consuming piece when starting a new website–now the part that holds up the process is simply filling in content.
Yet despite the proliferation of these incredible tools, there has been a lack of documentation for people who don’t know much about coding HTML/CSS, finding hosting space, buying a domain name, etc. That’s why I’ve undertaken to write a simple series of blog posts to help anyone–yes, anyone–build a website from start to finish. It won’t be the flashiest, most dynamic website, but it’ll get the job done. And most of the time, that’s all you need.

The kinds of websites you’ll be able to create

You may wonder if this series will really give you what you need to make that website you’re dreaming up a reality. Chances are I’ll get you pretty close. Every website is different with unique goals and measures of success–but the concepts of needing to display content and represent an individual, brand, or cause online are relatively universal.

What we’ll cover

If you’re interested in learning how to build a website, regardless of the purpose, this “How to Build a Website” series is for you. Here’s what I’ll be covering:

  1. How to get cheap, reliable hosting
  2. How to choose and buy a domain name
  3. How to choose and install a platform (WordPress, Drupal, etc.)
  4. How to make basic changes to your website, such as creating new pages, uploading and displaying pictures, etc.
  5. How to search for help related to your specific platform and problem

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this series, you should be able to not only build a website yourself, but understand the concepts simply enough that you can explain it to someone else and guide them through a similar process. That’s the goal, anyway–I want you to become the resident expert in your family/group of friends/neighborhood/office.

If any of the terms I’ve used so far seem daunting, don’t worry. Part of each section will include a guide to the lingo you’ll hear associated with each topic, and a description of what it all means.

Be Vocal and Ask Questions

As we go through this series on starting a website, feel free to chime in with your comments and questions–especially if I’ve sped through something that deserves a little extra attention and explanation. I’ll do my best to keep it simple yet relevant, but I want to give it enough depth so it’ll appeal to as wide an audience as possible.

The first post in the series will be about finding a good hosting provider. I’ll update this post with links to each individual post as they’re written.

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