I do not recommend beginners making your first website, or even your second website from scratch. When I say from scratch I mean, using Adobe Dreamweaver or another web design software. There are plenty of HTML web editors out there and I have tried many of them. I just like Dreamweaver the best.
Here are a number of reasons I do not recommend beginners choose this option to design your sites.
Firstly, the learning curve is pretty steep. To even feel confident enough I took Web Development courses at my local community college. The courses take an average of 4 month long to go though. And one class is just starters to get you to feel somewhat comfortable creating a website from scratch.
In my first class we hand coded everything and only in the last 30 days of the class did we register for the free 30 day trial of Adobe Dreamweaver to build our last project.
So the learning curve is long and hard, because it's like learning a language. HTML, XHTML, and CSS are called Markup languages.
If you choose to use either the WordPress platform or an all-in-one platform like SBI, it is still good to familiarize yourself with the basics.
W3schools.com has some good practice editors with examples for HTML and CSS. I would only concern yourself with HTML right now. XHTML is basically HTML, but with cleaner code requirements.
Secondly, to create your site from scratch you need to comb the web for tutorials, and sift through tons of content, while in the process getting side-tracked and swamped by information overload.
Do not get me wrong, I appreciate all the free content, and even the paid content available, but the biggest problem for many people is information overload. It's just too easy to get side-tracked, while your trying to figure out an answer to just one of your questions.
While we could be diligently creating pages via another way, were stuck trying to figure some coding problem.
One of my very first sites I coded from scratch was this shiatsu massage website. It is not dynamic (meaning when you create more content the page expands with the content). However, I designed all the graphics and template myself. It took two weeks to design and make all the elements work together. This was my first experience in paid website creation.
How to Make a Website from Scratch – Outsourcing your Work
A better option is to have a website designer or any graphic designer use Photoshop to design the template that you would like in Photoshop then. Give that.psd or Photoshop file to a Website Developer and have them "slice" it into a fast loading template that you can use to load into your HTML editor. Below is an example:
I did this with the Learn How To Make Quilts website. I had a brother in law who was a graphic designer, create a template in Photoshop.
Then, I went to oDesk and registered, and submitted my job request and what I wanted done. Within a few hours I had probably a dozen candidates bidding for my job. If you have not used oDesk before, it is pretty sweet. You can find some AWESOME guys to do your specialized work for you.
Just pick a five star or high four star rated contractor with experience. You are able to view their scores on related proficiency tests, their portfolio, and feedback from previous employers. Choose someone you'll be happy with.
I had 12 applicants apply:
I chose one who bid $ 17 to code it for me cleanly outside of Dreamweaver, so it would be ultra-fast loading with light code. I got back my file in less than a day, unzipped it and loaded it through Dreamweaver and starting creating content on the new site within my new custom template.
Now, when I need some custom work done, I know I can count on my guy on oDesk to do quality, quick, efficient work for me; plus, he always over deliveries on what I need or ask. So, finding a contractor with a good feedback record is really beneficial.
Outsourcing to meet some of your demands is really a great idea and for the money is totally worth it for me. Because, what would take me literally a week or more to figure out on my own, would take one of the awesome oDesk contractors, literally an hour or less.
How to make a website from scratch – Summary
If you choose to design your website from scratch you will need to:
Buy a domain name (All my sites are though GoDaddy, but I keep hearing more good things about NameCheap and will use them from now on. unnecessary add-ons.)
Buy Hosting (Many people use and recommend HostGator, however, I have recently moved to Web Hosting Hub and have had nothing but awesome US based support experiences).
Get a free or purchase HTML editor I've used: Evrsoft First Page 2006, which is free; CoffeeCup, has a free version and a paid version for $ 50; Dreamweaver, is $ 399, and I've tried a multitude of other free editors. I liked Evrsoft First Page 2006 the best for the free editors, but still was unstable enough for me to finally buy Dreamweaver. I bought the discounted student version of Dreamweaver with my proof of student elgibility, and then later the Adobe Creative Suite 5 Web Premium.
Possibly hire outsourced contractors For the "dirty" work. The main reason for outsourcing your "dirty" work is because your time is valuable. and let an experience expert do it for you, much more quickly. If you are really just itching to learn on your own, then I recommend taking a community college course and / or visiting W3CSchools.com – on how to make a website from scratch, with some of their learning tools and mini editors.