Before you start building a website or blog consider your options
By Janine Warner
When I first started designing web pages, it was relatively easy — and boring as a dirt sandwich.
More than ten years and a dozen books later, web design is much more complex, and a lot more exciting.
You can learn to design a simple website in an afternoon if you just want to create something like a tribute site to your teddy bear, or you can spend weeks or months creating a great business site to sell teddy bears (or anything else) to the world.
If you want to sell teddy bears you’ll need eCommerce features, and if you want to ship those teddys to the global bear market, you may want to promote your efforts with a blog, Facebook page, and search engine optimization.
As you explore my Digital Family website, I want to help you discover the best way to create the site you need — whether your goal is to create a simple site for your latest hobby or to change your career by learning to build large, complex websites.
My goal is to help you find the best way to get your website online without blowing your budget or taking forever to finish.
Oh wait, websites are never finished — that’s part of the attraction, and challenge. You can update your website anytime, day or night, from virtually anywhere in the world. That means you need to prepare for growth from the start. (Planning the scope and complexity of your website is an important first step.)
I can teach you to design a simple website with Dreamweaver in a matter of hours (or days), and you can set up a basic blog with WordPress even faster. But many things on the web that seem simple can be more complex than you realize. Although creating a simple blog at WordPress.com is free and easy, creating a custom blog with all the bells, whistles, eCommerce, and advertising options you may want, is a whole different story. (What’s the difference between a website and a blog?)
Whether you decide to take the reins and create your own website, or hire consultants like us to create a website for you, keep in mind that websites as complex as the ones run by Amazon or CNN or Disney are created by expensive teams of experts, and requiring the investment of millions of dollars. It would take years to master the programming and design skills required to compete with them.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of success stories coming out of people who aren’t ‘experts’ at web design. When you start working on the web, your goal should be to find the best solution based on your needs, skills, and budget. Then, because the Internet is ever-changing, always in motion, you should never stop looking for new and better ways to express yourself online.
Start with the best web tools (programs like Adobe Dreamweaver, Microsoft Expression Web, and WordPress are all good choices). Don’t forget that you can use third-party services to add advanced features, such as shopping carts with eCommerce functionality.
To help you find the best options for creating your website, we’ve packed DigitalFamily.com with a variety of types of training. You’ll find WordPress and Dreamweaver training videos here, Dreamweaver tutorials here, and lessons in how to use Expression Web here.
If you’re just getting started, consider reading this article about how a little planning can save you a lot of time building your web site. (This is a lesson I learned the hard way.)
As you consider what is the best way for you to create a website or blog, consider the skills you already have. Most of us did something else before we became Internet geeks, web designers, or digital alchemists (my favorite made-up title so far). Your current skills should influence how you decide to build your site. If you already know Photoshop and love the Adobe Creative Suite, Dreamweaver may be the best option for you. If you’re a Visual Basic programmer or have worked on a .NET website, you may prefer Expression Web. If you’re great at marketing, writing, or preparing duck a l’orange, but not so comfortable on the computer, you may be better off hiring a web designer to create your website, and then learning just enough to maintain it yourself afterward. (Learn more about our custom web design services.)
Our goal is to help you create a website or blog that does justice to you and your project. You’ve already taken the most important step – you’ve reached out to experts that have guided thousands of people through this process.
Get Started Learning:
If you’ve come here with clear goals in mind and you know what program is best for you, by all means, jump to the section that interests you most.
- Learn Adobe Dreamweaver
- Learn Microsoft Expression Web
- Compare Dreamweaver to WordPress: Discover which of the Web’s most popular approaches to web design is right for you (hint: it has a lot to do with how big your website will be, how often you plan to update it, and how much design control you want on each page)
- What’s the best dedicated web design program? Compare Adobe Dreamweaver, Microsoft Expression Web, FrontPage, and Golive.
- Creating web graphics: Choose the best program to optimize your images
- How to register a domain name ASAP
- Web hosting: Where to publish your website
- How to add a shopping cart and eCommerce
- Measuring traffic to your website
We design custom websites for clients
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the options, we can help. We create custom websites and blogs of all shapes, sizes and complexities, and we provide marketing, project management, content strategy, video production, and other services. Let us take care of your web design needs for you. Learn more about our web design consulting services.
Thanks for visiting DigitalFamily.com
I hope you find the free tutorials on this website helpful and that you’ll consider learning more — and supporting our efforts by buying one of our books or videos.
No matter how you choose to create your website or blog, I wish you all the best,
Author and creator of DigitalFamily.com