Learn how to build websites

Here at Webmaster Juice, we aim to bring you tutorials on all aspects of building websites, together with resources to help you succeed online.

We try to explain things in easy to understand chunks without going overboard on detail. Get to grips with new webmaster skills quickly, and easily.

Building a Website with a Content Management System (CMS)

This is one of the easiest ways to build a good-looking website that is easy to manage.

A variety of CMS scripts are available such as WordPress, Concrete5, and MyBB. I'm listing my personal favorites here. But there are 100's to choose from.

These being free, and open source means that the supporting community has produced a wide range of add-ons (plugins), and themes.

As with any website, you need a domain name, and web hosting. It's usually a good idea to keep these with separate companies so that it's easy to switch hosting accounts. Personally, I use NameCheap for domain names and HostGator for web hosting.

In the web hosting control panel, you can find Fantastico, which is a utility to install scripts very easily. You just select from a list, enter some basic information, and click to install.

Once installed, the script will have an admin panel that you log into to administer the site, and input content for the pages.

Build blogs, forums, wiki sites, and ecommerce stores. All you need to get started is a low cost web hosting account (includes a free domain name).

Build or Manage a Website?

To create a website, you don't have to know how to build one from scratch. You can simply install existing scripts such as Wordpress, select a theme, and publish content from the administration area.

This gets you a website online very quickly, the downside is that your site may look just like many others since there is no customization in terms of looks and features.

Building a website from the ground up is well suited to static content sites, or sites that are powered by custom code. An advantage of custom code is that it should be more secure since the code is not open to the public to download and look for security vulnerabilities.

Also, it may be easier to code your application from scratch rather than customizing and existing script.

If you don't need a back-end data management system, maybe, all you need to learn is HTML and CSS? This would allow you to create a static content site that is fully customized with fast page load speeds.

To develop templates and themes, you will need to know a bit about PHP, if only to understand how to edit existing themes, or to mix up HTML with PHP snippets.

HTML is a must, even for content authors since it is used for basic formatting and layout of content such as headings, paragraphs, emphasized text, bullet points etc.

An understanding of CSS is also important so that you can specify the styling of web page elements, and use browser tools to examine and edit the underlying web page styles of pages in your browser window.

So I recommend to at least learn the basics of HTML, CSS, and PHP whether you will become a blogger, designer, or you outsource web development work.

JavaScript is used extensively for effects, and Ajax, so it's worth getting an overview of what JavaScript is, but it's not necessary to learn how to code in it unless you have that need.

To be honest, you will probably never finish learning how to build websites, there is always something new to learn from SEO, typography, graphic design, coding, database administration, marketing, to legal requirements.