Tools & Tips for Making a Website

Have you ever wanted to learn how to make a website? We live in a digital era, where the Internet is a powerful resource that people can use to do just about anything. The world is quickly moving towards digital technologies, and there is a high demand for people in jobs with technical skills. Especially in the field of digital marketing, employers are looking for potential hires that are well-versed and experienced in both marketing and technology. Many colleges do not teach techical coding and design skills to marketing majors, so we often have to teach ourselves. Fortuantely, I was give the opportunity to learn web development skills through the New Media Institute at UGA. With these skills, I have coded several websites myself, including christinapaulk.com, where this blog is hosted on. Web development is such an important and essential skill for marketing majors, but many students overlook opportunities to learn it. Below are my tips and tools for novice web developers to prove that anyone can make a website—not just computer science majors!

1.Purchase Your Own Domain Name

I cannot stress enough on how important this first tip is. A domain is the web address type into a browser to find your website. Many people start building their blogs and websites on freemium hosting platforms such as WordPress and Wix, but opt in for the free version rather than paying a little extra to own their own domain name. As a result, many novice website owners end up with web addresses such as yournamehere.wordpress.com. Not only does this web address make it obvious that the site’s owner is a beginner, but is lengthy and unprofessional. If you are putting your website address on your LinkedIn and business cards, it is more impressive and professional if you own your own domain so go ahead an invest a little money into one. Good domains encompass the purpose of the website and are simple and to the point. Using your name is a good idea for professional career websites (ex: johnsmith.com). Here are some places you can purchase your own domain:

2. Learn How to Code

Learning how to code might seem difficult and scary, but I promise you it is not! Coding is not rocket science and is actually easier to understand than you think. As a novice web developer, you only need to learn these three coding languages to build an impressive website:

  • HTML (HyperText Markup Language): The language that describes the structure of a webpage.
  • CSS (Cascading Style Sheets): The language that describes the presentation of a webpage including fonts, layout, and colors.
  • JavaScript: The language that describes the animations and interactivity of a webpage.

There are a bunch of free websites online that provide interactive lessons that teach you how to code. Here are some of my favorites:

3. Use a Template

After you learn how to code, the quickest and easiest way to build your own website is to download a website template. With a template, all of the hard work of developing a website from scratch is already completed for you—all you have to do is fill in the blanks with your own pictures and content! I also suggest that you download a template that is adapted for responsive web design. What is that? Responsive web design is where you have a website where the content easily adapts and changes based on the viewing device and screen size. Mobile websites are just as important as desktop websites, so having a responsive website is pretty much expected these days. Here are some places to find free HTML website templates:

4. Learn Graphic Design 

Now that you have the basic skills to code, you need to make your website visually appealing to your visitors. Web developers that put thought into the visual design of their websites create websites that are more successful and engaging than websites where no thought was put into the visual design. Keep this tip in mind—less is more. Create visuals for your website that encompass simplicity and purpose. Don’t use too many contrasting fonts or colors and don’t clutter your website with unnecessary content. Develop a specific aesthetic design for your website and stick to it. Here are some online graphic design tools that are free alternatives to Photoshop:

Hopefully this post has provided you with useful tips and tools for novice web developers. Now it’s time for you to go out and make your own website!

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