author James Williamson

How to make a website

from Web Design Fundamentals by James Williamson

Creating a website is a great way to promote your business, share your thoughts with the world, and sell your products online. There are multiple options when it comes to website design, from full-featured software like Dreamweaver, which lets you build your site visually, to plug-and-play options such as WordPress and Joomla!, which come with easy-to-customize templates and even offer hosting solutions. Whether you're creating a blog, building an online portfolio of your work, establishing an online presence for your business, or looking to enhance your current web design skills and attract more clients, has web design training for all levels of learners. Here's some ideas to explore before you get started.

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Ch 1. Exploring Web Design | Site design

From the course: Web Design Fundamentals

Watch this free video where I discuss the six steps of website design, from determining goals to testing the outcome.

Feb 19, 2010 James Williamson 2h 43m

The foundations of web design

I encourage designers to understand at least the basics of the core concepts of web design, such as typography, wireframing, responsive design, accessibility, and interaction design, just to name a few. For example, understanding why you or your business might even want a site in the first place, who you are trying to reach, and what your business strategy is all affect its design and scope. It's also key to consider that a growing number of people who access websites are now doing it through smartphones and tablets.

Choosing a web design solution

So once you've got the basics down and you're ready to start your site, which software do you use? Using a CMS is a popular option—it's an all-in-one web design solution for creating, editing, and publishing a website, as well as maintaining the back end of your site (installing updates and plugins, managing site users and comments, and so on). The most popular CMSs are WordPress, Joomla!, and Drupal—you can even build an online store with Drupal Commerce. On the other hand, Dreamweaver is the most popular choice for the-sky-is-the-limit web design software, and allows for more direct control with HTML editing and integration with other Adobe software. A lot of members use the video courses in our library to help assess which solution is right for them.

Getting into the nitty-gritty of web design: HTML and CSS

Now that you know the basics of how to make a website and you've chosen your tools, you might be looking for more control over the site's look and function. Thankfully, with all the out-of-the-box tools and templates offered in both Dreamweaver and the open-source platforms, you don't need to become a programmer to make a website. But knowing even the fundamentals of HTML and CSS (and other languages like JavaScript and jQuery) gives you exponentially more control over your design and functionality. It also helps you fix problems and bugs more easily, once you can look inside the code.

These are just a few ideas to get you started on the path to making a website. offers a ton of resources for new web designers

CMS: Content management systems are all-in-one web design solutions for creating, editing, and publishing a website, as well as maintaining the back end of a site.
CSS: Cascading Style Sheets are the code used to is used to dictate the color, size, and position of content.
HTML: Hypertext Markup Language is the coding language of web design that allows text, images, and links to appear properly in web browsers.
Open source: Software built using freely distributed code, so the resulting software is usually available for free.
Themes: Ready-made design templates for WordPress, Joomla!, and other CMSs.
Wireframing: A visual representation of a website's framework and page structure.

Suggested video courses
on how to make a website

Click to view the Creating a First Website with Dreamweaver CS6 course page Creating a First Website with Dreamweaver CS6Paul Trani
Click to view the WordPress Essential Training course page WordPress Essential TrainingMorten Rand-Hendriksen
Click to view the Joomla! 2.5 Essential Training course page Joomla! 2.5 Essential TrainingJen Kramer
Click to view the Create Your First Online Store with Drupal Commerce course page Create Your First Online Store with Drupal CommerceTom Geller
Click to view the Creating a Responsive Web Design course page Creating a Responsive Web DesignChris Converse
Click to view the Typography for Web Designers course page Typography for Web DesignersLaura Franz
Click to view the Website Strategy and Planning course page Website Strategy and PlanningJen Kramer
Click to view the Up and Running with HTML course page Up and Running with HTMLJames Williamson
Click to view the HTML Essential Training course page HTML Essential TrainingBill Weinman
Click to view the CSS Fundamentals course page CSS FundamentalsJames Williamson
Click to view the CSS: Core Concepts course page CSS: Core ConceptsJames Williamson
See all web courses »

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