Build a Website

This tutorial covers the areas you need to know in order to build a website. It introduces you to the various skills you need in order to build your own website.

Once you see what skills are required for building a website, you can decide whether you want to invest the time in learning them. I highly recommend that you do learn these skills, as it will provide you with so many more options when building and maintaining your websites. Also, if you want a career developing websites, these skills are essential.

If you don't want to learn these skills, that's fine too - there are other options for creating a website.

If you do want to learn these skills, I recommend that you bookmark this page now. There's a lot to get through and you will probably need to come back and reference this website as you go through the process of building your first website.

Have you done that? Great! Now lets get down to business.

Web Building Skills

As mentioned, to build a website, there are a number of skills you need to learn. Fortunately, some of these skills are quite easy to learn. In fact, even by learning just some of the skills, and with a bit of practice, you could probably get a basic website up and running within a few hours!

Here are the most common skills required for building a website.

Essential Skills

These skills enable you to build a website that looks good, as well as make it available for the world to see:

  • HTML - HTML is the language that allows you to create each web page on your website. HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language and is responsible for the various elements that you see on websites - elements such as headings, paragraphs, hyperlinks, bullet lists, embedded images, embedded music/video files and more.
  • CSS - determines how your website looks. For example, for each HTML element on your website, you can use CSS to determine its width, color, alignment, size etc. CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets.
  • Understanding of web hosting and domain names - to make your website available for the world to see, you need to host it on a web server. Web hosting providers make this their business, so you don't need to know all the details about web servers, firewalls etc. All you need to know is how choose the most suitable hosting provider for your website.
  • FTP - this is only required when you need to upload your website to a web server (your hosting provider's web server). Doing this allows the world to view it. This is quite a simple thing to learn. Technically, FTP is a protocol (it stands for File Transfer Protocol), but all you need to know is how to operate FTP software.

Optional Skills

The following skills are optional - you could easily build a website without knowing these skills. But these skills can help you make a more advanced website.

  • Image Editing - for creating/manipulating any images you might need on your website. This is optional - you can easily build a website without any graphics, and it can look quite good too. However, if you choose to use images, you should learn how to use an image editing application such as Adobe Photoshop.
  • JavaScript - for making your web pages more dynamic. JavaScript allows you to write programming style code that enables your website to do things such as alert messages, popup windows, status bar messages, drop-down menus, remember the user's name and much more.
  • Server-side Scripting Language - this allows you to provide much more advanced functionality than you could acheive with just HTML/CSS/JavaScript. Server-side scripting languages are commonly used in conjunction with a database so users can interact with a website much more extensively. Any website that offers things such as blogs or forums would need to use a server-side language to allow users to post comments etc into a database. These comments can then be read later on by other users who want to read them. Common server-side scripting languages include ColdFusion and PHP.
  • Databases/SQL - once you need to add more advanced functionality to your website, you can use a database to store lots of data such as content. This could be either your content (articles, events, products etc), or your users' content (blogs, forums, image upload site etc).
  • Web Servers - even if you outsource your hosting to a hosting company, you should still learn about web servers. You could install your own web server onto your own computer and have your own development hosting environment. A web server is essential if you plan on using a server side language such as PHP or ColdFusion.

How to Learn These Skills?

I've created a series of tutorials that step you slowly through each of the skills you need to learn in order to build a website and upload it to a hosting provider. I recommend you take your time as you go through each of these.

There is a lot of information to digest, and because of this, I suggest you read these tutorials over a number of days. To help you, I've separated them into different steps in the following table. Although some of the tutorials are quite short, you may need to spend several days on others. That's fine, in fact, I recommend you take your time so that you really understand each technology.

You may even like to print this page, then tick the checkbox as you finish off each tutorial.

Essential Skills

Skill to LearnWhat's InvolvedDone
Learn HTMLCreate HTML documents, add hyperlinks, bullet lists, forms, tables, images, frames, and more.
Learn CSSCreate CSS code, specify fonts and font size, background images, adding colors, classes, IDs, float, layers, positioning, embedded style sheets, external style sheets, and more.
Learn about Website HostingHow to choose a web hosting provider, domain names, use FTP software to upload your website to a hosting provider, monitoring your website, and more

Optional Skills

Skill to LearnWhat's InvolvedDone
Learn about Web GraphicsLearn about web graphics software, uploading images to the web, embedding images into a web page.
Learn JavaScriptEnabling/disabling JavaScript, JavaScript syntax, variables, functions, operators, loops, if statements, reading/writing cookies, displaying the date and time, arrays, and more
Learn ColdFusionInstalling ColdFusion, Coldfusion syntax, "include" files, variables, if statements, loops, arrays, redirecting pages, automatically send emails from your website, debugging, error handling, uploading files to your website, writing FTP applications, charts, and more.
Learn DatabasesLearn about databases, database design, how to insert data, read data and more.
Learn SQLSQL syntax, writing basic queries to read data from a database, programatically insert/update/delete data from a database, programatically creating a database and its objects (such as tables, indexes), count the number of records in a table, learn about SQL functions, and more.

Note: This tutorial assumes a basic knowledge of how databases work.
Learn PHPMany of the thngs you learned in the ColdFusion tutorial can also be done with PHP. In particular, this tutorial covers PHP installation, syntax, variables, if statements, arrays, loops, operators, uploading files, sending mail, and more.