So you want to learn how to code a website? Great! Many people have tried to learn how to create a website from scratch, but many people have also given up. The good news is it’s not as hard as many people think. In this article we will review what you need, outline the steps and give tips on helping you succeed if you are looking for ways to make your first coding project successful – even as an absolute beginner
First things first: The things you need before starting out
In order to code a website, there are some prerequisites needed before jumping right in head-first. You will want access to a computer or laptop and internet connection.
Secondly, you’ll also need an easy to use text editor. If you’re on a Mac, then TextEdit is easy and free (and it’s built into OSX). If you’re on a PC, then Notepad is free and can be downloaded from Microsoft.
Ideas for websites can be anything. You could create a personal website, portfolio site or even an online store to sell products. There are really no limits to what you can do, but it won’t hurt to get ideas from other websites from around the web. Search for sites in your niche, have a look at them and note features you like. A note of warning though: don’t go overboard – remember you’re just starting out and some of those features might be beyond what you can possibly do.
Get a domain name and Hosting
A website is not much good without an address, so the first thing you’ll need to do is buy a domain name. You can get one on NameCheap or GoDaddy
Once you’ve got your website’s address, it also needs somewhere to live online which is called the hosting service provider (sometimes this is included with the purchase of the domain itself). Hosting providers can be either managed or unmanaged and they offer different levels of features. The difference is in the cost: unmanaged hosting providers can be cheaper.
Once what you need before starting out is complete, it’s time to start working on your website.
Code your website in 3 Steps
Step One: Choose Your Programming Language
There are lots of different languages that people use for coding websites, but there are two main categories: front-end and back-end.
Front-End Languages are the languages that a website visitor can see, such as HTML and CSS.
Back-End Languages are not directly seen by your users so they execute commands for you to create pages with content on it like PHP or SQL.
HTML and CSS would allow you to style the website to your liking. You can use these programming languages to create website features like web pages, blog posts, navigation bars, menus, styling and other elements without any back-end knowledge.
So, the knowledge of HTML and CSS is enough to get started on coding a website even if you don’t have any knowledge of back-end languages. Your best bet in this scenario is to collaborate with a back-end developer.
A bit about back-end developers you should know:
Back-end developers are professional computer programmers who work on the server-side of a web application. They create the logic that displays the content on your website and what happens when visitors interact with it, like shopping cart features or uploading pictures. They also work on developer tools, such as databases or APIs. And are also responsible for the security of your website. So, as you can see, their expertise is useful to have!
HTML is short for HyperText Markup Language and it basically tells your browser how to display a website’s content.
It’s a markup language, meaning it uses “markup” tags to show formatting.
For example: the bold text on this line would look something like this:
<b> bold text</b>
Others type of tags include:
The header tag – <h>Header </h>
Underline tag – <u>Underline</u>
Italicize tag – <i>Italics</i>
These are just a few of course. But We hope you get the point.
CSS is short for Cascading Style Sheets.
CSS is a styling language, which means it tells your browser how things should look on the screen – like fonts, colors and spacing between items. It doesn’t specify where these things will appear, just what they’ll be like when you see them. That’s why we use HTML tags to tell our browsers where something should appear.
The way to think about it is this: CSS tells your browser how something will look, and HTML tells your browser where that thing should be placed on the page – like a header or paragraph text.
With CSS you’re going to be using selectors to style the elements of your website.
For example, a typical CSS element selector would look like this:
Step Two: Install Bootstrap on your computer
With Bootstrap, you can skip worrying about things like having a HTML document structure and CSS stylesheet and go straight to coding .
Bootstrap has a great deal of information on their site for you to learn from. However, we have an easier route for you – read on.
For this guide, we’ll be using a “starter pack for Bootstrap.” This would save time and would be appropriate if you are just getting started. The other option is downloading the main Bootstrap package and building your website on it which would be time consuming and not appropriate for beginners.
Step Three: Customization
Customize your website using HTML and CSS
In this step, we will customize your site – which is the Bootstrap theme you transferred to your web hosting directory.
To do this, we will use HTML and CSS.
Locate the index.html file of your Bootstrap site in a text editor then make the following changes to it:
Change the title of your site by typing “Site Title” in between the head tags. An example: <title>My Website</title>
Go ahead to make other changes to the content of your site from the index.html file. You can also add images, more pages, and other necessary content.
When you’re done, save the file.
5 five essential tips for Success
- Make sure that what you want to accomplish does not exceed your current knowledge of the language or framework in use.
- Learn how to code by doing! Remember that practice makes perfect so the best way to learn is through hands-on experience so get out there and start coding already!
- If possible then try to work with other developers. Programming is a social activity and someone else may be able to point out mistakes that you might have missed when writing code because we all make errors sometimes even if it’s just something small like forgetting an extra semicolon at the end of one line which can cause syntax errors down the road. Plus having other people around means there will always be new ideas floating about on what projects to take on next as well as help collaborating together for larger tasks such as designing interfaces. You could even start by teaching yourself some basics but then find someone else to work with as soon as you are able to.
- Do not get carried away with the front-end side of things alone. The back-end is equally important. Many people do not fancy doing all those back-end stuff as it is not as “fancy” and creative as the visitor-facing part of a website. Collaboration with a back-end developer is highly recommended.