Everyone knows there are more than a few ways to do anything. Some will tell you, "there is the right way
and then there is the wrong way
." Even if you agree with them, there is still more than 1 way to do it right, and many more ways to do it wrong. Nobody wants to do it wrong. But, to answer the question in the title of this post, of course you can
The real question is not "can you make a website yourself," it is actually - would that website you make accomplish your desired effect? Just like any do-it yourself project, there should be a goal in mind. First of all, you should know why you are undertaking the new project altogether. This being said, let's analyze the different functions of a website, and see if you can yourself, create a website with those capabilities.
Design and Appearance
The design of your site should appear seamless. It should have a certain flow or layout that does not go against its purpose. It should complement the subject matter and make it clear and easy to the viewer what you want them to do. In other words, the "call to action
," what action you want your visitors to take, should be inevitable. It should be obvious that you want them to call you, or subscribe to your newsletter, or buy your new product(s), or any other desired outcome.
- Do you think you are able to do this in your own website? Are you good at presenting information in an easily understandable format. Are you creative and able to combine text, colors, images, and even videos or animations into one logical unit that does not confuse? There are many "website templates" available for all sorts of different types of websites. It probably would not be hard to find one that has the look and feel that you need, and some may be free. Try searching "free web templates" or something similar... Let's move on.
Purpose of Website
The most important factor in designing a website should undoubtedly be to accomplish a purpose. This understanding should be the driving goal of the entire process. Each aspect of each page and every word of content should be exclusively for the purpose of achieving that goal. Defining the "purpose" of your website should come long before you have even come to the decision of whether or not to do it yourself.
- Have you determined the purpose of your website? Do you feel it will be a complicated task to design a website able to handle all the functions necessary to accomplish its purpose? Have you seen other similar or competitor websites which have succeeded in that task? Consider whether or not your goal is more than just showing off some photos, or posting "blogs."
Language of the Web
The internet is an amazing tool. It allows people from all over the earth to be able to interact with each other and share information and technology. It allows us to create communities of people who share common interests and keep each other up to date on common issues. It allows consumers and suppliers to have back and forth communication without ever seeing each other. It is an awesome thing. Unfortunately, for the "do it your self-er," the language needed to create this internet is vast and complicated. There is simple HTML
(Hyper-Text Mark-up Language), CSS
for on-page functionality, Server-Side Scripting (such as ASP
) for dynamic pages (like product inventory sites), SQL
(database management languages), and more.
- Simple "static" pages with nothing more than text, photos, embedded videos and a PayPal button can be created entirely with HTML and little or no CSS coding. Most available templates can handle this quite simply for you as well leaving you with nothing more than inputting your text and photos, etc.
- Active Script and PHP ("Personal Home Page" Hypertext Processor- it's weird, the "P" stands for PHP) are used to create unique pages based on user input. These types of websites include blogs and social media like facebook, craigslist and twitter, and also product inventory sites which show different product results for different search criteria, like Walmart. It is extremely unlikely that you will find a do-it-yourself web template which would include this type of functionality. You would probably still need to implement additional "shopping cart" or database software.
- SQL and other database management languages are necessary for sites dealing with large amounts of data, customer records, or other. This allows your website to communicate immediately with a database of records, make changes or updates to records, add or delete records, and display or otherwise use the results of the changes. Many shopping cart software programs allow for this functionality without you actually needing to know SQL or similar language, but you still need some basic knowledge on how to implement it.
SEO and Online Reputation
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. Once you have designed the site, you might want to get people to notice it. 99% of people looking online use what is known as a "search engine." I'm sure you knew that and you do that. Google, Bing, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Ask, Google Places, YellowPages, Local, blah, blah, yadah, yadah. Some of these sites provide "rankings" for your business (if your website is for a business) based on customer reviews and feedback. Search engine optimization is both done "on" your website and "off" your website. It includes using keywords and phrases that your customers or website visitors might be searching. It also includes finding other websites to "link" to your website. The better your SEO, the higher your page rank will be, and the more (probably) visitors you will have to your webpage(s). The more favorable reviews and "likes" you receive, the more likely people are to go to your site. Got it?
- Do you have any clue how to do this? Did you even think about how important SEO was to your website? Your website has all kinds of content. The images, the text, the titles and description of each page, etc are all things that search engines evaluate when determining your page rank. Some companies hire firms solely to handle their SEO efforts and online reputation. But I digress, SEO and online reputation are separate from actually designing your site.
So, have you decided yet? Sound like something you will be able to handle? For me, the answer was YES! I have an HTML book which breaks down all the formatting codes like "bold" and "center." I searched "CSS" for free tutorials on syntax and proper application. I watched all kinds of Youtube videos on PHP and SQL database access. And it all just made sense. It was easy! And if you believe me, you must already be a web programmer, because the truth is I went to school first. I received an Associates in Applied Science for Multimedia Technology and was taught the basics. Classes like Image Editing, Video Editing, and Internet Web Site Design got me started, and I never looked back!
In conclusion, there is nothing wrong with taking a stab at it yourself. There are countless software distibutors out there who offer ways to design your own site with little or no experience or programming knowledge. If you can manage your way through their user interface and utilize the control panel, it might be no sweat. If you are looking for a custom designed, slightly more complicated website which can grow with you, you might have take a few classes, or hire a pro. Like me...
Any questions? Please feel free to share and comment below. Link to this post from your website or blog, I enjoy talking about everything web.