I am completely new to web design, since my professional activity is on a totally different subject (earth sciences and geomatics). But the need to extend my capabilities, especially with WebGIS, has pushed me to start learning the basic tools to build a website.
I begun with the excellent book by Ian Lloyd (Build your own website the right way) which literally opened my mind to HTML and CSS and at present I am practising with some simple static web page.
Hi nicdain. Welcome to the forums.
Actually, I'd say "neither". Your strategy of learning HTML/CSS first, and then getting your head around JS and PHP, is excellent. BUT ... you don't need to wait to build a dynamic site. The thing to do now is to learn to use a CMS (content management system) that has all the inbuilt dynamic functionality already built in. That way, you don't have to reinvent the wheel (to coin a phrase). There are lots of free ones, and also some great commercial ones. Some common free ones are MODx, Drupal, CMSMadeSimple, Joomla and so on. A nice commercial one is ExpressionEngine (my preferred one, as it's very well suited to someone who just knows CSS/HTML).
Another option would be to go with wordpress, and just use themes. Then all you would have to do is focus on your page content.
Thank you all for the replies. For what I understand, CMS seems to be the best way to proceed. Do CMS (like Joomla or Wordpress) leave enough freedom of customization of the website or do they stick to certain fixed schemes? And do they allow to build a database driven website? Thank you
Every web hosting service provider will also provide you free or paid site building tool.You can use these tools to build your site keeping in mind SEO techniques.I think it is not necessary to learn html or css to build websites really.You can concentrate on SEO more and it is important also.
I couldn't disagree with you more. HTML and CSS are the building blocks for all websites. It doesn't matter if you hand code, use a CMS or use a site builder tool, it is still HTML and CSS behind the site. If you don't have a good working knowledge of the two, you will have little control over your site. The most important thing to keep in mind when building a site is your visitors - the real human people who are going to use it. Build with them in mind, and the site should also be good for search engine bots. Build with SEO in mind and the site is unlikely to be much good to humans.
Site builder software in general is notorious for churning out poor code and you're likely to face an uphill struggle in future if you want to make changes to your site. My advice would be to keep well away from it.
Yes, CMSes do allow you to customize the look and feel. Some are easier than others, though. Ones like MODx and ExpressionEngine give you a blank canvas that is just like building a normal page with HTML and CSS, which is nice. You then add hooks in the template where content is to be pulled in from a database. With some CMSes, you have to dig a bit deeper into multiple files to re-work templates.
These are database driven websites anyway, so that's what you already have. But you are also free to modify and extend them if you have the skills.
My suggestion is your first option, if you don't know how to program, php and mysql are going to take you longer, php allows you make dynamic pages, but basically oriented to the use of databases with mysql.
Mysql is a database in other words a place where you store your data, for example if you want to save your customer information, it all depends on what is what you want to do, which would be helpful if mention it, so the answers are more specific.
I just want to mention a quote attributed to Gandhi "Live as if today was your last day, and study as if you were going to live forever"
Thank you Jaimegm for your reply and for Gandhi's quote, which is always good to keep in mind!
My answer is: it depends on what you want to do at that moment, it can be any of them, don't worry about that by now, and I have one suggestion, now that you explained more of what you want to do, let me tell you that the video works best, you can make a power point explaining the kind of product or service you are promoting.
I would put it at the very beginning, Videos are the best to sell, generally speaking people prefer to watch short movies, than reading and you can create one and upload it in youtube and from there paste it to your page, that is an easy task.
After that you can add text and images, with simple HTML and CSS you can accomplish that.
Making a video of this kind is really easy, just let me know if you don't know how to do it.
Jaimegm, thank you again for the quick reply and the kind suggestion. I think I'll go for the video! Should I have any doubt or question, I will ask!
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