When it comes to setting up a website, for any novice webmaster registering a domain name and arranging suitable web hosting are the easy bits. However, it is the thought of building the actual website itself that often fills novice webmasters with trepidation, but with the array of tools that most web hosts provide it needn’t be difficult.
In the past, designing a website meant using a rudimentary drag-and-drop interface provided by a web host to build pages. Services such as Geocities and Angelfire provided simple-to-use website building tools for webmasters to create their sites but they often looked amateurish and making changes to pages and content was often a time consuming, multi-step process.
Today’s webmasters are certainly spoilt for choice when it comes to website design with a host of tools available to make designing and building a website quick and easy.
Most web hosts provide webmasters with a choice of web design tools from pre-packaged content management systems such as Joomla and Drupal to blogging platforms such as WordPress and Nucleus. These platforms can be easily customised by way of template themes which can be applied to the base installation before pages are created.
However, one drawback of these packages is that the user is still limited by the templates themselves and many do not allow for modification by the user aside from the addition of text, so colours and images that might already be present in the theme are often not allowed to be changed by the end user and ultimately may not suit the webpage’s purpose.
Of course, users are free to design their own themes but this requires knowledge of HTML, CSS and a scripting language – usually PHP – and this might be too daunting for most novice webmasters to tackle.
For those with some knowledge of coding in HTML and CSS, pages can be built using Microsoft’s Notepad but this can be a long, laborious task. An alternative is to use a WYSIWYG editor which combines drag-and-drop interface with HTML editing and will speed up the process. Using these tools, the creation of a website can be done visually through drag-and-drop interface while providing full control of the website’s code. However, such tools can be costly depending on which software is chosen.
Most web hosts provide a bespoke website builder as part of their web hosting products and these can be used by novice webmasters to quickly build and upload web pages. In most cases the website builder tools provided by web hosts provide a choice of templates which can be customised with images, sound and text via point and click and WYSIWYG editors, and users don’t require any technical or programming nous.
The templates provided by webhosts in their website builder tools can often be changed through a choice of colours and graphics to quickly create a website from a single interface; making the whole process of creating a website quick and easy, while a series of process wizards make integrating additional features such as forums, picture galleries simple.
With the range of tools available to new and existing webmasters, creating new web sites needn’t be as daunting as it once was and it is now possible to build a professional, high quality website without the need for programming skills or the expense of hiring a website designer.
Adam Singleton writes for a digital marketing agency. This article has been commissioned by a client of said agency. This article is not designed to promote, but should be considered professional content.