Building a Website

There are a lot of options available to anyone who wants to build a website. There are advantages and disadvantages of each option. Some are quick to get something published on the Internet and others are easy to maintain well into the future.

When I got started working with web pages and websites, I did everything by hand. I created each and every page of the website in a separate HTML file. By creating each website by hand, I had full control of how the website looked and functioned. I could customize anything I wanted to meet my needs. It let me create some good looking websites, but over time, it proved more of a challenge to update and maintain. Making updates to the website required me to open the source files, edit the content, and upload the new files to the website. If I wanted to add a page or change how things looked, I often had to edit each and every file for the website. As a result, I made fewer and fewer updates to the website over time.

When I built websites for others, I continued to hand code all of the websites. This gave my friends and customers good looking websites, but it also made them rely upon me to maintain and update their website. If they wanted to change out the pictures, add new content, or just make changes, they had to get me to do the work for them.

Several years ago, I installed my first WordPress blog. Since WordPress is a content management system, it was very easy to edit content or even add new stuff. Since it uses a database running on the website, I didn’t have to worry about needing to edit the source HTML files, I could log into the website from any computer and quickly make a change. But, one of the downsides was the fact that WordPress uses templates. I was limited to how much I could customize without learning a lot more about how WordPress works.

I have now created several more websites using WordPress. I still don’t know everything there is to know, but I am confident in my abilities to customize the templates and other files to make websites that meet my needs. For someone just getting started, they would likely run into many of the same issues I had when I first tried to use WordPress. There is a learning curve and it takes time to successfully figure out how to customize a website.

Many people like using WordPress and some of the other content management systems to create websites because they are free and relatively quick to install and configure a basic website. If you don’t have a background in website design, I think a good option is to work with a web designer/developer to setup your website and then learn how to make the updates yourself. For more complex changes, you can go back to the website developer for help. This gives you the best of both worlds, a professional looking website with the cost savings from doing things for yourself.

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