Experience Needed to Build a Website
A common concern people have about building a website is the type of experience or background needed to become successful.
First of all, most Webmasters are self-taught and have no formal training in Web design.
Of course, you can take a class in website building/design or buy a book. But I believe there is more than enough free information on the Web to help you get started.
Blog vs Website?
Blogs are typically easier to create and require no technical knowledge because of the platforms blogs are built on.
People often choose blogs because of that very reason, but that doesn't mean blogs are best for every kind of website.
I know that blogs are popular, but I think many people choose them because they aren't really sure how to create a static website, nor do they really plan out how they want to organize their content.
Static websites require more hands-on work because you need to either learn HTML/CSS or use an editor. However, static websites give you far more control over the entire layout.
What's Best For You?
What's best for you depends on how you learn best, and of course, everyone is different.
If you are the type of person who likes to have a tangible book you can thumb through, then you may want to go to a local bookstore and get a beginner's guide.
Some people need structure and prefer to learn in a more organized, classroom style. If this is you then you might want to look into a Web class at a community college.
Or maybe you're like me and just like to dive in and learn as you go. I learned a lot about HTML by viewing the source code of existing websites.
For example you can right-click your mouse on this page right now and select "View Source" or "View Page Source" to see what HTML codes make up this page. I learned a lot by doing this.
Once I learned the basic HTML codes, I started using Microsoft FrontPage (which is now obsolete). Later I graduated to Dreamweaver and now manage my sites in this software.
I also created some web templates you can use to help you get started.
Benefits of Using Software
The nice thing about using Web software is that it aids you with the design aspect of creating a site. Even though I know a lot about the basic codes of building a web page (HTML), I'm not as skilled when it comes to developing a complete design, so I like using pre-designed templates.
When I begin a site, I normally download a template from the Web, open it up in my software and then customize it further to my liking. That's what I did with this site.
However, knowing the basics of HTML is still helpful because I can troubleshoot and make adjustments as needed.
Another downside to using software is that some programs may add additional code that is not needed so your code may not be as "clean" as it would be if you hand coded your page.
Nevertheless, if you decide to go with software, make sure you choose something reputable like Dreamweaver.
No Software - Coding From Scratch
A lot of Webmasters will tell you it's best to learn how to develop a web page from scratch with no software.
As I stated earlier, I use software now, but I did learn the fundamentals of HTML first. The advantage of having a basic understanding of the language is that you can troubleshoot and you have more control over your design and layout.
A lot of people become editor dependent and when something goes wrong or they want to make significant changes to their site, they are limited because of their lack of knowledge.
So even though I think it's OK to use software, you should still spend some time learning the basics of HTML and CSS (the two most common languages for website development). W3Schools has some awesome tutorials.
You'll also find that you can learn a lot from your Web software. Most editors have two views - one view where you only see the design and the other view allows you to view the actual programming code that makes up the design.
Studying the code view in my web software taught me a lot as I went along.
Graphics and Images
GIMP is a free image manipulation program you can use to edit existing images (i.e. if you have personal photos you want to put on your site).
Basic Computer Knowledge
Some people are intimidated by creating a website because they claim they are "not good with computers." I'm not sure being good with computers is a necessity to building a good website.
You just need to become familiar with the tools you plan to use to create, manage and publish your website.
If you choose to use some kind of web editing software, you can always buy a book or search for some online tutorials to help you get comfortable with the program. So don't feel you have to be computer savvy just to build a website.
If you can absorb the preliminary information on this site, you will have a huge advantage because most people rush and don't take the time to plan and educate themselves before they begin.
If your goal is to make money with a website or blog, absorb the content on this site like a sponge.