Whether you are a business owner or a blogger, having your own website is an essential tool to get your content and message out to the masses. In this guide we'll look at some common ways to publish to the Internet. We'll look at some of the box web design software, online solutions and self hosted platforms.
Making your own website
If you want a totally custom solution and total control over the look and feel of your website, then you'll need to start from scratch. Essentially, you have two options :
Use an out of the box web publishing tool
If you own a MAC, then iWeb 08/09 is a great tool for people with little web programming knowledge. iWeb themes and websites can be put together in a matter of minutes and if you can use desktop publishing software, you can build a website in a couple of hours. There is no need to worry about how to start your own website using code as the software uses a sample graphical user interface. Publishing iWeb templates is also a simple task if you choose to use the MobileMe platform. Similar packages are available for PC platforms. Create site from scratch To do this, you'll need your own web server or hosting package. Website designing software such as DreamWeaver is a must for this.
To begin, design your website on a piece of paper and try to use a content management system to achieve that look. Platforms like Joomla, Wordpress and Drupal have plenty of themes that can be easily modified to achieve a custom feel to your website. If you want to start from scratch then you'll need much programming experience and this isn't recommended for beginners.
Using a web service
For many people, learning how to create and publish a website simply takes too long or is beyond their computing skills. A better option for these users is to use a website like Blogger.com or Wordpress.com. These sites offer a degree of customisation and paid upgrades to incorporate more features. However, at their simplest level, you add text, video and pictures as you would into a word processing document and simply click publish. The platform is great for bloggers and small business information pages, but if you want to embrace e-commerce, then you'll need to look at other systems. No matter what your skill level, getting a Wordpress or Blogger website up and running will take no more than an hour. There are large communities of support to help you with customisations. Browse these two websites to make your choice.