How to Create a Website – A Practical Guide

Many people get lost when it comes to creating a website.

Where do I start?
What do I need to learn?
Am I coding this right?

These are all common questions. If you’ve never written any code for a website and have no idea where to start or if you’ve written some code but don’t know what the next step is — don’t get discouraged! What you’re reading right now will help guide you through the web development process. Here’s the breakdown:

1. Skeleton

A website can’t be a website without any bones — the structure. How do you create a skeletal system? Easy — with HTML. Without any HTML your website will be a basic text block — a squishy body without bones. HTML is very easy to learn quickly! <u> means underline. See, it’s easy!

2. Skin

A skeletal structure is great, but we also need skin. Skin makes us look good and helps hide our skeleton. Adding skin to your metaphorical person is called styling. To style, we use a language called CSS or Cascading Style Sheets. CSS is a great place to start as a budding web developer. It’s easy to write and read. For example, background-color: red; changes your background color to red.

3. Reflexes

Now that our person has skin and bones we need to add some functionality like basic reflexes. You know when the doctor hit your knee and your leg reacted with a swift kick? It’s that type of reaction that we want to give our website. Basic and quick to load (or quick to react if you’re the leg), which adds a new level of interactivity to your website. This is the part where we step up our coding skills and learn some JavaScript, which includes the programming fundamentals. If you have any programming experience JavaScript should be a walk in the park.

4. Nervous System

Our “person” or website, is becoming pretty cool now! It can stand on its own, we can style it, and we gave it some basic reflexes. The next step would be to give our metaphorical body a nervous system. So every time we hit our knee or our funny bone, our body says “ow.” This is the connection between basic reflexes and thinking, also known as AJAX.

5. Muscles

We’ve added a lot to our website so far, but it’s not ready to go out in public. What is a body without working muscles? Muscles allow us to move and take actions, fill out our skin so we don’t sag too much and help support our skeleton and nervous system. In the world of web development, this muscle is called jQuery. jQuery is a strong, compact JavaScript library that allows us to execute easy JavaScript and AJAX. A double whammy that does a lot! That’s why jQuery is our muscle.

6. Brain

Almost there! Our website now looks like a real person. It has bones, skin, reflexes, a nervous system, and muscles. The only thing left is the brain. After all, without a brain we’d just be jellyfish! When we add a brain to our website, we are giving it the ability to make decisions. Not like a Terminator but more like a smart phone. When you touch an app, it opens. You just told the phone to take an action and it finalized the decision. Our website’s brain is powered by a web language called PHP, which is a very popular and powerful language. So powerful, that even sites like Facebook started off using PHP.

7. Memory

Giving anything a brain isn’t enough to allow it to survive. Making decisions is nice, but what’s the point if we don’t remember anything? The last step to creating a website is adding memory. Adding memory is as easy as 1,2,3. Or more appropriately, SQL. Our memory (SQL or Structured Query Language) is a database. Don’t be afraid — databases aren’t terribly complex. And when you get to this stage you’ll understand how easy it can be to create a website’s memory.

You don’t need to be a geneticist, biologist, doctor of any kind, physicist, chemist or a computer scientist to become a complete web developer. You just need a little guidance and someone who’s willing to push and support you.

About the Author:
Kalob Taulien is a web developer with more than a decade of hands-on experience creating all aspects of fully functional websites from the ground up. Along with his passion for web development, Kalob loves to share his knowledge with his students.

Interested in becoming a web developer? Check out Kalob’s popular course The Complete Web Developer.