Angela Yu

How do you begin to create a web development portfolio? If you’re trying to learn web development, one of the best ways is to go through web development project ideas and complete them one by one. Eventually, you will have a portfolio full of projects that demonstrate your growth — which is useful if you plan to share your work with future employers.

Here’s a list of web development project ideas — ranging from simple to advanced — to help you get started with your portfolio.

Two people in office in front of computers

Before you get started with these web development project ideas…

Before developing a web app, it helps to have basic knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. JavaScript Certification 2021 is a great place to start, as it goes over all the essentials that developers should know to do well on the exam. Even if you don’t plan to get a certification, full stack developers can use similar study guides to learn how to develop both front- and backend applications. 

Trying these real-world development project ideas is another way to go from simple HTML and CSS to more complex technologies like React Native. You can build your development skills with these web development projects, but you still need foundational knowledge about how web apps work.

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Basic web development projects

1. Build a one-page resume

Get started with a one-page resume — you may need it anyway! Link it to your social media and add your other web development projects as you go. Your one-page resume can eventually become a repository for your portfolio.

As you design your one-page resume, think about how you would extend it if you needed to. What about an introductory video? What about a “contact me” page for employers interested in learning more?

2. Create a hobby or tribute page.

Is there something that you really love? Consider designing a hobby or a tribute page. Your hobby or tribute page might need some streaming media, such as tutorials (of hobbies) or music (for a tribute page). You’ll learn how to display images, video, and music — and you’ll learn more about design while doing something you’re interested in.

If you ever find yourself fatigued with web design, consider designing something that you already enjoy.

3. Make a to-do list.

A to-do list won’t just be useful for you. It can also introduce you to the basics of form submission and data saving. Try to create a to-do list with a back-end that can save your progress! Sort multiple entries, have different priorities, and create methods of filtering your list.

As you go, experiment with different CSS styles. CSS can radically change the look of form elements such as text boxes, checkboxes, and radio boxes. What styles look best to you? Which styles offer the best user experience?

4. Create a WordPress site.

A lot of people learn more about how to design a project through WordPress. And WordPress knowledge itself is a hot commodity. Practice by creating your own WordPress site using the directions on WordPress.com. Pay attention to themes, plug-ins, and the ability to customize your CSS.

If you’re learning PHP/MySQL, take the time to dig into the code of WordPress. It’s all there; WordPress is open source. In the future, developing a plugin for WordPress can be a great way to show off your skills.

5. Make a survey form or email contact form.

Here’s another way to practice saving data. Create a multi-page survey and make sure that the states save between pages. Eventually, make sure the survey can submit the data somewhere, whether via email or stored in a database. 

Consider developing a modal pop that will pop up a survey or email on an existing site. Can you also develop a back-end that would analyze the answers? Maybe something that could create a bar chart or show you the most popular answers to every question?

6. Make an e-commerce landing page.

You don’t have to build a whole website for this project, just a landing page. This web project will show you how to create a marketing e-commerce page, which is a page that collects some basic data about a potential customer. 

Landing pages are designed to get people to “commit.” So, developing an e-commerce landing page is really an exercise in user experience. Where do users look first? What prompts them to read further? Launch your page and look at the stats. Are people bouncing away from the page quickly, or are they doing what you wanted them to do?

Project: Build a Modern Landing Page Website

Intermediate Web Development Projects

7. Develop a login authentication page.

This is the first step for most web projects, so it’s a good idea to get it down early. Whether you’re interested in game development or e-commerce portals, you’ll need to be able to create a user login system. Don’t worry about making it too complex; there are more advanced web development projects for enhanced features.

8. Create a simple JavaScript quiz game.

A fun, easy project, this one focuses on a JavaScript quiz. You can find questions online or just ask questions about something you love, such as a movie that’s your favorite, or a television show. This JavaScript quiz can be as complex as you make it.

If you want a challenge, make it so that the game saves your progress between sessions. You can also create a ranking system for questions, so the harder questions start to come later in the game (all you need to do is weigh the questions by how many people answer them correctly).

9. Integrate CAPTCHA with an existing website.

Go back to your login authentication page and implement CAPTCHA from scratch. This is an introduction to using third-party scripts on an existing website, and it’s an important talent to have. A lot of websites today use multiple third-party apps. This is also great practice in following a developer’s documentation.

Take a look at different types of CAPTCHA services and list the pros and cons of each. Practice assessing the usefulness of third-party applications within the scope of a project. Some of them are paid. Would that fit into your budget? Would you be able to maintain it yourself?

Project: Developer’s Guide for ReCAPTCHA

10. Create a platformer web game.

Are you interested in game development? You can design a simple platformer using JavaScript and then modify it however you desire. Plenty of game developers started with web apps, which can also be easily ported to a mobile environment.

You can add challenges to your web game design by randomizing platforms, creating new and exciting types of weapons, or otherwise making it more complex. But remember to still make it winnable!

11. Make a personal or business blog.

You’ve worked with WordPress. Now it’s time to think about how you could develop something like that on your own. Think about how users would log in, how they would create articles, and how they would post. Can you create a reliable taxonomic, subject-based structure? 

As you develop your blog, you’ll run into challenges. Do you create a comment system? If you do, do you make it possible for other users to “like” posts? Now you’re on your way to creating social media!

12. Create a website that uses parallax.

What is parallax? Parallax is the three-dimensional appearance some websites have. It’s created by having a front, middle, and back area to the website, all of which move at different speeds. Creating a website that uses parallax is a great way to make it dynamic and engaging.

Parallax is one of the elements that CSS does really well. And you can explore other functions of CSS, such as the ability to filter text or alter images.

13. Develop a word processor and word counter.

A word processor with a word counter isn’t just useful — it’s a superb challenge. Use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to develop your own “WYSIWYG” document builder. It’s a good first step toward making an online code editor (below), and you can use it on your website in the future.

If you want to use it in the future, make sure to make it modular, with as few dependencies as possible. Experiment with dropping your word processor into a different website altogether. Does it still work? Why or why not? 

14. Use Google Maps or another external service in an app.

Google Maps is a popular third-party API. As you develop your career in website design, you’re going to need to use a lot of APIs. Try to create an application that uses Google Maps, whether it’s a game or a weather tracker. 

Spend some time reading the Google Maps documentation. What are some possibilities? Apps such as Pokémon GO have been built on Google Maps.

Project: Google Maps JavaScript API Tutorial

15. Create your own online code editor.

A true test of your knowledge — develop your own online code editor and compiler. For JavaScript, HTML, or CSS, you don’t even need to compile it: just stack it into a website and load the website as a “preview” page. Syntax highlighting will teach you more about how the language works. 

16. Design a simple adventure game.

A text adventure game is a fun way to start getting into the “business” of game development. Build a text adventure game with JavaScript to capture the magic of old-timey games. You can also try your hand at a choose-your-own-adventure if you find those more fun!

Launch your adventure game and have your friends play it. Now you’re practicing quality assurance. When they come up with bugs, fix them. This is an important part of being a software developer.

Project: Build a Text Adventure Game With JavaScript

17. Make your website into a mobile app.

Now it’s time to make your website into a mobile app. This is a critical skill and something that a lot of employers look for today. A mobile or native app is often combined with a website and uses the same skills. If you can convert a website into a mobile app, you’ve essentially doubled your marketability. 

Advanced web development projects

18. Develop an image editor.

An image editor is complicated but worthwhile, and making it in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript is even more of a challenge. But by the end, you’ll learn a lot about how JavaScript and CSS render images on a screen. 

19. Build an e-commerce site

Now it’s time to build an e-commerce site from scratch. You’ll learn a lot more about how to develop for the web, including back-end development in PHP and MySQL. As an e-Commerce developer, you’ll have to learn about transactions and how to reverse them, how to maintain the security of your database, and how to complete secure authentication.

Don’t forget to think about SEO! Apart from web development, a front-end developer has to understand the basics of search engine optimization.

Project: E-Commerce Website in PHP & MySQL From Scratch!

20. Create your own content management system

If you’ve done other projects on this list, you’ve made WordPress, and you’ve made a simple blog. Now it’s time to build a CMS. A CMS is a one-size-fits-all blog like WordPress. It’s a site that you can design to create your perfect blog, rather than a blog that’s already been hard-coded to suit you. 

That means that every element of this CMS will need to be easily customized by an end user, and the CMS will need to support different designs and installations.

21. Build a media delivery service (streaming music or video)

Want to build your own YouTube? Netflix? Spotify? That’s a media delivery service, and it’s more complicated than you think. As you build this web development project, you’ll need to think about things like quality and compression. You’ll have to figure out how you want to archive and classify content.

How do users make suggestions to other users? Do they share files? Do they save files? How do they get suggested items from the website itself? Is there an algorithm that can determine their taste? 

22. Create your own web application framework

Now it’s time to go deep. As you build, you’re probably using frameworks like React Native or an MVC controller. But what about building your own web application framework from scratch?

Many people advise not to waste time reinventing the wheel because it already exists, but building another wheel can actually be a great way to understand how wheels work. Think about how a web application framework works. And think about the ones you used. What would you change?

23. Develop a multi-factor authentication page

Security is probably the most important emerging skill for today’s web developer. In designing a multi-factor authentication page, you’ll be thinking more about how authentication services work, how security works, and how to secure your future sites.

Today, most sites use multi-factor authentication by default. Many of them use “magic links,” so you can only log in from your email or phone. Others use third-party authentication services. Whatever the case, very few are just using an email address anymore.

Project: Adding Multi-Factor Authentication to Your Web App

Moving On With Further Projects

Once you’re done, you’ll have everything you need for your web developer portfolio. But that doesn’t mean you’re done with projects! You should always be building your portfolio with new designs. 

When you’re playing around with a web application in the future, think about how you would design it. Would you make significant changes? If so, how? By experimenting with different site designs, you’ll broaden your experience as a programmer and a developer.


Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I create a web development project?

You can create a web development project with Notepad simply by creating an HTML file. But many people use an IDE like Netbeans and then upload their web development files to a server like Apache or Xitami.

What is a typical web development project?

A web development project can range from very simple to very complex. The quintessential web development project is a “blog” — a website with multiple pages for “journal entries,” all linked to a single index.

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