Sure…absolutely! If you have the time and skills it can be very satisfying to create your own website. You can also use a do-it-yourself solution that many web hosts offer. Or, you can use a content management system (CMS). All of these have their pros and cons.

Content Management Systems

Today’s most popular CMS is WordPress. It is relatively easy to use and has a large community of developers creating themes and plugins. If you have some confidence in dealing with technical issues as well as design and copy, this might be a great solution.

However, as soon as you step out of the realm of the immediate theme and need any customization, things get more complicated. You will need to have some HTML and CSS skills at the very least, plus an understanding of how WordPress is built and handles certain functions. At times, you may have to delve into the MySQL database or modify PHP code. It is a great platform for many purposes. As a matter of fact, we created this website using WordPress with quite a bit of customization.

Hand Coding a Website

To create your own website from scratch means you will need at least HTML and CSS skills. If you do not have some experience with these, expect a steep learning curve and give yourself at least 6 months to feel somewhat comfortable. Even if you delve into a program like Dreamweaver, there will still be a learning curve, so don’t expect the software to be a perfect solution that will just do it all for you. In addition, JavaScript, AJAX and JQuery are often used in website development. For more specialized needs, there are also middle layer programming languages (e.g.; PHP, ASPX, Ruby on Rails, Pearl, Python, etc.).

Website Databases

Many websites rely on a database backbone to deliver content. We mentioned WordPress above already. An online store would likely have a database as well. As would a membership site. If you are hand coding your own website and you have a lot of content that is displayed on similar pages, a database is probably in your future. Although you can set one up pretty easily at a basic level, there are many details that go into database development. Do not underestimate this when making your decision. Databases work with your middle layer programming language (mentioned previously) to display information on your website pages.

Other Options

There are several new options coming on the market as I write this. One of them is geared to designers and claims to build the site for you with artificial intelligence based on your content. I have not yet used it, but I am intrigued by the promises I have seen. More to come on this in the future.

You can also use some great online resources to learn more about website development such as Lynda.com or First Site Guide.

We also offer our clients computer graphics training that will help you learn very specific skills so that you can build and maintain your site in the future.