Laptop on long desk in front of large window and indoor plant How to Code a Website

How to Code a Website From Scratch

Building a website can be a daunting task if you have no prior training. Luckily, there are resources to teach you how to build a functional and well-designed website. This is your guide on how to code a website from scratch. No matter your skill level, you can find the right resources for you.

Read below to find out how you can use different tools and techniques to create interactive websites with basic code. Even if you are an absolutely beginner, you can learn how to write clean code. As you develop this valuable skill, you could pursue some of the best web development careers of 2021. 

What Is a Website?

A website is a location on the Internet that contains related web pages for a specific subject. Schools, businesses, individuals, organizations, and more are using websites to gain visibility in the digital world. A website is created with a specific target user in mind to create web traffic and therefore business traffic.

Meanwhile, a web page is a section on a website. Once you load a web address in your browser, you are welcomed by a homepage that will usually provide a navigation tool. The other web pages in a site are subsections that contain different details and tools.

A web server hosts your website. As a website contains data, it needs a server to provide space to store everything from the browser window visuals to the original files of your web content. You will need to design a website and then find a web server to properly launch it.

How to Code a Website for Beginners

If you are aiming to become a web developer, then you should learn the basics of website creation. Whether you are creating a site from scratch or with the help of builders, you need to know the essential elements like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. These are programming languages that can help you build the basics of a website.

What Is HTML?

Hypertext markup language, simply known as HTML, is the primary website coding language used for simple web design. It is what your website would look like if it was only lines of code. It is the structure of the website that organizes its contents and elements. This should be the first step in your learning journey.

HTML is often combined with other programming languages to help developers reach the desired interface and functionality. It has a basic outline that you can edit to further enrich the content of web pages. According to PayScale, you can earn an average salary of $70,000 with HTML skills.

What Is CSS?

Cascading style sheets, or CSS, works with HTML to modify the overall look of the website. CSS is used to select specific colors and fonts of text, add images and videos, and align content so it looks pleasing to the user. This is an important tool for web design.

Aside from the design and layout, CSS also optimizes how a site would look on different devices. CSS is utilized to modify the appearance of the website on a desktop, laptop, mobile screen, and any other applicable device. CSS makes your website more convenient and easy to use.

What Is JavaScript?

JavaScript enables websites to be interactive. Whereas HTML and CSS form the core of web design, they alone can be static. If you want to add 2D or 3D graphics, videos and sounds, and other media, JavaScript is the programming language that makes all of these possible.

Through JavaScript, you can create animations to keep the user engaged and yield more traffic. Websites that host videos and media need JavaScript to ensure that they will be streamed without issue. According to Stack Overflow, JavaScript was the most popular language in 2021.

How to Code a Website From Scratch

If you want a challenge, you can code a website from scratch and work on your own design projects. Below is your step-by-step guide on how to code a website using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript without a web builder. You can teach yourself or consider joining online coding classes.

Step 1: Choose Your Web Hosting Service

Your first step is to select a web hosting service to use for your website. It has to be a web server that meets the requirements and demands of what type of site you will build. You need to consider the amount of storage that the hosting service can provide since this may vary depending on how much data you need to store.

Aside from storage, your web hosting service will also help you secure your domain name. Since you are most likely paying for web server hosting, you need to make sure that it is responsive. You want to avoid your site going down due to overwhelming user traffic.

Step 2: Learn the Basics of HTML

There is a complete list of HTML tags that you need to familiarize yourself with to start creating a website. Each tag has a specific function to help give your set of texts a certain appearance. For example, the tags <b> or <i> turn a text into bold or italics respectively. HTML tags can also arrange text into proper paragraphs and assign headers and sections.

You also need to understand the HTML document structure. HTML tags have to be arranged in specific sequences for the text to look as desired. You can install an HTML editor so that you do not have to manually do the arrangements, which can help you create a simple website design.

Step 3: Create Your Own CSS Style Sheet

You also have a complete list of CSS selectors that can classify parts of an entire website that need to appear the same. These selectors are assigned to HTML tags so that it is easier to group them. For instance, you can classify which HTML tags you want to appear in a specific font style using a CSS selector.

It will be best if you save your CSS documents stylesheet so that you can use it for future use. This way, you can apply CSS classes to an HTML structure that you have already built. You do not have to assign CSS selectors one by one once you establish your preferred design.

Step 4: Learn JavaScript

Coding with JavaScript can be complicated. If you are ambitious about your website and want to embed media and animation, you need to have some JavaScript skills. Every click on a website should look dynamic and interactive so that the users will find it smooth and easy to use.

You can create an optimal user interface (UI) design using JavaScript. This is even more important when you are trying to build a website that primarily focuses on streaming and on-demand services. As much as content is important, users always prefer a website that is easy to navigate.

Step 5: Download Bootstrap

To make coding a website easier for you, consider downloading Bootstrap. Bootstrap is a useful front end development tool that is composed of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript plugins. This makes building a website faster as the components you need are already pre-created, so you don’t have to type out each line of code every time.

Bootstrap is also useful for optimizing how a website looks on mobile interfaces. Bootstrap ensures a responsive design that allows a website to immediately adjust depending on the device being used. This way, you no longer need to manually type a block of code to optimize the website’s look for every device.

Coding a Website From Scratch vs Using Website Builders

Person coding a website on a MacBook at a desk How to Code a Website
Website builders are easier to use, but coding from scratch can lead to better results.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each website building method. One of the desirable things about coding a website from scratch is that you can control how you want it to look and function. You immediately know what to modify if you encounter a problem or if there is something that you want to change.

Meanwhile, website builders have pre-saved lines of HTML and CSS codes as well as JavaScript plugins. You do not have to manually type code to achieve your desired visual effects. Some of the settings are already automatically put into clickable selections so the process of creating a website is faster and easier.

While having the ability to code from scratch is an essential skill, you can alternatively use a web builder. There are many web builders that you can use such as Wix, Blogger, and WordPress. If you want to create a great website, you can also use your coding skills within one of these website builders.

Using WordPress to Create a Website

WordPress is arguably the most popular platform on the Internet. According to its official website, WordPress gets over 20 billion page views in only a month. It is a web and content management system service that provides all the tools you need to create a great website.

It has many different plugins, including ones for search engine optimization (SEO) and interactive website features. The company offers a user-friendly experience and offers tutorials on how to use its tools. Read below to learn how to create a website with WordPress.

Step 1: Choose Your Domain and Buy Your Hosting Services

You should decide on a website address and check its availability. Make sure that you are picking a domain name that is easy to remember if the website you are building is intended for a specific set of users. You can also buy a suggested custom domain name if you find it fitting.

Once you are settled with your domain, you need to buy your hosting services together with it. The hosting service comes with a storage package that you will need for adding files and media to your site. Some of the hosting services WordPress recommends are Bluehost, DreamHost, and SiteGround.

Step 2: Install WordPress and Get Familiar With WordPress Interface

Once you select and pay for your web server host, you need to install WordPress. There is a wide selection of website platforms, so WordPress is not automatically connected with your chosen host. Manually install and set up WordPress so that everything you do in WordPress will be saved in your host’s storage space.

Now that you have completely set up WordPress, you can proceed with familiarizing yourself with its interface. With so many features, it’s important to study how to perform tasks like adding media and changing your profile settings.

Step 3: Select a Theme and Start Designing Your Website

WordPress has a wide selection of themes created by contributors that you can use as a starting point for your website. Some of these design templates are free, while others need to be purchased. Once you select a theme, you can start customizing your website.

In WordPress, there are readily available menus for color settings, backgrounds, and image headers. You can create your website navigation bar, design a background image, and fine-tune colors. However, you still have an option to modify the codes on your own based on your liking. This is why learning how to code is an asset in web design.

Step 4: Install WordPress Plugins 

Aside from designing your website, WordPress has various plugins that you can buy and install for specific purposes. These are features that do not necessarily come with the basic WordPress package. You can tailor-fit your plugins based on your site’s needs.

For example, there are plugins for SEO and Google Analytics if you want to optimize your website to rank high in a Google search. You can also get a plugin that prevents the copying of text from your site to other platforms. 

Free Web Coding Resources

There are many open resources for students and professionals that are freely available online. You can turn to these intro classes if you need tutorials, sources, and tips for learning how to code websites. Below are some of the popular free web coding resources that you can check out.

W3Schools

W3Schools is popular among web developers and includes tutorials on HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. It also has resources on other programming languages like Python, SQL, and PHP, which are also essential for web design and functionality. All of the tutorials and references are free, although there are paid courses if you need more in-depth study.

Codeply

Codeply is an open resource editor for HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Its goal is to make sure that you can easily build your website with established frameworks like Bootstrap, Foundation, React, and more. There are more than 50 plugins, frameworks, application programming interfaces, and Codeply resources to make front end development easier.

Bootstrap

Bootstrap is a popular library for HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Once you use this framework, you can easily build your website due to its rich front end toolkit. One of Bootstrap’s unique features is its capability to establish a responsive design that you can use to optimize websites for various devices and interfaces.

GIMP

GIMP is another important open resource for web design, though it is more focused on image manipulation. This is useful for optimizing your images so that they do not take up too much space in your website storage. Through GIMP, you can retouch a stock photo and modify image composition.

Put Your Learning Into Practice

You can create a website for anything from ecommerce to a personal portfolio. If you are creating a website as a personal blog, then you can design it based on your own vision. Meanwhile, a professional website should always cater to the needs of your target audience. Either way, coding is the best way to design and develop a website.

If being a web designer is your dream job, you need to equip yourself with the skills and resources to create top-notch websites. There are online courses and video tutorials to help you learn more about web design. Even with a basic understanding and a beginner skill level, you can become a web developer in 2021.

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