When most people decide that it is time to build their own website, they inevitably go ahead and use a site builder that makes the process easy where they are just picking and choosing from prefabricated elements. This is a great way to build a site and if you are someone who doesn’t really like the nuts and bolts of site building, you can get a good site with this method. However, if you are someone who does not want to build a house the same way everyone else does, then you would build a website with coding.

Code is the language that is used in computers to create digital applications, such as a website. Coding makes you a more versatile designer, and you can customize things as you see fit. Instead of just building a site, you are learning a skill that will serve you well and could even be something that you monetize in the future.

The first thing you need to do when deciding to code is to learn CSS. CSS and HTML are the programming languages allowing you to build a site from scratch. This what coding is – you learn a language and then you essentially speak that language to the computer. It sounds easy enough, but it is much more difficult than you think. There is no doubt that coding is harder, especially when you see that popular blogging platforms like WordPress have amazing drag and drop page builders creating some beautiful sites.

However, when you know how to code your site, you understand it in a more intuitive way, and it is more meaningful because you created the site. Along with it being more meaningful on a personal level, you can change it out easier than you can with a prefabricated site. This is just one of the many ways that coding is better than using a designer. Here is how to build a site via coding.

Plan Your Site

The first thing you should do is plan how your site will look. This may seem like an obvious step, but you’d be surprised how many people mess this step up. The truth is this planning will make the coding easier. Make sure you storyboard your site. Draw out how it should look. You don’t need to write in the text, but you should know where it goes. When you do the storyboarding, you have a template to work off of. This makes your site that much more usable for your visitors and for you, it is much more controlled than if you were just to fly blind and improvise. Take the extra time to plan your site and get an idea of how it should look. Once you do this, you can attack the rest of the coding with gusto.

Get Your Tools

There are several tools that you will need to code your site correctly. These tools are critical to making things get right and when your site has these tools in use, it means that everything is essentially custom made for your site – this even includes photos. The good news is when you learn the tools, you learn how different systems work, which only makes you more knowledgeable and allows you to monetize your skill set. 

Here are some of the tools you will need:

  • Photo Editor: This is important because you will be using pictures and graphics, this tool helps you properly size them
  • Code Editor: This is the tool helping you actually input the code into your site to generate what you want it to be
  • Browser: You want a browser because it will help you see what your site looks like as you do the editing

At this point, you are ready to begin editing your photos; what you will do here is resize the photos and create the imagery that will go on your site. These will be your navigation bars, headers, footers, and other stuff that is required for your site.

Sorting and Dummy Content

As you go through your site once you are done with the images, you want to start partitioning the page so that you can put all the elements where they need to go. You also need to put text in the boxes to see how it looks. At this point, you don’t have site copy yet, so you need what is called “lorem ipsum” content. This is essentially gibberish, meaningless content. It is just a placeholder content that will show you exactly what your page will look like when the actual content is there. This is really important, because now your page is taking shape and beginning to look like an actual internet page.

The Finishing Touches

At this point, you should begin slicing content. This will help you make things that much easier to save and these elements will be that much more useful. The lorem ipsum content will go into place and you’ll have your sidebars, your headers, and your footers ready to go. These elements will look good, so make sure you save them under the appropriate file types. The best thing to do is to label these elements but what they are and what page, for example, “Home – Header.” This will help you when it is time to export your template over to your actual site so that you can make changes as needed.

HTML and Code

This is actually the easy part – once you get here, take out your code editor. Create a file on your computer where you can store all your images that you created. In your code editor, begin to type out your HTML code. A great thing to help you keep things separated is the <div></div> tool because what this does is isolate the areas you want to work on instead of having everything all jumbled. Keep refreshing your page to see how things are coming out on the separate browser, and this will help you create a site from scratch that you have coded.