This is subject to a matter of opinion and there are many web editors and design programs on the market that will do a great job. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, from cheaper packages that will accomplish the basics, to complex design programs that give the user almost unlimited potential to create a site.
Programs like Dreamweaver, Coffee Cup, Fusion, Microsoft Expression, XsitePro, NVU, Word Press, Blogger and many others range in price from totally free to hundreds of pounds. A full suite combining many programs including video editing, graphic design, flash design and other utilities can cost as much as a couple of thousand pounds. It all depends on your budget and what you want to achieve. There are also many companies that will offer to build and host a web site for you in return for a monthly subscription.
When I decided to take the plunge, I spent a good couple of days researching various options available to me, and after much thought and contemplation, finally came to the conclusion that Dreamweaver CS3 was my best bet.
I’m now happy that I made the correct decision and have found Dreamweaver CS3 to be easy to learn, easy to use and extremely versatile in it’s capabilities.
Click on the images in the above slide show to learn more about the software.
You don’t need to know any HTML code to use Dreamweaver as the program writes the code for you as you edit your designs in the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor.
The great thing about using this type of editor is that you familiarize yourself with HTML while you use the application. Before you know it you will find yourself not only using the WYSIWYG editor to design your own pages, but you’ll be using the code view to manipulate HTML from many other resources and combining them in order to enhance your own site. The more you use Dreamweaver and take on new web related challenges, the more doors will open up for you.
Designing your own site will also lead you into using many other applications that go in hand with web creation. This will enhance your abilities, making you capable of implementing new features and creating more sophisticated web sites.
There is an awful lot of free web based help available to those learning how to use the program, but I would seriously recommend also purchasing the brilliant instructional video ‘Dreamweaver CS3 Essential training DVD’ from Lynda.com. This video takes you right though the most important aspects of web design and comes with a large number of exercises to help you familiarize yourself with the Dreamweaver format. I really can’t imagine trying to use Dreamweaver CS3 without this instructional video. I can’t stress this enough.
Click the link below for more on this tutorial vid.
A different approach from buying the video would be to check out Lynda.com’s online tutorial libraries. These charge a certain fee per month and you get unlimited access to thousands of tutorial videos for lots of programs like Dreamweaver, Photoshop etc… I have personally bought and used a few of their videos to learn how to use these applications and I would say they are pretty good for the money.
This ‘Essential Training DVD’ and Dreamweaver CS3 was all I needed to create a web site for my music, and after watching tuition vids for a couple of days, I was able to start building. If I came up against anything that wasn’t covered in the video tutorials, then a quick search on the web was all I needed. You may be thinking, ‘Well, your site doesn’t look that great, so why should I listen to you ?’ but remember, this site has been set up in a very short space of time, a matter of days and when I have more time and decide to spruce things up a bit, the potential is there. Keep watching and you’ll see what I mean.
UPDATE 1 YEAR ON
This particular site was initially built from scratch very quickly with no previous knowledge of code or html using the methods I have outlined in my guides, but after creating a successful blog and almost 15 months of fun using Dreamweaver, I have finally decided to switch to a WordPress site in order to integrate with the blogging network more closely, save a bit of time and take advantage of the numerous plugins available in order to extend the business model I am creating for my blog.
Initially, I created my site for fun and the skills and knowledge I have learned by choosing to do it myself have been invaluable to me as a webmaster. For me, now over a year on and with many new commitments in my life, I believe time and compatibility is now my main concern and so a swap to WordPress has been made in order to maximise my own efficiency.
I’ll be posing a W.P guide at some point in the future to give my opinions on the swap and the differences it has made to my site from the point of view of both user and webmaster.
Do I Need a Domain Name or Hosting Account to Create a Web Site Using Dreamweaver ?
To create a web site, you don’t need a web hosting account or domain name as you can use Dreamweaver to test how your site would look on the internet as if it was live and online.
Once you have finished testing your project and are ready to go online, you will then need to investigate web hosting packages, domain names and FTP clients to help upload and establish your site on the internet.
Once you have purchased your domain name and an appropriate hosting package that is right for your individual needs, upload your files to your hosting account which links to your domain name and you’re done. I have covered more about these subjects in the domain name purchasing and hosting articles on this site.
So there you have it. You don’t need any experience, any knowledge of code, a web designer or any expensive lessons, all you need is
a) Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 and
b) Dreamweaver CS3 Essential Training DVD (or online lessons from Lynda.com)
c) A few days spare and finally
d) Something worthwhile to create a site about.
That’s how I did it, that’s how I recommend you do it.
I didn’t have a clue about web site creation before I took the plunge, and now I’m writing a guide on this site for people in the same situation as I was a few months ago. That’s how easy it can be.
If you want to purchase any of the above or take a look at them, click the links below. You can try out Lynda.com for free and then decide if you think it’s for you. By the way, I don’t receive any commission for recommending them or you clicking the links below.
Try downloading a trial version of Dreamweaver CS3 from the Adobe web site before you buy it. You can also get hold of student versions of the program for about £90.
P.S. One more thing, if you want to go the whole hog, you really need to get to grips with Photoshop CS3 as well. Once you can mess with these two programs and can manipulate imagery and web code, you’ll be able to do do just about anything you want.
When I get more time, I will go into more detail about Dreamweaver and various other well known web design applications. Check back soon for more posts.