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How to Code a Website from Scratch: 2021 Complete Beginner’s Guide

Learning how to build a website from scratch may seem challenging, but it’s one of the most valuable skills you can learn. Read our simple guide on how to code a website for beginners. We’ll look at the best coding lessons for absolute beginners, as well as the essential coding tools and resources to help you design simple and beautiful websites.

What Is a Website?

A website is a collection of interlinked web pages that share one domain name. There are different kinds of websites that serve different needs. These include business sites, ecommerce sites, portfolio sites, social media sites, and news sites. These websites are managed by individuals, organizations, and businesses. 

Why Do I Need a Website?

You need a professional-looking website if you are self-employed or a business owner. With an increasing number of customers migrating online to find products and services, a website gives you a platform to showcase your brand. It gives potential clients the assurance that your business is real and credible.

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The biggest advantage of having a website is that it’s available round the clock. Your physical shop may have to close, but your website can stay open 24/7. A website also opens up the opportunity to reach bigger or more targeted audiences. 

Learn How to Code a Website Using HTML and CSS: 5 Easy Steps

Learning how to code a website can be easy, regardless of your skill level. With the right tools, you can learn to code using different types of coding languages. HTML and CSS are two of the most important languages in web development. Below we’ve compiled a step-by-step guide to gaining the skills necessary to code a website from scratch. 

1. Learn HTML

Learning HTML will give you the proper foundation to help you learn this essential skill. HTML is typically used to structure websites and web pages. The first step to learning to code a website is to find an online tutorial on HTML. 

2. Learn CSS

The second essential step if you want to learn how to code a website is to learn CSS. CSS is used to style web pages. You can use CSS to make changes to things like the color settings, text style, and general layout. 

3. Enroll in a Coding Bootcamp 

Once you are familiar with the basics, a coding bootcamp is a great way to solidify your coding skills. Coding bootcamps help students learn how to code quickly and effectively through interactive tutorials and exercises. Search for programs at top coding bootcamps such as Flatiron School, Thinkful, Rithm School, and App Academy. 

4. Take Coding Quizzes

Mastering the art of coding takes practice. Use online resources and exercises to help you practice and gradually upskill. You can take advantage of platforms like W3Schools, which offers free coding exercises and quizzes to coding students. 

5. Join a Network 

There are plenty of benefits to joining a coding or developers community, including peer support, mentorship, knowledge sharing, and fun games to help your learning. Find an online group like CodeBuddies or Ladies Learning Code to access peer support and resources for students. 

Learn to Code for Free: 5 Best Online Courses

You can easily learn how to code websites by attending free online coding classes. These online programs will teach you the basic coding skills needed to start building your own websites. Take a look at five of the best ways to learn to code for free

Intro to HTML/CSS: Making webpages by Khan Academy 

Khan Academy’s introductory course on HTML and CSS will show you how to use basic code to create a simple website design. Through video tutorials, students learn about the common types of code used to build websites. You’ll also learn how to use browser developer tools and how to debug your website. 

The learning platform also provides advanced courses on making web pages interactive, if you want to continue your learning journey.  

Learn how to build websites by Codecademy

As well as HTML and CSS, this course will give you basic skills in JavaScript. Once you have mastered using HTML to structure your website, you will use CSS and Javascript to create interactive, custom web designs. This comprehensive course takes 10 weeks to complete and comes with a certificate of completion. 

Software Engineering Basic Prep by Hack Reactor

Hack Reactor’s software engineering prep course is an excellent way to learn JavaScript for free. As a prep course, it’s designed to help you transition to its main software engineering bootcamp program. So it’s ideal if you’re interested in becoming a software engineer. The prep course is self-paced, so you can easily fit it around your other commitments. 

Coding for Beginners by Udemy

Udemy’s beginners’ coding course helps you learn the basics of programming languages before applying them in a real-world setting. During the course, students learn JavaScript, Ruby, and C#. To ensure you have grasped the vital aspects, you’ll also complete a project that you can add to your portfolio. 

HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for Web Developers by Coursera 

In only 40 hours, you will learn the foundations of front end and backend development. In particular, you’ll learn to create web pages that work well across devices. This course covers JavaScript as well as HTML and CSS. When you finish the program, you will receive a shareable certificate of completion. It’s a great course for aspiring web developers

Coding a Website vs Using a Website Builder: Which Is Right for You?

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Website builders offer a quick way to build a website without coding experience.

You no longer have to hand-code websites from scratch like you used to. Website builders are tools that allow you to build websites using templates, even if you have no coding skills. Website builders like WordPress and Blogspot can save you time and effort. However, you won’t be able to create custom designs or have complete control over your website. 

Coding a Website from Scratch: Pros and Cons

Why You Should Code Your Website

  1. 100 percent control. If you code your own website, you’ll own it and have control over it. This means you can transfer it to another platform whenever you want to, without having to recreate your website from scratch.
  2. Originality. The biggest advantage of coding your own website is that you have creative control. You can build a completely custom design. This is not the case for website builders, where you’ll find many other websites that use the same web design templates.
  3. Ownership of the code. Using a website builder may make it difficult to pinpoint issues when they arise, as you won’t own the code. You will find yourself spending more time diagnosing and debugging the lines of code. These problems tend to be easier to sort out if you’ve taken the time to write clean code yourself.
  4. Security. Website builders are less secure, as they all use the same code. This means they are easier targets for hackers. 
  5. Cost. If you have the coding knowledge, building your own website won’t cost you anything apart from the domain name and hosting. 

Why You Shouldn’t Code Your Website

  1. Time. The main reason you shouldn’t build your own website is that it’s time-consuming. The process can take months to finish, depending on the size of your website. 
  2. Experience. Building a website requires advanced coding skills. If you don’t have the right level of experience, it’ll be more effort than it’s worth. 
  3. Less easy to use. Website builders are designed to be easy to use. This means if you want to make small changes to your website, you can do it quickly using the built-in dashboard. With your own website, you’ll have to rewrite the source code each time.

Using a Website Builder: Pros and Cons

Why You Should Use a Website Builder

  1. No experience needed. You can rely on website builders to code your entire website for you. This is perfect for people with little coding experience. Website builders will also take care of things like web hosting and securing a domain name.
  2. Less time. Website builders provide a faster and easier way for businesses to get their websites live. You simply choose a template and you’re good to go. 
  3. Website management tools. Website builders are well equipped with all the tools necessary to help you manage your digital presence. This includes things like email addresses, social media, and ecommerce integration. 
  4. Simplicity. It’s easy to build, customize, and edit websites using a website builder. If you’re new to coding, this may mean you’re able to do things you wouldn’t otherwise be able to. 
  5. Cost. If you don’t have good coding skills, using a website builder will be much cheaper than paying someone to build or change your website code for you. 

Why You Shouldn’t Use a Website Builder

  1. Generic designs. Most website builders use similar design templates, which means your website is likely to look similar to many others. If you want a truly original and customizable website, you’re better off building it yourself. 
  2. Advertisements. Most website builders feature advertisements for third parties. This can be a nuisance for clients visiting your site. 
  3. SEO ranking. Website builders tend to not be as good for your Google rankings. With the more generic code of website builders, Google finds it more difficult to work out what your page is about. The page speed also tends to be slower, which makes them less likely to rank highly.  

Build Your First Website 

Building your first website doesn’t need to be too challenging. Learning to code will make it easy to create original, customizable websites from scratch. You can find plenty of courses, tools, and resources to help you learn website coding online. 

Alternatively, if you’re an absolute beginner or are low on time, website builders are an excellent tool for creating beautiful websites from templates. WordPress and Blogspot are good platforms to start with.  

How to Code a Website FAQ

Is it hard to build a website?

It’s not difficult to build a website. With a little coding knowledge, it’s easy to build a simple website design from scratch. However, when it comes to more complex websites such as ecommerce and web portals, you’ll usually need more advanced web development skills.

How do you code from scratch?

Learning to code from scratch is not as challenging as most people will lead you to believe. It’s simply a matter of committing time to learn and practice. There are lots of online resources and MOOC courses available to help beginners code their first website from scratch. 

Is coding your own website free?

Coding your own website is completely free. You only need web hosting and a domain name.

Is HTML worth learning?

Yes, HTML is worth learning. It’s the most popular coding language used for structuring web pages. It allows you to create far more customizable website structures than a website builder.

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