Web Design For Novices

The biography of President Barack Obama that appears on White House.gov Paralysis of Choice

So you want to create your first site but are feeling more than a little daunted by the thought. First step … relax. Just about everyone who has ever created a site has been here before. The feeling is not uncommon. Perhaps one of the scariest things about the whole of creating a site is the sheer number of choices out there.

There is a phenomenon that I like to call the paralysis of choice. It goes like this … give me a choice between two or three items, no problem. That’s easy. But now make it a choice between twenty items and a paralysis starts to set in. There are simply too many choices! And with people afraid of making the wrong choice, they decide that the safest choice is no choice at all. At least this way, they haven’t made a mistake. So instead of getting wrapped-up in things like HTML, XHTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Php, let’s go more basic where there are fewer choices.


The first choice is whether to do it yourself or pay for someone else to do it. For many people, this one is decided by budget alone. sites built from scratch can cost a lot of money. So let’s assume that you’ve already decided that you want or need to do-it-yourself otherwise you probably would have already shelled out the money and wouldn’t be reading this article. Am I right?

-Based Services

The second choice is whether to use a -based service or to construct the site on your own . Many have built-in online site building tools. While you can certainly construct a site, the end results are usually pretty rudimentary. This avenue is probably just fine for a little personal site, but most likely not enough to impress more important visitors, like clients and customers.

A Step Above

A step above the online site building tool is the stand alone program that allows you to construct a site without knowing any HTML or other types of coding. Among the better ones is Incomedia’s site X5 which comeEnglish: Computer-globes in two flavors: Compact and Evolution. Think of these as personal and business.

You start from a number of template choices and then color combinations. Between those two elements alone, the chances of your site looking just like someone else’s is pretty slim. The main idea of site X5 is to divide each page into a grid. In each square of the grid you decide what’s going to go there: text, a picture, a flash movie, or a slideshow, etc. Adding those elements is easy. Not bad. And it gets you an end product better than those online site builders. But I’m still a less than wowed.


OK. As is usually typical I’ve saved the best for last! Unlike the canned site templates that come with software like Microsoft’s FrontPage (now dubbed Expression ); professional site templates are much more sophisticated and give you much more control over each element. Each template typically comes with a list of software you would need to edit the template before you buy it. Higher level templates may require specialized software like Flash. But for a typical price of between $55 and $75 for most templates, this is short money compared to paying someone to a site from scratch.

Most templates also come with Adobe Photoshop (PSD) files. Even the low-cost can fully edit these. The beauty of this is that for the price of less than $100 you’ll have the ability to edit every single little element. This makes customizing your template much easier. For most templates, the only other software you would need is the software like: FrontPage, Dreamweaver, Expression , SharePoint er, and more.

If you’d like to add Flash elements to your site, but can’t afford Macromedia Flash (now Adobe Flash) there are the poor man’s alternatives like SWiSHmax. SWiSHmax allows you to create Flash (SWF) files without having Flash and costs only a fraction of the pVsewebnet-1rice. Take a look at SWiSHzone on the for more information. If you’d like to use SWiSH as an alternative, simply look for templates that list SWiSH as one of the softwares.


Many people don’t realize that most templates can be professionally customized for an . Simply look for template customizing services where you buy your template. Since you are beginning with a template that you’ve picked out, you have a much better idea how it’s going to turn out after some custom tweaking and there are fewer surprises. There’s much less risk involved than with a site ed from scratch.

You can generally save hundreds of dollars by starting with a template even after adding in custom tweaking if you prefer someone else to do it. Remember, you’re not starting from scratch. You already have a fully function site, so the costs of editing a template are small compared with the cost of constructing a full site.

Bottom Line

So for a novice like yourself that wants to do-it-yourself, you basically have three choices: 1) use a -based service like the one than probably comes with your hosting plan, 2) use standalone software like Incomedia’s site X5, or 3) start with a site template. The results you can expect will probably increase in quality in the same order.

Further reading:

Similar content: site, , How-to, , , , Adobe Photoshop, Adobe , File format, Adobe Systems, Religious conversion, , 3D modeling, Adobe Certified Expert, Adobe Creative Suite, Adobe Flash Catalyst,

Image credits:
The biography of President Barack Obama that appears on White House.gov (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: -globe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Vsenet-1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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