Basic Website Design Toolkit

Janis Yee  

How to get started and what you need for building websites

Getting started is easy.  Here’s all you need:


Pen and Paper
All websites start out as boxes on a page. You will need this to just jot down what kinds of things you want on your website. You can be as detailed as you wish.

A clear concept of what you want to accomplish on the web can help you focus your site.  Try not to go too overboard here.


The application, not a physical one. This should be accessible via: Start Menu > Programs > Accessories > Notepad.  It’s for quickedits of your code.  On the mac, the equivalent is Text Edit which can be reached via: CMD+A > Text Edit and placeable in your dock for easy reaching.

Dreamweaver (optional)
I still only recommend this once you get the hang of being able to code simple sites in pure Notepad because you will get distracted at first by all the options you don’t yet understand. The visual editor is sometimes wonky. This application is preferred because there are quick dropdowns to accompany your code, as well as nifty color coding in the HTML.


Hosting Server
This is going to be where your website will live.  It’s sort of like a house for your content.  Hosts are as dime a dozen as internet service providers. Prices can vary but usually sit at around $10/ month for simple needs.  Most hosting services should at least have PHP enabled. The amount of space you need depends on what you will be using your site for.

Domain Name
Try not to confuse this with Hosting, as this does count as a separate service. If your web host was a House, then the domain name would be like the Front Door. This will be whatever the user types into the Address bar up top to reach your website.  Often, this is the first to be purchased as unique domain names get taken very quickly.  Expect to spend roughly $20 per year on this one.

FTP Client
This is what helps to transfer your files from your computer to the web. Like sending a manuscript to the publishers, only instanter (Yes, I made up that word but you know what I mean.)


Your Brain
Singlehandedly, this is the hardest part to break in. The art of troubleshooting a website for numerous issues takes up roughly a third of a website designer’s time.

Firefox Browser (Download)
The variety of nifty plugins and extensions for this browser make it the ideal platform for designing your website due to compliancy and how well it performs in the Acid Test. This browser should also in large part cover Safari Browser as well.

Explorer Browser
Because every PC user comes cursed with this horrible browser installed, you will need it for browser compatibility tests.

Have everything you need already? Let’s carry on!

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