Some Notes on Building a Website

January 30, 2019

Building a website is something I’ve thought about doing for a long time. Increasingly, a personal website seems like a useful thing to have, especially if you do things in creative spaces. I’ve had this domain name for a couple of years now, but didn’t do anything with it. Part of the reason for dragging my feet in developing a website is that I wasn’t really sure what I wanted it to be or what I wanted out of it. Another part of it was feeling a little intimidated by the idea of coding and building out a website on my own. (I know. I could’ve used Squarespace or Wix or Wordpress or some other similar service, but stubbornly, I was really into the idea of building it on my own.) Going into this, I knew some html/css, but my knowledge was no where near that of a person who makes their living as a front-end web developer and works with markup and programming languages on a daily basis.

This post isn’t meant to be a tutorial on how to build a website from scratch. It’s more so encouragement for you if you’ve ever wanted to build a website on your own. You can do it. I believe in you. You’ll learn a lot about coding and web development in the process. I’ve gathered some of the free and widely available resources I used here. (There are paid options for some of these things, but you can get by using the free tools.)

A good place to start if you’ve never touched a coding language before is It’s a nice place to get your feet wet. The tutorials on Codecademy walk you through whatever particular language you want to learn without being too daunting.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the main international community responsible for developing Web standards, and teamed up to deliver Mass Open Online Courses (MOOC) related to HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript. I took the “HTML5 and CSS Fundamentals” course. Although I paid for the course so that I could earn a certificate from the W3C at the end of it, you can audit any of the courses for free and it’s definitely worth your time.

For me, the last piece of the puzzle was how to put this html, css, and javascript knowledge together in order to build and launch a website. Hugo is an open-source static site generator, and it ended up being the framework I was looking for. If those words, don’t mean anything to you, it’s ok. Just a few weeks ago, they didn’t really mean much to me either. Mike Dane (Giraffe Academy) has put together some really helpful and quick tutorials that are available on YouTube. Start here:

And here I am, with a website of my own. There will always be things that I’m refining and adjusting as I go along, but I’m pretty proud of what I’ve been able to develop so far.