Web Site Builders or DIY Web Design

This might come as a surprise to many of you, but I happen to think that most people hate Web design. After all, this is why you ended up on this article trying to determine whether or not it’s worth trying one of those brain-dead options that may or may not be enough to provide you with the kind of Web site you want. Without naming any names or hurting anybody’s feelings, let’s just say that some big domain and Web hosting brands out there are offering cookie cutter Web site creation options that are, to be honest, crap.

With everything above in mind, I will be making my personal recommendations for both a super easy approach to Web site creation that is completely simple, plus a free application for the advanced user that offers a bit more control.

Not skilled? Not a problem! Artisteer

I first learned of Artisteer from Chris Pirillo and, after trying it, I am blown away at how awesome this is. Anything you want to just happen — does (with regard to your site design). Without any doubt in my mind, this is the greatest approach to designing templates I’ve ever used on Windows. I’ve used some pretty decent software in the past, but Artisteer is the best approach to doing a quick design for WordPress, along with other content management systems. It does a nice job with providing clear, concise  access to different regions of the Web site on which you’re working, and it does all this in a familiar, MS Office-like ribbon interface. I think when you compare this to tools like Yahoo! Site Builder, you’ll soon see why this has me so excited.

Doing things the old fashioned way

Web Site Builders or DIY Web Design

People passionate about Web design tend to do things the old fashioned way. This isn’t to say that you wouldn’t want to use actual WYSIWYG HTML editing software of some sort, rather, I think some individuals out there have grown to appreciate the simplicity that comes from a good text editor. This leaves the person with the code and the project they’re working on. To get a little more out of the experience, I happen to like using Notepad++. Since I think that SciTE rocks already, having a text editor that uses this at its core is all the better in my opinion. Working with macros, plugins for comparing, encoding options, and the ability to run code in a browser from the UI, Notepad++ is just awesome.

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  • Anonymous

    “People passionate about Web design tend to do things the old fashioned way.”

    Are you saying that using WYSIWYG editors are the future? They definitely are not. They are greatly discouraged around the web development field.

    Besides that, +1 for using Notepad++ XP

    • http://twitter.com/matthartley Matt Hartley

      Hi Terry. No, I think it’s a matter of different strokes for different folks. I’m pretty old school, although in a pinch I have used a WYSIWYG and then fixed things by hand later on. It just depends on when, how long and if I care. ;)

  • Anonymous

    “People passionate about Web design tend to do things the old fashioned way.”

    Are you saying that using WYSIWYG editors are the future? They definitely are not. They are greatly discouraged around the web development field.

    Besides that, +1 for using Notepad++ XP

    • http://twitter.com/matthartley Matt Hartley

      Hi Terry. No, I think it’s a matter of different strokes for different folks. I’m pretty old school, although in a pinch I have used a WYSIWYG and then fixed things by hand later on. It just depends on when, how long and if I care. ;)

  • Anonymous

    “People passionate about Web design tend to do things the old fashioned way.”

    Are you saying that using WYSIWYG editors are the future? They definitely are not. They are greatly discouraged around the web development field.

    Besides that, +1 for using Notepad++ XP

  • Jose Ignacio Hualca Moreira

    Long time using Dreamweaver

    • Anonymous

      ew. I tend to stay away from DreamWeaver, it doesn’t produce the best code, unless you’re hand coding everything then that’s fine.

  • Jose Ignacio Hualca Moreira

    Long time using Dreamweaver

  • Jose Ignacio Hualca Moreira

    Long time using Dreamweaver

    • Anonymous

      ew. I tend to stay away from DreamWeaver, it doesn’t produce the best code, unless you’re hand coding everything then that’s fine.

  • http://twitter.com/ryanmacnish Ryan Macnish

    I write all my web development code by hand in vim on linux, i have several web browsers installed for testing and vim has many great functions that speed things up. I think WYSIWYG are total crap, since what you see in a WYSIWYG editor is not usually what you see in each browser.

    One thing i tend to do a lot is have a basic source tree of html/css/javascript/etc and then add to it as i need. This way i dont start from complete scratch but i dont have some stupid application that thinks i want a crapload of bloated code.

    • http://twitter.com/matthartley Matt Hartley

      As a full time Linux user myself, you win for using vim. Now that, is working without the training wheels. ;)

  • http://twitter.com/ryanmacnish Ryan Macnish

    I write all my web development code by hand in vim on linux, i have several web browsers installed for testing and vim has many great functions that speed things up. I think WYSIWYG are total crap, since what you see in a WYSIWYG editor is not usually what you see in each browser.

    One thing i tend to do a lot is have a basic source tree of html/css/javascript/etc and then add to it as i need. This way i dont start from complete scratch but i dont have some stupid application that thinks i want a crapload of bloated code.

  • http://twitter.com/ryanmacnish Ryan Macnish

    I write all my web development code by hand in vim on linux, i have several web browsers installed for testing and vim has many great functions that speed things up. I think WYSIWYG are total crap, since what you see in a WYSIWYG editor is not usually what you see in each browser.

    One thing i tend to do a lot is have a basic source tree of html/css/javascript/etc and then add to it as i need. This way i dont start from complete scratch but i dont have some stupid application that thinks i want a crapload of bloated code.

    • http://twitter.com/matthartley Matt Hartley

      As a full time Linux user myself, you win for using vim. Now that, is working without the training wheels. ;)

  • Ingo Thomas

    I usually use a hybrid approach, at least for straight HTML segments.
    When I get requests like “add a column” it’s a real pain in Notepad++ or anything non-visual.
    I created myself a flat page, running the JavaScript-based CK-Editor. (Even the demo page works.)
    There I cut and paste the HTML segment into the source view, switch to design view, perform the operation (e.g. add column) and copy the source code back to where it came from.
    Also CK-Editor allows pasting from Word (check box ‘Remove Styles’ !!!), which almost everyone uses to draft and submit their content.
    Next to being very quick, it also formats (even cleans) the source code.
    The disadvantage is, of course the site styles (as long as not inline) do not transfer, so it needs to be tweaked occasionally on the ‘real’ page. But it’s lesser pain than to do -all- the footwork.

  • Ingo Thomas

    I usually use a hybrid approach, at least for straight HTML segments.
    When I get requests like “add a column” it’s a real pain in Notepad++ or anything non-visual.
    I created myself a flat page, running the JavaScript-based CK-Editor. (Even the demo page works.)
    There I cut and paste the HTML segment into the source view, switch to design view, perform the operation (e.g. add column) and copy the source code back to where it came from.
    Also CK-Editor allows pasting from Word (check box ‘Remove Styles’ !!!), which almost everyone uses to draft and submit their content.
    Next to being very quick, it also formats (even cleans) the source code.
    The disadvantage is, of course the site styles (as long as not inline) do not transfer, so it needs to be tweaked occasionally on the ‘real’ page. But it’s lesser pain than to do -all- the footwork.