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The manner in which you build your site is too large an area to cover in this blog, instead we’re going to cover what CSS is and how it might be helpful to you. We’re then going to get our hands dirty by building a SUPER simple site using HTML and CSS. After this I’ll discuss how to get your site live on the web, this often trips up designers so it’s worth taking a look at.

Nothing we’re going to produce today is going to set the world alight from a design point of view but it’ll give you enough basic knowledge so you can create your wonderful looking sites in your own time.

The reason we’re going look at CSS is that if you want to have a moderate degree of control over the look of your site you’ll come across this technology no matter how you create your site. If you create it using Dreamweaver from scratch there’ll be a large amount off CSS’ing, if you use blogging site (or wordpress.org) then you can often edit existing CSS, if you use Flash and want to change the colour of the page then you can/should use CSS. Even if you cop out and use iWeb then a little CSS knowledge can be useful to edit the pages it creates to a finer degree.

We’re going to use Dreamweaver as it’s the industry standard web editing software but there’s loads of alternatives. CSS and HTML are only made from simple text files so you can use lots of text editors to manipulate them. The advantage of Dreamweaver and similar programs it that they give you visual feedback whilst editing the files by suggesting what CSS property is most appropriate.

Because websites are built from of a combination of text files it means it’s easy to see how other people have put together their sites. Because this has been the case for many years there’s often a philosophy of shared learning and openness with web development. You can take a look at the basic building blocks from other peoples sites and see how something similar could apply to what you have in mind. To take a quick look at how a web page is put together right-click and select ‘View page source’. To delve deeper into a site you can use the web developer toolbar for Firefox.

It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them too
Jean-Luc Godard

As well as looking at other pre-built sites this environment of openness means there’s loads of development sites which you can legally take snippets of code from to create your own site and tons resources for help.

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