The biggest problem facing most people is that they aren't HTML wizards, capable of churning out websites as fast as they can type. When it comes to putting up a website, the 'geeks' definitely have an advantage. How can we overcome that?
The key is to remember that structure and presentation are two different things. Now, I realize I just spoke Greek... 'Structure' is the underlying foundation of a website - the 'glue' that holds it all together and performs whatever functions you may require.
'Presentation', on the other hand, is what the website actually looks like. Smart website programmers attempt as much as possible to separate the foundation of their website from the presentation of the content contained on their website. The ways to do this are beyond this short article - but you can look up 'CSS' should you be interested.
Some people turn to 'turnkey' website templates, but there are two major problems... unless you know HTML, you can't modify what you start with, and chances are, it's going to look like a few thousand other sites. (Of course, with the size of the Internet - that's not the problem that it might first appear.) Being unable to modify a 'turnkey' template to do what you want is a major problem for those who aren't HTML literate.
So is there a solution to allow non-geeks to put up a website fairly quickly?
Well, yes and no. For even the method I'm going to describe will require that you know how to FTP software to a web host - and how to 'CHMOD' files. Knowing how to create a MySQL database with a CPANEL is also a requirement. Fortunately, there's a great deal of instructional material on the Internet for these minimum requirements.
Ready for the solution? One that will allow you to put up a website in a minimum amount of time? It's a secret so shocking that some of you will start banging your head ala 'The Three Stooges'.
In a word - Blogging Software. I'm going to detail just one 'brand', but what I say can equally be applied to many other blogging packages. I use 'Wordpress', which is one of the largest and most used of the blogging packages available. It's also completely free and well supported. New updates seem to appear on a monthly basis - so you don't ever have to fear for a lack of support.
What does blogging software such as Wordpress do? It gives you the underlying foundation of a website - all you have to do is define how you want it to 'look' with theme plugins, and type in the content. I've actually created a complete website in just half-a-day, and most of that time was spent on the actual content I was adding.
Wordpress boasts of their famous "5 Minute Install", and from experience, I'd have to say that they aren't far off the mark at all. That is, of course, once you've done it a few times. If you know how to create a MySQL database, and know how to FTP files, and CHMOD them - then you should have no problems meeting or beating that 5 minute time!
Now - some of the advantages: Wordpress comes out of the box as fairly good in the SEO department - and the few holes can be quickly patched with a few SEO plugins. In the Blogging Software world - plugins are just bits of code that you upload to a special directory - 'turn them on', and they begin to add some new or different feature or functionality to your basic website.
In other words - no need to learn HTML, or, in this case, PHP - since any feature or function you can think of has already been desired and programmed by someone else. All you need to do is to search Google for the Wordpress plugin you want.
Another advantage for using Blogging software - Search engines seem to treat 'em differently. I was used to waiting weeks and months for my hand-coded websites to be indexed after submitting them. But due to the time-sensitive nature of Blogs - search engines seem to put blogs ahead of ordinary websites. Maybe it's just my imagination - but Google had my last Wordpress driven website indexed the same day - and I started getting traffic from Google within the next few days.
You may wonder if two Wordpress driven websites might look too similar - certainly it's a possibility if they're both using the same 'theme' - but the chances are remote. I use a specific 'Semiologic' theme for my website - and I've never run across another website using that theme - although I know that there must be several hundred others out there.
Since Blogging software is, by default, a "content management system", making changes to your website is no more difficult than going to your website and 'logging in'. Then you merely type new content, rearrange the presentation, add new features by uploading a new plugin, etc. I've hand-coded complete websites, and let me tell you, the difference in difficulty is like 'night & day'. Keeping up a website run on blogging software is incredibly easy!
For the more advanced webmasters - you can easily integrate blogging software with adtrackers, autoresponders, and any other software tools you require.
Give it a try!