You'll learn to make professional websites in this course. There's more to it than looking nice. Professional sites work on phones and tablets, as well as PCs. They rank well in search engines. They're accessible to people with disabilities.

Don't forget about cost. We'll aim for cheap and good. For example, you could make a site for laptops, a separate one for tablets, and another for phones. Great! Except...

You'd spend lots of time and money. Is it worth it? Usually not. Better to make one site that adapts itself to whatever screen it's running on, rather than three sites for different screen sizes. One site is easier to make, and easier to keep updated. Easy is Good.

You'll make sites without many bells and whistles. There will be some cool widgets, like slideshows, but mostly you'll work on the basics.

Get the basics right, and you can add the fancy later. Get the basics wrong, and your site will be messy and expensive.

Why care?


Why would I want to know this?

Three reasons.


First, there's the Benjamins.

A benjamin

Websites are in every area of business, as well as education, law, theater, music, journalism, IT... everywhere. You can help companies with their websites. They will pay you with Benjamins.

Don't forget the cost side. Businesses love to hear, "You could get it done cheaper. Let me show you how..."

You can make a website to help with your job search. Show off what you can do. A personal website with work samples is more impressive than just a resume. Especially if you make the site yourself.

You can also start your own business. These days, the web is how many small companies hook up with customers.

Your values

Another reason to learn this stuff: you can make websites for things you care about. An animal shelter, improv group, whatever.

You can make websites just for yourself. Show off your writing, or photography. Whatever you're into.

You will own and control the websites you make in this course.

Making cool stuff feels good

You'll learn to make cool things. It's satisfying.

At the end of the course, you'll have a real skill you can use. You'll be able to do things that others can't. You'll deserve to feel good about what you've achieved.

What you need

You need access to the internet, but you already have that, or you wouldn't be reading this. You need a computer, and some free software. You'll get links to the software later.

You'll also need a web hosting account, with your own domain. That's the only thing that will cost you money. About $45, including a domain name.

This website

This site is an open educational resource (OER), licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0. Anyone can read the content. Anyone can reuse it, as well.

There are a couple of wrinkles, though. First, Kieran Mathieson created this site for a course at Oakland University. Students in that course have accounts created for them, and get grading services Kieran pays for. If you're not in that course, contact Kieran (kieran at skilling.us) if you want to get grading services. Or if you have other questions about the course.

Second, the lessons on this site are not static web pages, or PDFs. They're active, with pauses, reflections, quizzes, and other things.

OK, let's get going, with the Get ready lesson.