I've been building websites from since I was about 16 years old. In the years that passed I made a lot of different sites and tried out different technologies, scripts and programmes. I will list some here, but please also refer to my website ZoWebDev.nl, which is in Dutch, but specifically aimed at giving information on how to start becoming a web developer yourself. I can help you get your own site: see services
How to get your own site:
1. Get a host and domain name
If you want a website, you'll need some space on a server (which is connected to the internet 24/7) and a domain name (the URL or www-address). Both can be obtained from the myriad of hosting companies that are around. I've been very happy with the three that I've worked with: BlueYellow Hosting, Webreus and Social Internet.
2. Work with FTP
Once you have a host and domain name, you can access your files on the server with FTP. I now use the FileZilla FTP client and Notepad++with FTP capabilities, but I started with the free HTML editor and FTP clients of Visicom media: AceHTML and AceFTP.
3. Learn HTML and support languages
4. Work with databases and Content Management Systems
If you have your own space online, you can also use databases to store data and use out-of-the-box packages that will build a site for your. These Content Management Systems (CMS) can be useful if you want an elaborate site online in no time, but they can also be complex to use and to adjust to your own preferences and needs. I've worked with Joomla and Wordpress a lot, but also with TYPO3 and a host of different packages for social websites. Personally I prefer to build custom sites and make a CMS specially for it. In that way the CMS is not a pain in the ass, but a useful tool for site maintenance. Only recently I've discovered Concrete 5, which i found the easiest to use CMS.
5. Make mashups and use API's
The internet has made us much more social. Sharing information benefits the masses. The old internet, with only pages to read and click through, is called web 1.0. The new internet, where we co-create, share and remix contents is referred to as web 2.0. Making mashups is easy. Sometimes small bits of code are made available, ready to embed in your own site. Sometimes there's an API explaining how you can access and interact with data from a site. Sometimes you can use scripts and services from other sites, to enrich your own. Look at all the embedded twitter-frames and Google maps in this website. Don't they make the site much more interesting? Also the integration of Blogs and my photobooks in this site are examples of mashups.
Or: hire a team of experts
Don't have the time to master all the above? Then just hire a team of experts. Why a team? Because making websites really is so complex, that often a team like in Ocean's 11 is required to make a nice site. Everybody has his specialty and together they make a real gem. You could also ask me or a volunteer, but we're just a lonely Jack-of-all-trades who by far cannot do the same as a team of experts. The price ofcourse will reflect the quality: for a very cheap site by someone like me, a site's worth 300 euro at the very least. A site from a professional team could cost anywhere from 600 to 10,000 euro or more!