What Should I Invest My Time Learning?

I want to start building websites for businesses, but I’m new to building a website for someone else. I have only built websites in dreamweaver using templates i find online. Should I stick to learning code or use a CMS like Drupal or Joomla. I don’t know much about them but I heard you can even build a social network yourself with little knowledge?
Any direction on what I should pursue is greatly appreciated!

Personally, If i was you and wanted to get the most amount of work done, with having the smallest knowledge base I would stick to a CMS. It definitely allows you to get things done that even if you spent 2 years learning, you still wouldn’t understand (trust me i’ve been doing it for 4 and there things I still haven’t figured out about some CMS’s).

So for the first part of your question, yes I would spend your time learning the how-to’s of a specific cms, although don’t be afraid to try and pick up some basic languages such as HTML, JS, CSS, MySQL and PHP. Most public CMS’s are based off of a AMP model (standing for Apache, MySql, PHP) and if you want to manipulate certain features of your site, understanding those 5 languages will be your key. The most important of those languages (and the simplest) would be HTML and CSS, those are your true keys for manipulating the appearance of your site.

With all that in mind, my personal fav is Wordpress, great support, a big community to help you, and tons of open source themes and plugins.


Hey thank you I think that’s exactly what I am going to do. Ive been messing around with joomla all day it’s really confusing so far lol

I would recommend getting your hands dirty and building a website from scratch. Books can teach you but nothing beats the real thing.

Stick with templates to start - wordpress, joomla or drupal - and focus on customizing a couple to start off.

Backup often and prepare to make mistakes.

I would agree with both these streams of advice. :slight_smile:

Wordpress is widely used and is good for simpler sites. Drupal is more complex but has greater capability for more demanding specifications. I haven’t looked at Joomla.

Some people claim to knock out a Wordpress site in less than four hours, using an off-the-peg template and not providing custom graphics, javascript, css or any other customisation.

You won’t necessarily learn any HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, MySQL that way but you will be able to see sample code. Read about web-standards, buy the relevant Sitepoint books for each topic and get familiar with a text editor.

Good luck.

You might want to check out the Sitepoint Christmas offers. I’ve just managed to get 3 books for $17.

If you are new then there is lot to learn, you should know how to do work in div create CSS, a lot more php is also in great demand these days.

some solutions like WP are easier to learn than other. however which ever solution you choose to learn, i suggest that you do a little bit of preparation first. go and get your training material first - be they from the net or the bookshop. trust me, you will find that your learning experience much smoother and quicker.

As mentioned, HTML, CSS, JS and PHP/MySQL are what you really want to try to learn if you want to get into doing it all yourself. CMS’ are great though if you can learn it’s usage well. You can even make and run complex sites on WordPress if you know how to modify it

CMS, CMS, CMS and Facebook. That’s what I would recommend

I have a very different take from some of the other posters. It depends on what you want to do in the long term. If you just want to crank out functional but relatively generic sites, then by all means stick with learning the various CMS platforms. Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal, and the like are the ones you should know first. But if you want to know how the sites actually work and how to build something unique, then you must learn HTML and CSS.

Luckily, it’s not an either/or proposition. You can learn both.

It’s better if you know how to code, there are lots of free tutorials in the net that you can use. It’s an additional skill if you will learn how to code, just study hard :slight_smile:

Wow guys I really appreciate all the comments and help! I’ve been messing around with Joomla and wordpress a lot more and I’m getting pretty into it.

Thank you for the guidance, take care!

I highly suggest spend time learning Python programming, it’s great for the web. From my experience it’s stressful learning to much at once, so stick to one subject at a time