There are many times when I'm hired by a client and they ask - "Will I be able to update the website myself?"
I know it might sound like a silly answer, and I'm not trying to be wise, but my reply is always "Do you know any html?"
Well if they know html then chances are they wouldn't need to hire someone like me to build their website, right??
The only way that someone new to websites and no knowledge of HTML can effectively (and safely) update their own website without help from a webmaster is to have a content management system (CMS).
Unfortunately because of the extra cost involved to implement a custom CMS, this option can be out of reach for those who just want a quick "down and dirty" website built.
So if you are one of those people who would like to update your own website and are not afraid to learn, then this page is for you!
Before I advise you on the software you should have as part of your arsenal, I want to urge you to go get your web hosting first. Web hosting is when a service (usually paid by a monthly or yearly fee), holds your website files for you on a server so they can be viewed over the internet. Without web hosting you can't have a website, or at least one that other people can see!
I recommend site5 for website hosting. I've been there as a customer for over 7 years and my experience has been close to excellent. They are also very competitive in their pricing.
It's my pleasure to provide you with links to free and "not free" (paid) website software and tools. The paid software can get a little expensive depending on which programs you are considering. The best course of action is to try the free alternatives, and then if you find that you enjoy the skills you're developing and you're interested enough, go ahed and purchase one of the industry standard applications (not so free!). Many software companies offer a free trial period, so go ahead and take it for a test drive first. You have nothing to lose by trying.
I want to stress a point here. As tempting as it might be to jump into Photoshop and start doing cool stuff to images, you would first want to have a good understanding of HTML before you delve into anything else. The reason why I recommend this is because everything discussed on this page is website related. Even if you decide that you want to learn how to use an image editor to touch up images or create graphics for the web, you eventually will want to place that project on a web page, right? Well how do you plan on creating that spot on your web page exactly where you want it and so it is consistent across all browsers? Oh yes, did I mention that every browser treats a web page differently?? I won't get into the reasons why it is, but browser incompatibility has brought many of website designers to their knees in painful agony when their seemingly perfect design, which looked amazing on one browser or computer, but looked as though the page was created by a 5 year old on another! Text, images, and page formatting strewn all over the place... And to add salt to the wound, there are also incompatibility issues between the same browsers on different versions and on different computer platforms and operating systems! Yikes!
If you decide you only want to focus on "print art" then HTML knowledge will not be necessary. But if you're developing for the web you have to pay your dues first and start at the beginning.
Luckily, with a little practice you'll pick up HTML quickly! It's really not that difficult even for someone who is not technical.
On the right column I listed recommended applications that you can learn and a few resources to get your feet wet. Basically all you really need for right now is an HTML editor ( WYSIWYG would be best for now) and an image editor for cropping, resizing, and general graphic manipulation (Microsoft Paint won't quite do!). I also broke the links down as "Free" and "Not free" for your convenience and budget. So get yourself a cup of coffee, relax, feel confident, and jump right in!