Step 1: Learn How to Code
Alternative: if books are more your style, check out “Build Your Own Website The Right Way Using HTML & CSS ” by Ian Lloyd. This is the book I first used when learning to code and I have nothing but praises for it, he sets everything out very simply and clearly – you can literally learn in just days. For under $20 that ain’t bad!
Step 2: Get Yourself a Code Editor
Alternative: if you’ve got a few extra hundred dollars lying around, think about getting Dreamweaver. It’s my default coding program and has some really nice features, is available for both windows and mac, and if you’re a student or teacher you can get a nice discount for the program. Everyone else, however, has to pay a bundle for it (sad face). I personally don’t think you need to get the latest version for it to work well; my own copy is from back when walkmen were still cool, lol (okay so it’s from 2005, I still had a walkman back then!). So if you can find an older, working copy on eBay for cheap buy it! And save that $400 for more important things. Like food. Check out the screen shot of Dreamweaver (picture 3) and compare it to Notepad++ (picture 2). There are a lot of extra windows and tabs, but the main function you need is the code highlighting, and Notepad++ does it for free.
Step 3: Get a Good Art Program
Alternative: you can also check out Macromedia Fireworks, and depending on the version you get you’ll pay anywhere from $50 to $300. I do have a copy of Fireworks (like my Dreamweaver it is oooold) and I use it for about a third of my web graphic needs, simply because I sometimes find the interface easier to use than Gimp. However I don’t think it’s really necessary for making a good website. Fireworks can also do a bunch of really fancy web graphic stuff like roll-over menus or something (just what I’ve heard, I only use the basic functions of mine) but you can do cool menus using CSS as well.
Step 4: Dress Up Your Site With Images and Pictures
VectorPortal.com (good place to get vectors)
Photobucket.com (random pictures of pretty much EVERYTHING)
Step 5: Don't Forget the Font!
Step 6: Get Your Own Testing Server
Step 7: Get Ready to Upload!
Step 8: Add a Blog
There you go! With these tools and resources you can learn how to code and make a fantastic website without spending a dime ;)