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This is a commonly asked question, the answer to which is not simple as there are many different technologies used to create and deploy websites, however the essential technologies are:

XHTML (Extensible Hypertext Markup Language)
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
JavaScript (almost essential, you’ll definitely want it, but we’ll leave this for later)

XHTML is a replacement / enhancement of HTML. It is no more difficult to learn than HTML, and along with CSS should be the starting point for budding web designers.

CSS was created to allow common styles to be applied across an entire site. Styles are defined in a single file (stylesheet.css or similar). You then link all of your pages to this stylesheet, and apply the styles from it to your XHTML. This means all styles for your entire website are defined in a single place, so, if you decide to change the colour scheme, you only have one file to alter, not every individual page.

CSS design has moved forward considerably and is now not only used to control the style of text and borders, but also the layout of pages. This means less code can be used in each web page, as you do not have to individually lay out each page, again having a single file to control the layout.

Layouts and styles are sometimes split into separate files, for example stylesheet.css and layout.css. The names of these files are irrelevant, you can call them what you want, it’s what you write in them that’s important.

So where should you start?

Start with XHTML AND CSS, learn to use the two in conjunction. You will have to begin with XHTML, but after playing for a couple of hours, introduce CSS. Think of it like learning to use a knife and fork, you may start with the fork, but pretty quickly you’ll find you need the knife!

It is possible to build a site with only XHTML, CSS is to a point optional, however you will not be able to use most of the free templates available, and you will never move beyond “beginner status” without CSS.

Now read about some free web design tutorials tutorial’s

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