Trying to get into web development, what got YOU into it?

A close friend of mine has a website of their own and I’ve been really interested by the ideas and concepts they’ve shared with me + I also like to add on to their ideas as well. I love the idea of making my own website, writing my own blogs, etc. but for some reason, can’t wrap my head around why it just doesn’t “click” with me as a hobby/interest like crocheting or baking does.

Though I do have specific reasons as to why it doesn’t click, the frustration comes from not knowing HOW to overcome said obstacles.

Coding/website development is something I genuinely want to get into and start doing because creativity is something I want to work on as I’m used to “going by the book”

  • I can’t help but feel like there is an overwhelming amount of information to learn + apply in order to make a proper, enjoyable website

  • I struggle with creativity in a sense that, if given total creative freedom (such as the freedom to do whatever I want with a personal website), I blank out. I’m more productive when given a prompt, template, a set of rules, etc.

  • Ironically enough, though there are plenty of templates and prompts to chose from that are FREELY and publicly shared within the community, I can’t help but feel like it’s taking away from my personal website’s “originality” (as opposed to feeling like I’m making my own website with my own ideas, it just feels like my website feels like an amalgamation of other people’s ideas)

So I’d like to know: what motivates you/inspired you to start making a website? Did you have similar struggles and how did you overcome these obstacles?


I was inspired to make my website by (now goblin-heart) and their cyberspace section. There was something really cool about surfing the web and suddenly not feeling the clout-chasing, vapidness, commercial interests present on the corporate web. As if, that really was how the web was meant to be. Sadness’ site (and Yesterweb) really prioritized the making of websites at one point.

There’s no wrong way to get started. Are there things you’ll wish you knew / had considered when you started? Absolutely! Check out this thread for more of that. But you really shouldn’t let any fears of doing “wrong” keep you from getting started. “Walk the way, and the way appears.”

I use a template. When I was starting out. I didn’t feel confident enough in my abilities to believe I knew better than others. Slowly, gradually, over-time, as I’ve used my template, I’ve built up my confidence and skills and knowledge, and am now working on my very own site theme, 100% handwritten. Will it be “perfect”? Ofc not. Web development is very much art: “Never finished, only abandoned.” Except, with a personal site, you could spend your whole life tending to it. Don’t be intimidated by that. Be relieved, its a marathon, not a sprint. Go at your best pace.


Oh, and I’ve been shamelessly making full use of the chatbot btw. I am fully aware of the implications of using it, I’m not thrilled by it, but it helps me a lot. I don’t have to bother anybody. I know its ironic to say using it makes me feel more independent / autonomous, but yea, it does. Searching the web for an answer sucks nowadays, and I don’t eat, sleep, breathe tech. “It just werks” yo. That said, ofc, knowing what / how to ask things helps a ton, and you really need some experience with webdev to get to that point. But once you have a handle on it? I’m doing things that have been done a billion times before, and learning at a far greater pace with much less friction. I’m not suggesting using ChatGPT how my students do: to make a problem go away, to get an answer and leave. I think its a wonderful learning tool! Especially for late-beginner / intermmediate skill levels.

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Its hard to get started! After all, when presented with making a website, you stumble upon this space thats emptier than a blank canvas.
Like you, i also find myself working better under rules. Which is why, to make my website, i made my own rules. I’ll share what helped me:

First of all, you have to look at inspiration (and while browsing the net, get a feeling of what kind of navigation these pages have). Don’t look at it like youre copying others and losing creativity: websites do (or should) follow existent rules for accessibility and easier navigation.

After that, make a simple sketch for how you want your layout or interface to look like. Do you want your links at the top or side of your page? Do you want just one box with content or many small boxes?
You can then make a list of main pages you want to have. Most pages ive seen have a Home, About and Links pages as the bare essentials. Everything besides that is up to you! The 32-bit cafe website has a couple of suggestions if you cant think of anything (for example, shrines, guestbook, gallery, goodies…)

Then when it comes to programming, you can start wherever you want. The process is all up to you. I learned html with w3schools, you can follow the tutorials in order, or you can just play around, and learn from mistakes that you’ll inevitably make. Whats important is to have fun!


My webdev journey dates back to 2019, when I finally wiped the dust off of my Neocities site that was dormant for 2 years, and this was only because I took an HTML class and learned the basics of using HTML and CSS. I think when I first opened up my Neocities site prior to moving hosts, I was so intimidated by HTML but that class I took helped me with that.

Then that class pulled me further into Neocities and rekindled my love for websurfing, constantly getting inspired by other sites that I tended to mine for a couple of years until I moved hosts to Leprd in late 2023 and revamped my site from scratch. Before that I used site templates and customized them to heck, and for my current layout I used some base code to build my own custom layout.

Honestly I don’t have much, but my few pieces of advice I can give for webdev are these:

  • view-source is your best friend when it comes to figuring out how certain parts of a site work, like sticky sidebars, image slideshows, and custom fonts for example.
  • Also, you can the inspect tool to alter the HTML and CSS of a site in real-time without making any concrete changes to it, so you can use it to test out new things to your site quickly before making the actual changes in the code. I use it to test out new backgrounds and colour schemes for the most part.
  • Last but not least, have fun!! You’re not in a competition for the “best-looking”/“most complete” site or something like that, so just do things at your own pace. If you just do it for popularity reasons you will definitely end up being burnt out.

When it comes to finding creativity in making a website, I second @ttaxyy’s recommendation to sketch out ideas. I used to have a lot of fun designing websites on paper before I knew any HTML. Stick to layouts made of boxes (next to each other, on top on each other, nested inside each other), and they should be possible to recreate with HTML and CSS. (Although simpler is easier when starting out.)

Another fun thing to do is think about colors! Browse color schemes, make your own, and test to make sure they’re accessible.

As I’m making my website, I’m also planning what I want to share, which includes my other creative hobbies. And when I’m working something like a zine, I’m thinking about how I can put it on my website eventually. You mentioned baking and crochet - perhaps you can have a section of recipes you like and a section where you post finished projects and link to patterns. I’m having a lot of fun deciding how I want to present my work to other people.

So that’s some of the ways I engage with creativity when making a website. As to your specific points…

My first website (now offline) was made with a Hugo theme/template. I knew a bit of HTML and CSS, enough to make some edits, but using a theme helped me practice other aspects of design (like structure and navigation) without building it from scratch. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with templates, and it’s not less creative, just different types of creativity (imo).

4 years later, I’m working on my current website, publishing it as I go. I took classes in webdev intending to be a developer or accessibility specialist, so I now have more foundational knowledge than someone just starting out. But I’m approaching it like one might when first learning. I’m sticking with mostly HTML and static site generator setup at first. Eventually I’ll add images and more advanced CSS and maybe some JavaScript, but for now I’m focusing on the structure and text content. It might not be the best method for you, but it’s how I’ve mostly avoided feeling overwhelmed by everything that I could be working on.



Think about it like this: aren’t all type of arts and skills a combination of various ideas from different places? ^^ You mentioned baking, when you learned how to bake you probably followed a recipe, either one in a book/site or one that has been orally told to you. You follow some recipes until you start adding your own spin, maybe you see a nice cake decoration on pinterest and think “I can make this but on a strawberry cake with ducks instead of doves as decoration”, you build confidence until you can freely create using the tools and skills you have acquired.

Web development is just like that. You start with a simple page, or someone’s else template, slowly begin editing them to your liking and implementing your ideas until you have enough tools and skills to make your own.

There’s no shame in using templates/scripts made available by others. Spending time coding your own comment feature from scratch can be a bummer if you just really want to write a blog, like a lot of people who are into sewing or crocheting don’t produce their own yarn.

As others said above me, there is no such a thing as a wrong way so just star small and have fun. Can’t wait to see what you will come up with!


I got into web development by trying to learn enough HTML/CSS to make a tumblr theme (but never made the theme). What I like the most is making cool designs for my webpages with css :3

For someone just starting out I would recommend taking it one page at a time! You don’t have to have a fully fleshed out site in a week, a month, or even a year. I started out by making a homepage, and two design ideas . I then made an art gallery, photo gallery, and poem page. I have a Lot of pages now, but I’ve made them gradually over two years ^^

Make pages for stuff that interests you! Notes you’ve learned about something, pictures you like, collections, art you’ve made, books you’ve read etc. The best websites are the ones where the creator cares about the content, not the sites where the creator is trying to cater to an audience.

I personally like to make guides! They mainly serve as a reference for me to look back on what I’ve learned (because I often forget) but I hope they help other people too :3 I also like making other kinds of resources, such as a page listing and organizing the fonts I like.

Since you like baking and crochet you might like making pages for recipes and crotchet projects you’ve done! (the final result, progress pics, what you learned, the pattern, etc)

If you have a lot of information you’d like to record/organize on a topic (or many topics) webpages are perfect for doing that in an organized way! Some people like making sort of wiki-esq pages for their stories and characters :3 I have pages with my notes on how colors and rainbows work (which is still in progress).

Its ok to have a simple layout to start off with too! If columns, galleries, sidebars etc, is intimidating at first, you can still make useful/enjoyable webpages in simple top to bottom form. Write some text, add some links, maybe add some pictures if you want and you have a webpage :3

I also recommend w3schools for learning html and css :3

As for prompts, you might find 32 bit cafes website ideas page useful! of course you don’t have to do anything on there if it isn’t interesting to you ^^


But once you have a handle on it? I’m doing things that have been done a billion times before, and learning at a far greater pace with much less friction. I’m not suggesting using ChatGPT how my students do: to make a problem go away, to get an answer and leave. I think its a wonderful learning tool! Especially for late-beginner / intermmediate skill levels.

Firstly, just because something has been done a billion times before doesn’t mean you as an individual, have learnt its rules, how it fits together and why it makes sense.

Secondly, you talk about how students use it to make a problem go away, and how it’s useful as a learning tool. It’s useful if you can validate the claims it makes and walk through it step-by-step to make sure it’s not hallucinating garbage.

Finally, it depends on the way ChatGPT or other AI is integrated into your workflow. I think Pull is less destructive, as you go to an AI with an intent and will usually validate the answer. This is “going to chatGPT to ask it a question… to pull from it”. Push is more destructive as it’s the AI giving you answers to a question you didn’t ask or didn’t know you had to ask(which in both cases is bad, and if it worked well, robs you of the more important skill to learn which is how to ask questions.)

In other words, it’s very useful for seniors who can read something and recognise the obvious(from experience) errors.

Anyway, addressing the question from OP, I found this to be a great video about it. Literally the difference between a “rentoid” and a “landchad”


Ooooh! Spicy. Sounds like this is a discussion for its own thread, my man. Do you want to make it, or should I?

And here it is: AI & Web Development

this is such a great question! i would first offer for you to think about the journey of website-building itself over time rather than thinking your final product has to be a finished, completed website that is 100% Original :tm:. part of the journey is having an incomplete website and often for a long time. (i’ve had my current website since 2021 and it’s still not capital-D Done, and that’s part of the fun!) good websites are constantly being added to, updated over time, and changed over time as well. being open to the idea of your “work in progress” being on display is part of the process as well, in my view.

so much of the personal web’s foundation is based on people borrowing, transforming, and being inspired by others. there’s nothing that says you cannot have a website unless it’s completely thought up and executed by you (whatever that might mean). you have no way to learn in that case; you’re always holding yourself to a standard of needing to have something presentable and completely original, and the goal posts continue moving backward. for instance, so many folks just get ideas for their own website, like page ideas or prompts, by visiting others. that’s not necessarily an amalgamation of other people’s ideas, it’s using their ideas as a springboard to express yourself and provide your perspective on this side of the web.

my first websites were nothing but templates and layouts others had made. i really don’t think i could’ve learned HTML in the same way had i not done it that way. ultimately, the way your site looks doesn’t have to be the main export of self-expression, though for others it might be; it’s what is on it, the entire vibe, the entire website together as a cohesive story, is what folks take away from visiting your site. what your site says about who you are is far more important to me!

learning what i could do through using layouts others had made allowed me to get far more comfortable with coding in general, and made coding more approachable because as i tweaked things, i was able to see how they changed. it was super empowering! being able to figure things out as i went, rather than going step-by-step through a tutorial, was the way i learned. it’s doable! but being open to the process is crucial :)

you got this, @Mochi ! a site can be as simple or as complicated as you want. you can start small and grow bigger over time. take the pressure off yourself, and we’ll be here to help or support you along the way, if you’d like!


Getting started in web making was absolutely life changing for me.

My dad died in 1994, but he had spent years in the Royal Navy and been all around the world. He had hundreds of photos that I had scanned but didn’t know what to do with.

Around 1997, I was chatting to a lovely American woman on one of the old BBSs (Bulletin Board System) and one day she asked to see photos of my home city of Bristol in the UK. The boards were not really made for sharing photos and I couldn’t find a website about the place to give her the URL. So I decided to make one.

There were a couple of good free web hosts around like Lycos Tripod and Yahoo but really not many templates or even good guides on the web. So I had to buy a book to learn how to do it. After a couple of false starts, that’s how my website came to be published in 1999.

Back then, there were just 3 million websites compared to the 2 billion now.
I moved to the US in 2001 and we were married later that year.
Designing and writing websites later became my job.
Here’s the book that got me started…


Back in the UK I was a programmer anyway so I was used to coding and how it has to be structured. That helped learning HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Keeping up with how to do it properly toook a lot of time, then there was all the stuff to know how to make sites repsonsive and accessible. Later there were the CMSs (Content Management System) to learn like WordPress and Drupal.

HTML, CSS, JavaScript and the backend languages are living standards. What happens if you do this for a living is that if you don’t keep up, you’re making yourself irrelevant.

My own sites are really simple. Creating new pages is just deleting old content and replacing it. It’s not very pretty, but that’s because I have all the artistic creativity of a brick.

The only thing I would suggest, is don’t be afraid to experiment, I’ve hundreds of pages of things I tried, half formed ideas, even stuff that has stopped working because browsers stopped supporting Midi files, Flash and Java applets.

I still play around with things, sometimes trying to make things do stuff they were never designed to. The details tag was created to make vertical content. One day I got it into my head to make a horizontal menu from it.

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I gotta admit I entirely got into webdev because I was bored during COVID quarantine! I was bored out of my mind, lonely as hell, scared, and growing increasingly disillusioned with traditional social media.

My friend group’s discord server hit our 3 year anniversary and to celebrate I decided to take a crack at making a website for it!! I forget how I came across neocities but I was really into the webcore/old web/etc aesthetics at the time (i still am but. regardless). That website was used to catalog our discord server’s history, artwork, events we’ve held, etc. We were all approaching the end of our high school careers so there was a bit of desperation to archive everything we’d accomplished in the face of like. major life changes, haha.

While I worked on that website, I browsed other neocities sites for inspiration, and found myself desperately wanting to make a personal website and try out lots of fun css tricks and page types that wouldn’t have fit in well on the discord server’s page. I made Trans Rats initially as a sort of ‘playground’ to experiment in coding and layouts before I pushed them to the ‘real’ webpage, but I ended up using it as a supplement and eventual replacement for my Twitter. I have a lot of fun going crazy with it and growing it like some sort of hydra with a million heads lmao. I just had a few main tabs to start and kept adding from there.

Also at the time I was coping with the state of the world and my increasingly dire financial situtation by really aggressively budgeting Pokemon plushies into my weekly budgets. I was buying a lot of pokemon plushies- like I always had a lot, but it really picked up during the peak of the pandemic. I was in a few collectors’ communities on Discord and some of them had old collection pages on Live Journal, and i thought that was SUPER cool and inspiring. And I love to sort and categorize things, so I ended up turning my site into something primarily to show off my collection:)

i love my webbed site it is my pride and joy and it has. helped me make friends across various ages and given me a non-social media way to fuck around on the computer and a way to sort of write a love letter to the internet. I love computers! I love the internet! I’ve wanted a website since I was 5 years old and Geocities still existed but I didn’t take the plunge and suck up my fear of coding until I was 16! I’m really glad I’ve met so many incredible people and I do feel like I’ve grown as a person since making my website and using it as my Main Internet Thing; though it’s hard to tell because I like to think I’d have grown as a person from 16-20 regardless lmao.


It is super hard starting from zero.

Personally, I suggest you don’t start from zero.

Get a template website somewhere, put in some content, then get disgusted by how “uncreative” or how “ugly” it looks like. Then, reiterate to have something less ugly.

I think one big part of the difficulty of starting is the idea at the back of one’s mind that version 1 has to be “good enough” and that you have to sit through hours to get it started.

Spend an hour on it. Then maybe another hour the next time you feel like it. And so on. And then in a few months or a few years time you’d start being surprised at how different your website is when you started!


Absolutely the best way to go. Find one you like the look of and go to work on it. It doesn’t take long to make it your own personal, unique place.


Thinking about this, wouldn’t it be good to start from zero and learn the basic syntax from the ground up before diving into a template? That way you have a basic understanding of how the template is put together.

Way back when I picked up basics through tutorials in magazines, I’m mostly sure of this fact :joy:

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In the olden days that really was the only of doing it, it’s certainly the way my sites were, and still are, made but times change. A lot of people don’t want to spend hours reading and finding the different ways of doing things, they just want somewhere to put their thoughts and ideas somewhere on the web. For them, then a template is the way to go. They can always adjust the CSS and add new features later.

I’ve always been “the computer guy” that friends and family knew and and it did get frustrating. I often thought to myself “why the hell don’t you look this up on Google and do it yourself?” Some people just aren’t technically minded and others get confused because even if they use Google, different sites will have different ideas of doing the same thing.

I look on this stuff as “you don’t have to be a mechanic to know how to drive a car.” It’s good to have a liitle bit of an idea what’s going on, but not strictly necessary.


For CSS I agree, since there’s a lot more involved in it than with HTML. For HTML, I wouldn’t suggest skipping it since it’s very easy to learn.

I think this is where we acknowledge the difference between getting started with web development vs publishing on the web.