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Building a website can take months.
Luckily there are frameworks, minimal coding, and no-code solutions designed to help anyone build a quick website.
Here are 4 hacks to build your own website from the ground up.
Life Hack #1: Use Web Frameworks
First up, web frameworks. A web framework or web application framework is a software framework designed to standardize the building and deployment of web applications.
Popular web frameworks such as Ruby on Rails, Flask, and Django are all frameworks.
Django Web Framework is a free, open-source, software that follows a model-template-views architectural pattern first created in 2005.
Django is a great Python-based framework if you are looking to create a larger, data-based driven website.
Applications like YouTube, Dropbox, and Spotify are built using Django.
It is more of a full-featured web app that comes with pre-built authentication and message frameworks in addition to form validation for easy implementation.
It takes about 10 minutes to configure a Django project on your computer and only a matter of weeks to get it deployed and in production.
Additionally, there are thousands of Python packages designed specifically for Django projects that make up for any additional features not already included in the framework.
This may sound daunting if you are new to coding. But it's well worth it if you're looking to create a website with user interaction between the site and the user.
This includes features such as user notifications, user login, and dynamic page rendering.
We have a Beginners Django Web App Course that walks through everything you need to know when first working with Django.
Why should you use Django?
Developed in 2010, Flask is another web framework also written in Python. It is similar to Django, just slightly paired down.
Flask is considered a "micro" web framework because it does require specific tools or libraries for use.
Things like authentication, object-relational mapping (ORM), and form validation are not included with Flask so you can decide if the project even requires said functionality.
But don't worry, there is a large community of Flask developers and plenty of Flask extensions and libraries to choose from so you don't have to code everything yourself.
The freedom to choose with Flask does have a slight learning curve and the risk of mistakes but it can be worth the hassle for the database and project size flexibility.
Overall, Flask is great if you have a basic knowledge of Python and are looking to create a smaller site with the few features you actually need to complete your project.
Why should you use Flask?
Ruby on Rails
Released in 2004, Ruby on Rails (RoR) is open-source software that operates on a model-view-controller framework.
Github, Hulu, Twitch and many other applications were build using Ruby on Rails.
This free web framework is based on the Ruby programming language that comes with an ORM, URL routing, and plugins.
However, you should know that RoR has a high learning curve and there is often limited documentation on packages (gems).
It's not the fastest install as you will need to install several packages before installing the Rails framework.
But Ruby allows for flexible syntax and increased speed and efficiency given the development principle of convention not creating.
The only major consideration is your knowledge of Ruby and your willingness to learn. It may not be the web framework for you if you're not willing to become proficient at Ruby.
Why should you use Ruby on Rails?
Life Hack #2: Use CSS Frameworks
Creating extremely clean, cohesive CSS takes time -- time that is honesty better spent marketing your website or reaching out to potential customers.
CSS frameworks such as Bootstrap, TailwindCSS, Materialize, and Bulma are just a few CSS frameworks. They are all free-to-use and come with their own distinct design style.
I recommend Bootstrap if you are new to coding and CSS.
It is easy to implement with a CDN script and the documentation is full of code snippets designed to copy and paste directly into your code.
Bootstrap allows you to have limited CSS styles while still creating an extremely professional website.
It offers buttons, cards, accordions, navbars, and icons all pre-built.
Why should you use Bootstrap?
Materialize is another CSS framework that comes with pre-built components. It is similar to Bootstrap but with a more angular CSS design.
Materialize is a pared-down version of Bootstrap with endless color variations.
This framework provides all of the basic components -- navbar, footer, cards, buttons -- needed to build a site.
Why should you use Materialize?
I would say Tailwind CSS is the bridge between writing your own custom stylesheets and using Bootstrap.
TailwindCSS is for the person looking to build their own custom components and go against Bootstrap's cookie-cutter components.
But it's still an easy CSS framework to use. Custom class attributes are provided in addition to free sample components.
Rather, than simple pre-built components, Tailwind UI offers a few free HTML snippets to use.
I recently made a collection of Tailwind CSS cards, if you're looking for a head start.
The CSS possibilities are endless and you are no longer limited to pre-build components.
Why should you use TailwindCSS?
Life Hack #3: Use JS Animation Libraries
Again, rather than code it all yourself, using an existing library can save you hours on development.
Originally developed by Facebook, React provides a better overall user experience because data changes occur without reloading the page.
The key to React is the reusable components. The idea is to make simple views that render the correct components when needed.
The best part about React is you can use as little or as much as you wish. It's built for gradual adaptation so you can build anything from a chatbot to an entire e-commerce store using React.
Why should you use React?
Use Typed.js if you're looking to add a cool typing animation to your site. The library is very easy to use and simple enough to customize to your liking.
It works really well for quickly placing a clean visual animation on your site without it being too gimmicky.
A CDN is available for easy use and there are several properties to customize the speed, loop, and backspacing.
Why should you use Typed.js?
ScrollReveal is a fun animation library that, as the name suggests, allows you to reveal parts of your website as the user scrolls down the page.
It's a great way to take your website to the next level of interaction and create a memorable user experience by forcing the user to focus on specific things as they appear.
The only caution is to use it sparingly as it overwhelms if used too heavy-handedly.
Why should you use ScrollReveal?
Life Hack #4: Use no-coding solutions
No-code solutions are great if you have read up to this point and still feel intimated.
They are also helpful if you are looking to do less coding and more marketing/social outreach.
No code apps help you build, deploy, and automate your website all without touching a single line of code.
I'll briefly cover two web development no-code solutions.
Bubble is a powerful no-code solution that lets you build your site from scratch.
It allows for web flows that handle data submissions all without touching a line of code.
Hover over any element and a grid will appear for easy element alignment. A preview button allows for the website to appear as if it were deployed.
It also comes with a built-in debugger to help you solve any of your coding errors.
But the editor is logic-based, so I recommend following the lessons to begin if you are interested in adding anything user interaction to the site.
There may be a slight learns curve to begin with but that's where the lessons come into play.
Why should you use Bubble?
You'll like WebFlow if you are familiar with any of the Adobe programs.
It operates similarly with the side navbars used to change the color, orientation, and font of components.
Drag and drop components onto the page then see your work on multiple devices without having to use browser tools.
Starter templates are also available if you don't want to start from scratch.
Form submissions and API integrations are all handled under the project settings.
Why should you use WebFlow?
I recommend trying all of these hasks to see which ones you prefer. They are all designed to be relatively quick to start and implement.
There is no harm in starting an example project just to get a feel of if you want to use the framework, library, or no-coding site.
At the end of the day, personal preference will determine which hacks you use moving forward.
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