Free Blogging Program
Blogs have become very popular, and the most popular blogging platform is WordPress. WordPress is a powerful blogging program that is also a content management system (CMS).
A content management system manages the content on your site. Why is this important? It makes it simple for anyone to set up a site, add content to it, and not worry about it any further. The program manages the content for you, setting it up in archives, categories, and so forth.
There are hundreds (maybe thousands) of free plugins available to make WordPress incredibly powerful and easy to use. One of the best places to find free WordPress plugins is at wp-plugins.net.
There are also thousands of free WordPress templates available. Many of them can be found at the WordPress.org site under Themes. There are themes that are 2 columns, 3 columns, that accept widgets (which make it very easy to modify the sidebars), and themes of every color and design.
Free HTML Editors
The two most popular free HTML editors are NVUdev.com and Notetab Lite (available at Notetab.com). NVU is comparable to Dreamweaver. It might not be as powerful as Dreamweaver, but provides enough power for most of us who just want to create some basic Web sites.
Whether you use NVU, Dreamweaver, or Frontpage, having Notetab Lite on your computer is highly recommended. Many people use it for editing existing HTML files. It is quick and easy, and it is freeware.
Free Graphics Program
Probably the most powerful free graphics program is GIMP. With GIMP you can edit photos and other graphics. Most people will find that GIMP has all the tools they need.
GIMP supports the most popular file formats: GIF, TIFF, PNG, PSD, and JPEG. It works with Windows XP and Vista, Mac, Linus, and Sun. You can check it out at GIMP.org.
Tutorials for HTML, WordPress, NVU, and GIMP
All of these programs have tutorials available. There is also a Dummies book for WordPress if you find it easier to gather information in book format.
Some tutorials can be found at the sites listed above, or you can do a search for “nvu tutorial,” “gimp tutorial,” or “wordpress tutorial.” A popular HTML tutorial can be found at BoogieJack.com. One of the great things about the Web is all of the free tutorials available.
Get Started Today
With these powerful free tools available there is no reason not to get started online today creating Web sites. If you are completely new, try setting up a WordPress blog first. It is easy, it is free, and it is a great way to get started.
The only expense you should have is getting a hosting account and getting a domain name. Both are fairly simple and inexpensive to do. Domain names usually can be had for around $10 and hosting can be bought at places like Go Daddy or Host Gator for about $15 per month or cheaper.