Here are some resources to get you started. This is not a complete or thorough list by any means. No recommendations or endorsements are implied by listing a link here; this is just an effort to help you on your learning path.
Some popular hosting providers are very difficult to work with. They may have a lot of upcharges or add-ons, making their initial very low entry price inflate as you try to get the features your need for your website. They may also have complex or convoluted procedures for doing basic tasks like transferring a domain registration from them to another registrar.
- Firefox — open source software from Mozilla. This is my favorite development browser because it follows web standards pretty well and renders pages reliably. As with many other browsers, Firefox includes an Inspection capability for web developers that is very handy.
- Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge — IE comes standard on all Microsoft computers; Edge is now included with Windows 10 as the default browser.
- Chrome — popular browser owned and developed by Google, this browser requires some significant software running in the background on your computer.
- Notepad++ — this is a much fancier version of the standard Notepad program. It does color-coding and can handle standard HTML and CSS changes. From Don Ho at SourceForge.net.
- HTML-Kit 292 — although this program has been around for several years, I think it is still one of the better HTML and CSS editors. From Chami.
- FileZilla — if you need a standalone FTP client, this is the widely-accepted tool.
- ColorMania (from Blacksun Software) — this free utility program lets you pick colors and save palettes.
- Color Scheme Designer (authored by Peter Stanicek and now from Paletton) — lets you play with whole sets of theme colors; now also has many ads, but functionality is still full.
- List of named colors (from World-Wide Web Consortium (W3C)).
- The 216-Color Webmaster's Palette (part of Visibone's Webmaster Color Laboratory).
- Don't spend a lot of time on this … it's about the content, remember!
- Font Squirrel — free fonts comparable to many popular proprietary fonts.
- Google Fonts — increasingly popular fonts that you can reference from Google's site and use as if embedded on your website, so visitors don't have to install it on their devices.
For faster page loads, less bandwidth usage, more flexibility in design options, and improved mobile performance, images should be both sized to fit the design and optimized/compressed to use as little disk space as is practical.
- Batch Image Resize Tool — this free, online tool will resize and compress one or more images in the same step. It is very easy to use and very fast. Be cautious about how much disk space is associated with varying levels of quality … higher quality will take considerably more disk space.
- TinyPNG — if all you need is compression, this free, online tool will compress JPG and PNG images while sacrificing a little quality. In many cases, the quality difference doesn't matter, and the savings can be significant.
General design resources
- A List Apart — authoritative source for how to create usable websites and evaluate design alternatives.
- usability.gov — guidelines from US Government to enhance website usability.
- HTML Primer — this is part one of a seven-part tutorial for HTML; this site also has lots of other helpful stuff for the web developer, but you have to put up with a lot of advertising (from HTML Goodies).
- HTML5 Recommendation — HTML5 is the current standard for web pages and this is the specification from the Wordwide Web Consortium (from W3C).
- HTML named entities — special characters like a non-breaking space or a copyright symbol are so frequently used on web pages that there are codes for them; this is the guide to those codes.
- CSS-Tricks — essentially a blog about CSS, this site has interesting examples and medium-level explanations.
- Zen Garden — an amazing site showing the power of CSS to transform any content; all designs on this site use the same content.
- RichInStyle.com CSS2 tutorial — offers basic and some advanced concepts in relatively short segments (from RichInStyle.com).
- CSS Tutorial: Starting With HTML + CSS — very simple examples (from W3C).
- CSS Specifications — for details about the standard, look here (from W3C); NOTE: browsers support standards at different rates and with different methods; refer to https://caniuse.com/ for specific supported information for any CSS feature.
Expression Web resources
- Download Expression Web 4 (free from Microsoft).
- Expression Web Tutorials — relatively short tutorials and tips (from Any Expression Designs).
- Discussions in Expression Web — technical but often interesting discussions from users (from Microsoft Expression).
- Learn Microsoft Expression Web — numerous tutorials covering a variety of subjects, and in a variety of formats (from Microsoft Expression).
- Expression Web Templates — free templates you can use or modify as needed (from Expression Web tutorials and templates).
- Beginner's Guide to SEO — a wonderful overview of search engine optimization and website marketing with many helpful references and examples (from Moz).
- lynda.com — paid service for online training in topics like HTML, CSS, Web design, Web development, etc.
- HTML Goodies — lots of topics from HTML to graphics, mobile, and databases.
*Microsoft®, Windows®, Expression®, Expression Web®, and FrontPage®