“Build a Website for Free” by Mark Bell is a good resource for those who want to use free and open source software to create a website. According to Bell, this free and open source software will allow you to create fun, interesting and dynamic web pages for very little money. With this book, he shows you how and points you in the right direction. It is written in easy to understand language, so even the beginner can follow and understand it. However, it goes deep enough into the topics to benefit those with a little more experience as well. It is a well-organized guide to creating websites, if not free, for very little money. I found it easy to read and its organization makes it easy to revisit the sections that will help you with your website.
For some, this book may be all they need to get started with a simple site. For others, additional resources will be needed to continue learning and doing more. For example, there is a short chapter on the Joomla program. Those who chose that option can learn more by searching for resources that are specifically geared towards using Joomla to create websites.
There is a short introduction where Bell explains what the book is about and how to use it. Then the book goes to the basics in chapter one. Again, this is for the new beginner, so some people may know something about this, but the basics are always good. I think the part of planning your website first is especially important if you really want to do a good job and achieve your goals for the site. The following chapters cover topics such as choosing a location for your site, planning your site (they told you this was important), designing your site, putting your tools together (many sites with free tools), and moving files to and from the Internet.
The next part of the book contains chapters on website building basics, such as website elements, using existing websites, web page services, HTML basics, working with images, working with multimedia, building a site using HTML, discover how other sites work and make your site mobile. Then come the chapters on site testing and maintenance, how to test your website, promote it, and maintain it.
From there, Bell delves into how to create a blog using WordPress, creating business sites with content management systems, multimedia, and using Wiki. The book concludes with an appendix listing the most common HTML tags and another listing free and open source software sites.
This is a very good starter book. It’s basic and easy to understand, regardless of your experience or knowledge of website building. If you are experienced, you most likely want a more detailed guide. The book is really for those who want a website, don’t know where to start, and don’t have a lot of funds to invest in one. If that’s you, this book is a great place to start.