When I design websites, I usually use code HTML, CSS, PHP and MySQL by hand. I’m getting more interested the blog software WordPress, the free blog software (of course, you have to have web hosting somewhere, but that’s available for less than $100 per year.
WordPress is usable for static web sites as well as for content management systems, and even blogs (which it was designed for). That’s become a much bigger part of my site once I found the Genesis Framework from StudioPress to use with WordPress — it’s running this site!
When designing my own web site, I prefer to code directly in HTML and CSS using the text & programmer’s editor EditPad Pro.
For web hosting, I prefer and use Hostgator. All of my sites are hosted within one package.
NVU — free WYSIWYG web design software
The newcomer to the web design software "block" is NVU, pronounced "n-view", which is a FrontPage-like "what you see is what you get" design program. NVU is past the “beta” stage and “pre-release” stages. Version 1.0 was released in June. You can download NVU at NVU.com.
Web Site Usability
Have you ever noticed that some websites are a lot friendlier than others? On some websites you can find what you are looking for without much or any effort — it just jumps out at you. On other websites, you may be so swamped with information (e.g., the the new NOAA site) that you have trouble finding anything.
[That version of the NOAA site didn’t last long — I guess too many people felt the same way as I did.]
The term is “usability” — and most of us have not thought much about it. I have just found a highly-recommended website usability book called Don’t Make Me Think. It is fun, humorous and easy to read as well as giving great "good" and "bad" examples.