During the early days of the Internet, special programming skills and a working knowledge of HyperText Markup Language (HTML) were required in order to create a website. A sudden demand for website development skills quickly inspired a model for do-it-yourself website design, which allowed the average layperson to create a website easily, quickly, and at no cost.
During the late 1990s-early 2000s, websites such as Angelfire and GeoCities offered free web space for those who wished to create a website completely on the Internet, without using programming software. These websites were often plagued with pop-up ads and large banner ads that enabled the host site to generate revenue, but became an annoyance and aesthetic issue with users. Websites such as Blogger then began offering free web space in blog form, featuring an even simpler content management system (CMS) that allowed users to create a website step–by-step. This type of CMS acts as a template to create a website, and features an easy-to-use interface that prompts the user to write text in various boxes, which feature buttons that automatically stylize text without HTML.
Today’s free web hosting and building tools typically make the process to create a website as easy as possible. The main page of sites such as Blogger, WordPress and LiveJournal feature a prominently-placed button that encourages visitors to sign up and then prompts them to enter their names and email addresses. In addition to building their own websites, users also have the ability to monitor their website traffic, earn revenue through website advertisements, engage in e-commerce, and more. Users that don’t purchase a domain name separately from their free website host must choose a username which is then attached to the site’s default suffix; i.e. for Blogger, the full URL is: username.blogspot.com.
Professional website designers with knowledge of programming and coding typically use website administration software such as Microsoft Office FrontPage in order to create a website. With the help of such website software, a user is unrestricted by today’s standard blog design and layout, which features a long, scrolling page and links on the sidebar. Despite this greater creative freedom, the trend in modern website design is to feature a layout that is as clean as possible, with a primary focus on navigation and functionality.