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Creating a website on your Mac–it’s all about the software

Thanks to website builders, it’s now easier than ever to create your own website. With just the click of a mouse, you can select a template, establish a basic structure, and drag and drop elements to build a strong web presence. Website builders are an especially attractive option when you don’t have much time nor prior programming knowledge.

If you plan to completely create and design a website on your Mac by yourself, there are many helpful online tools at your disposal. You don’t need expert knowledge of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, or other programming languages. Thanks to specialized programs, even amateurs can build websites and upload them to a server. But Mac website builders aren’t just for beginners; experienced programmers will also find this time-saving software useful for their web projects.

The best website builders for Mac: beginner-friendly software

Using web editors is a great way to gradually build up confidence with basic programming and develop a web presence with static content. With WYSIWYG editors, designers can build websites just as you create texts, tables, and images in word documents. A corresponding HTML code is simultaneously generated in the background. You can view this at any time in order to gather knowledge about the markup language. The following editors can offer a simple and intuitive introduction into web design:

  • 1&1 MyWebsite: is an easy and intuitive website builder that doesn´t require any prior knowledge or additional software to create and edit a website. In just a few clicks, it is possible to choose from a great variety of professional and customizable mobile-optimized templates. With access to an extensive image library, it allows the creation of beautiful websites adapted to both private and business users. It includes the option for a newsletter tool, SEO analysis, web apps and video tutorials, as well as to integrate a shop and a multi-language function. Customized communication features allow customers to display different content and pop-ups depending on visitors, time, season, etc. The backup and restore function allows customers to save their preferred version of the site and to restore it any time they want or need to – a great function for seasonal campaigns.
  • BlueGriffon: as the official successor of the successful freeware, Nvu, the free WYSIWYG HTML editor BlueGriffon can offer everything you need to develop a homepage without prior programming knowledge. The free version supports HTML5, basic CSS editing, and more. The extended version also supports a more extensive CSS editor. BlueGriffon uses the Firefox browser engine, Gecko, which allows you to see the page as it’ll appear in the browser later. You can easily add new elements and CSS options via the dropdown menu on the user interface. Once you’ve completed your layout, you’ll need to use an additional program like Cyberduck to upload your web project. The current version of BlueGriffon is available to download from their official website.
  • iWeb: up until 2011, the editor iWeb was a part of the iLife software package, but development has since been halted. However, if you own an older Mac device, you can still use the pre-installed program free of charge. iWeb is more of a website builder in its design, providing users with the advantage of ready-made templates, but limiting creative freedom. Projects can be saved in HTML format and loaded onto your server via an FTP client.
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Web design software: tools for advanced programmers

If you’re already confident in basic programming, and looking for support with designing more complex web projects, then web design software is a good investment for you. In principle, these programs can be considered offline website builders, as they can be used even without an internet connection, as long as they’re installed on your system. You can use the user interface directly from your Mac, without having to rely on your browser. You’re not tied to your current hosting provider’s server either, giving you the freedom to decide which server your web project should be uploaded to.

We’ve found three software solutions that make creating a website on your Mac seem like child’s play.

RapidWeaver

Realmac Software Ltd. first published RapidWeaver, the proprietary software for Macs, back in 2004, making it one of the earliest programs to allow users without significant programming knowledge to create webpages. The software is very usable for beginners, but its wide range of functions also makes it a good tool for advanced users. Ever since its launch, RapidWeaver has gone from strength to strength, which is why it’s still one of the most sought-after web design programs today. Thanks to the user-friendly interface, it’s also easy to carry out search engine optimization and design mobile sites. There are 50 templates to work from and no limits to the amount of pages that you can make.

RapidWeaver contains further useful functions including JavaScript and CSS file optimization, automatic back-ups, and a ‘health check’ function, which offers recommendations for improvement of page structure. The program also allows users to switch between viewing the code and the preview, enabling you to see how your work appears on a browser. Alternatively, you can conduct a local test in your web browser to view your RapidWeaver project from the perspective of a site visitor.

You can use the FTP function to upload your project onto your web server. There are also hundreds of extensions (mostly fee-based) to further bulk up your range of functions. Go to the Realmac Software site to obtain a standard license, which allows you to use two Mac computers.

Adobe Dreamweaver

To use Adobe Dreamweaver, either as part of the Creative Cloud package or by itself, you need to sign up for a subscription and pay a monthly fee. You also need an active internet connection in order to complete the installation and the monthly verification. But this is a small price to pay when you take into consideration the wide range of functions Dreamweaver boasts. The software features helpful assistance such as color-coding and auto-completion for lines of HTML code. The program allows you to easily design webpages for various devices and thanks to the device preview, check the interactivity in real time.

Dreamweaver is linked to the fee-based Adobe Stock via CreativeSync. You can thus open or implement photos, videos, illustrations and vector graphics directly in a preview. Using this technology, you can embed design files and optimized images quickly and easily from Photoshop directly into your web project. The Adobe web design software also assists users by checking the coding in real time and marking any errors in red while displaying an error message in a text box. If you’ve already got Adobe Dreamweaver (i.e. as part of the Creative Cloud packager), the web design would be an excellent choice for future web projects. If you’re not already an Adobe customer, you can test the software for 14 days.

WordPress

For many, the open source software WordPress is primarily considered a free blogging software, or content management system. But in addition to its countless design templates and plugins, WordPress offers all the tools you need to build complex websites. In fact, many of the WordPress tools that benefit bloggers are also helpful for web design. These include:

  • Easy operation
  • Search engine optimization
  • First-rate support from other users
  • The ability to adapt WordPress to suit your own requirements with plugins

You’ll need to access a local server in order to use WordPress to create websites on a Mac. As MySQL and PHP are basic requirements for this process, it’s advisable to download the software package XAMPP, which simulates the functions of a web server on your Mac, thus providing the perfect basis for WordPress. Download the latest version of WordPress from the official WordPress website. It only takes a few minutes!

If this is all sounding a bit complicated, you can make use of the faster and more convenient solution: managed WordPress hosting. Here, the technical and server-side management is taken care of by the provider, meaning you can fully concentrate on the content of your web project.

Designing your own website: there’s no one-size-fits-all solution

The editors and programs featured here make up just a small selection of the resources available for creating websites on Mac computers. If you explore the topic of web design further, you’ll find thousands more tools and programs with which you can create outstanding websites. It’s a good idea to test different programs before making your final decision; this way you can find out which software works best for you. Your ideas for your web project can only come to life if you take the time to learn your chosen program’s various functions. But you needn’t feel like you have to splash out on unnecessary gadgets and gizmos; if you prefer to create sites the old-fashioned way, there’s also a great number of text editing programs that allow you to create code line by line, including TextWrangler, BBEdit, and Sublime Text.

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