The number of sites on the Internet is fast approaching 350 million. Make yours one of the better ones with this guide to resources that will help you learn web design.

The Basics:

Modern web design software is primarily WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get), but it never hurts to have at least a basic comprehension of what goes on under the hood. Understanding the syntax of basic programming languages will help you tweak and customize designs.

1. w3schools.com

W3Schools

W3 Schools is one of the world’s oldest and largest free web development sites. Suitable for beginners and experts alike, the site offers comprehensive tutorials covering HTML, CSS, XML and more. Each of the courses features a ‘Try it Yourself Editor’ so you can practice as you go. Certification is available at a reasonable charge should you want a record of what you have learned to show potential employers.

2. webmonkey.com

WebMonkey

Web Monkey is another tutorial based site that covers the major languages such as HTML, Ajax and JavaScript. You can get hold of some useful cheat sheets that will remind you of the basic commands or, if you are looking to save time and effort, grab some of the cut and paste code snippets and templates.

Product Specific Training:

If learning to code from scratch doesn’t appeal, you can use web design software to build your site. Most industry leaders offer comprehensive support for their products.

3. adobe.com/training/resources

Adobe Training

Adobe provides learning materials for its own suite of products. Whether you want to learn Dreamweaver, Flash or Fireworks, there is a choice of tutorials to suit most preferred learning styles. Access thousands of videos on Adobe TV and view on-demand seminars. Even if you aren’t using Adobe or their legacy Macromedia products, you can still explore the latest trends in the design center to inspire your own endeavors.

4. serif.com/support/producthelp/webplus/support_webplus/tutorials.html

Serif

The Serif web design product suite, essentially WebPlus X5 and WebPlus Essentials, is a viable alternative to the more expensive Adobe suite. Particularly suited to beginners, Serif provides a range of tutorials to help budding web designers make the most of the products. Even if you haven’t got the Serif products, it’s worth taking a look, since many of the learning resources are generic.

Premium Resources:

If you’re willing to spend a little money, there are a number of premium sites offering a full spectrum of courses in web design and much more. Membership can be paid monthly, although discounts are available if you are able to pay annually. Both of the cited examples offer demo videos, so you can try before you buy and see which of the videos are a better fit for your learning style.

5. lynda.com

Lynda

Lynda.com offers thousands of software and subject specific video training courses. Members interested in web design can access a choice of courses teaching everything from very basic information to more advanced detailed topics.

6. vtc.com

VTC

VTC is similar to Lynda.com in that it offers a range of video tutorials covering a range of topics. Many are in the field of web design and development. In particular, you should look out for the Web Design and Development Essentials course. Individual courses are also available on CD, although this is a more expensive option than accessing the course material online.

Honorable Mention:

7. smashingmagazine.com

SmashingMagazine

The honorable mention for all things concerned with web design simply must go to Smashing Magazine. It’s a visually pleasing and comprehensive resource site discussing everything from coding and design to graphics and usability. There are free fonts, icons, templates and a lot more besides.

So, there you have it. Seven top-notch resources that will get you up and running with web design before you can say HTML.