Three ways to create a website

1. Coding

Coding, the ‘traditional’ way to create a website, involves writing a set of instructions that a web browser can interpret and convert into a webpage. The most common langauges used to do this are HTML, which provides the content of the page, CSS, which styles the page and makes it look good, and JavaScript, which gives a website its functionality. If we were to use the analogy of building a house, HTML would be the bricks, mortar and building materials, CSS would be the plans, and JavaScript would be the water supply, taps, electricity, plugs, light switches and lights.

The advantage of coding is ownership. Everything written in code can be saved and moved from one web host to another if needed.

The disadvantage is time. It may take longer to code a website than using other options such as a web builder or WordPress (though sometimes, in certain circumstances, writing coded instructions can actually be quicker), and if you have no knowledge of the languages involved, you will have to learn them from the start, which takes time.

2. Web builders

Web builders enable people with no coding knowledge to create a website, usually with a ‘drag and drop’ feature. This is fine for people with an eye for design, but for those who do not, it can still prove difficult to produce a professional-looking website. A way around this is to use a template. However, it can still take a bit of knowledge and experience to tailor a template to a specific business, and using templates can result in a generic, ‘identikit’ site that is never truly unique.

The undoubted advantage of web builders is simplicity. You don’t need any prior coding knowledge to set up a simple static page (though even using a web builder, a dynamic, interactive page using data will still require knowledge of a language such as JavaScript, and some experience with databases).

The disadvantage is a complete lack of ownership. It will not be possible to transfer the website elsewhere without completely rebuilding it. This is fine if it is a simple page, but more troublesome if it is more complex with multiple pages and features. Should you find a better hosting deal elsewhere, you cannot move the site. In the unlikely event that the hosting company went out of business, you would lose the site for good! Moreover, if you are looking for more advanced features in your website, it might still require expertise in coding or database management.

3. WordPress

WordPress can be seen as something of a crossover between coding a website and a web builder. With a WordPress site, web developers can dig into the code and customise it, or use a template that can be manipulated to create a tailored look and functionality. For people with no coding knowledge, text and images can be updated through its content management system (CMS) without having to learn any code. This makes WordPress a great option for a web designer/developer to create a website for a client who wishes to update their site regularly. The option is present to fully customise and create a completely bespoke, individual design, much like a ‘traditional’ coded website, while the customer is able to make any future alterations to the content without asking the creator of the site to do it for them!

Which option to choose?

It’s a matter of compromise and deciding on which is most suitable depending on the situation. If you would like a website that won’t change over time, or that you are happy for a web designer to alter for you, while you retain ownership, then hiring someone to code it for you is probably the way to go.

If you would like a simple ‘Hi, I’m here, this is my business and this is how to contact me’ website, then a web builder might be the correct path to take. You could have a go yourself, though a web designer will probably create a unique site quicker, with better results, while you can concentrate on doing what you do best.

If you are looking for a bespoke website with more complex features, and you requre the content to be altered on a regular basis by someone with no coding knowledge, then WordPress is probably the way to go. It is the perfect middle ground where you can have a professional, unique website up and running, and you can update the content as often as you like.

Are you thinking about creating a website for your business, or updating your current one, and you are not sure how to take it forward? Have a chat with Spire Designs and we will be happy to advise.

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