This is a question I see over and over again on Social Media. It is often followed by, "can I build my own website?" Yes, of course you can. If you have the time and money and the dedication you can learn to do pretty much anything you want to do.
As a web developer with more than 10 years experience, I had a few hours formal training and then it was hundreds of hours learning, making mistakes, searching Google for solutions, attending training courses, learning to code, understanding SEO and constantly keeping up with the rapidly changing technology.
For clients wanting a personal website, blog or business website the options can be overwhelming.
There are 3 options to consider:
Do it yourself websites
Wix, Weebly, Squarespace and Blogger are examples of these sitebuilder sites that are simple to set up and use. You can sign up for a free account and get going very quickly at no cost. However, you do need to be aware of the following:
- You do not own your data. If you decide you want to move your website to another service provider it is extremely difficult to transfer the data. You are renting space on the server. It is always best to own your data.
- There is no such thing as a free website. Read the Myth of the Free Website. Although you can create a good looking website at no cost, as soon as you want to add new features or functionality, you have to pay and it can become expensive.
Custom Built Websites
Website developers handcode your website for you. Large companies frequently develop their websites this way. They have an entire web development team who are constantly working on the site. It is therefore not a disaster if one team member leaves the company.
The danger comes when a web developer working alone codes a website and your relationship breaks down or s/he goes out of business. It is very difficult to find someone capable of taking over the site without having to do a complete re-build.
Using a CMS (Content Managed System)
WordPress and Joomla are probably the best known CMS platforms but there are many others. There are thousands of developers who know and understand these platforms and should you need to find a new provider it is not too difficult.
There is much debate as to which platform is the better option and both have pros and cons.
WordPress was originally created as a Blogging Platform and Joomla handled more complex sites.
My preference is Joomla for the following reasons:
They are both Open Source Content Management Systems (CMS) and are used by millions of web developers all over the world. Because the code is open source web developers have great flexibility in modifying code to suit client requirements.
For the 4th year in a row Joomla has been voted the best CMS System.
Joomla has thousands of themes/templates and add-ons you can choose from - free or paid. The core Joomla code has become extremely powerful which means you require fewer plugins for common functions and a great deal of attention has been paid to website security. I have never had a Joomla site hacked.
Joomla has also become much more “end-user” friendly and with a little training you will be able to upload your own articles and images and save costs. When I create a website for a client, I provide training and ongoing support.
WordPress has grown to offer greater functionality other than just blogging and has thousands of plugins and themes which are created by individual developers. Some excellent, some not. WordPress has been cleverly marketed as being very easy to use for clients who are not web developers. As with Wix etc you can quickly create a website using WordPress but you need to learn the skills to ensure that you maintain the look and feel you want. More importantly, you need to learn about how to apply SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to your website to ensure you get found on Google.
I like to build long term relationships with my clients. I provide a complete domain registration, website hosting, emails, website design, management and support service.
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