Today I’m talking about levels of coding and what they mean for your website. But first I must digress just a bit and ask if you maybe watched the movie “Elf” over the holiday season? If you didn’t, I’m sorry you missed out on such delightful holiday enjoyment. In any case, Buddy the Elf tells how he journeyed to New York City in the movie:
I passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane Forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and then I walked through the Lincoln Tunnel.
I’m going to take you through a few levels of the Candy Code Forest and past the sea of swirly twirly computer languages to what they mean when you want to make a website.
First, let’s start out with some overview equations. They go like this:
More coding + higher fees = more expensive website with most control
Less coding + lower fees = medium expense website with fair control
No coding + lowest fees = least expensive website with least control
So what exactly do these equations mean? To the details and examples we go!
Let’s say that you are a personality who really likes control and you want to dictate every detail of your website. Well, my dear, you will need to stash away some serious cash for your site because you are going to need a custom coder. A custom coder can build you a custom site to your exact specifications. But custom coders are very specialized professionals and, as such, command pretty high wages. You can think of them as the doctors of the coding world: they’ve had to study a lot to learn what they know. Also, because they will be building so much for you from scratch, you will need to pay them for a whole lot of hours. Most businesses that have custom coded sites are larger operations who can afford to hire custom coders as employees or contractors. Or maybe someone in a smaller business has a custom coder relative who owes them a favor. And FYI, at Flannel Creative, we don’t make these kinds of sites. While Jeff is a custom coder, I’m not. We also don’t want to have to invest ourselves in such extensive projects as a business because we’d like the opportunity to help out a greater number of clients.
Now, let’s take a step back from there. Maybe you want a fair amount of control over details but need to operate within a smaller budget. Hiring someone to build a site for you with a page builder might be the right fit then. Page builders, like Divi by Elegant Themes, Page Builder by Site Origin, and Avada by Theme Fusion (to name a few that we’ve used here at Flannel Creative) allow a website creator to use a Content Management System like WordPress and build all sorts of elements for your site’s pages without having to code most things. You can also use these builders within other WordPress themes if you find one you really like but want more control over the content of your pages. Some coding may be involved for specialized elements with this type of site, and the person building the site will need to have a lot of knowledge about how websites work in general, how the CMS works, how the page builder works, how needed plugins work, etc. But because a vast amount of coding knowledge isn’t necessary, website creators in this category won’t lighten your pocketbook nearly as much as custom coders. You could call these the nurse practitioners and registered nurses of the coding world: they’re still very knowledgeable, proficient, and qualified, but without the same level of expertise and study as doctors. Many smaller businesses are able to afford these kinds of sites, and Flannel Creative loves to operate in this website level, just so ya know.
And taking a step further back from there, we arrive at the level of least coding and least expense. One option here would be to hire someone to make a very simple WordPress site for you without as much customization as the next level up. Another option would be to use a site builder service, like Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, etc. (For information on the pros and cons of site builders, see our blog post here.) You could hire this site building service work out to a business like Flannel Creative, or you could throw your own hat into the website creation ring. At this level, you are giving up a lot of control over details for the ease of use and the speed at which you can build. You will rely more heavily on templated material and provided elements. So no, you won’t be able to control every last spacing detail, layout option, or website ability in this level of the Candy Code Forest. But can you still end up with a very nice and very functional site? Absolutely. And you can do it for a lower cost, too, since it’s like hiring an LPN or CNA instead of doctors or highly qualified nurses or treating yourself for your ailments with Dr. Google.
All the levels of the Candy Code Forest can get you to a shiny website in the end, but remember this:
The best way to spread website cheer is by having the right website expectations, my dear.
Understanding what will be available to you from your website creator and from your website itself at these different levels of the Candy Code Forest will assist you in knowing what kind of site you need and help you and your website creator have a good experience in making that site.