Technology

Hand Coding vs. Website Builders: Which is Better for Growing Your Business? 

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In today’s digital age, having an online presence plays an important role in growing a business. A good website gives business owners a means to introduce their brand to an audience, make their products or services known to the market, and even provide a means for customers to reach out or provide feedback. Nowadays, not all businesses may have a physical establishment anymore, but making your online presence felt through a website may not only reach more customers but also contribute to the growth and success of your business.

There are two main options for you to build a website, you can use a website builder or hand-code a website. Hand coding involves learning how to code basics using JavaScript, CSS, or HTML and creating a website using these programming languages, while website builders have preset templates you can customize to your liking. Both options have their pros and cons depending on your needs and preferences and here are a few factors you may want to consider in choosing one over the other to help you grow your business.

What is hand-coding?

To hand-code a website entails having in-depth knowledge and understanding of programming languages to put together a website from the ground up. Basic website construction entails using HTML to create the structure of the website, using CSS to format the layout of the page, and adding functionality with JavaScript and PHP. If you have a background in IT or development you may opt to code your own site or hire an external developer to create one instead.

How does a website builder work?

Often referred to as WYSIWYG or what you see is what you get, website builders allow users to see the finished product while altering or editing the website builder. Using a website builder to create a site usually involves creating an account on a website building platform, selecting a subscription, editing a theme for the site, choosing a domain name, and finally creating and adding content. These sites have beginners in mind and have drag and drop functions for customizing elements on the site. 

Ease of use

Website builders have preset templates that allow users to customize a website and make it their own. Customizing these templates usually involves navigating and clicking on elements on the interface that would have drop-down options for font size, font style, font color, and background color, among others, and these elements could also be customized with programming languages like HTML or JavaScript. As mentioned, most website builders also have drag and drop features that are not only user-friendly but also lowers the risk of committing errors from writing your own code. Hand coding your own site, on the other hand, may be more efficient for experienced developers than using or customizing a code from another party.

 Customization

While website builders offer customizable templates, some options for customization may be limited and will need users to have some knowledge of coding to better use certain functionalities, while other customization options may come with a more premium cost. Hand coding your own website on the other hand will not have limits to customization and ensures that your site translates well and is more responsive across different devices as well. Coding your own website can also ensure your site’s uniqueness can be tailored even better to fit your brand or your business needs.

Security

Most website builder software systems share the same code, and some of these have common codes across other platforms making these more vulnerable to hackers. If you have coding or development knowledge, hand-coding your own website will ensure that your site is more secure and less susceptible to hacks versus creating one using a website builder. 

Time spent

Hand coding a website can take as long as a few weeks from planning, writing, and executing the code while using a website builder will get you a website within a day. Depending on the urgency of your need for a website, you may want to plan ahead if you intend to have a hand-coded website.

Cost

If you have coding and development experience, you may not have to spend as much compared to hiring an external developer to create your site which can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Some expenses that may incur if you’re coding your own website will be for site maintenance, reserving a domain name, selecting a website hosting service, apps and widgets, e-commerce functionality, and some certificates which on average could total at a few hundred dollars. Using a website builder, on the other hand, can be done for free but will come with ads and other restrictions, or as little as $6 per month. 

Other things to consider

Whether you’re creating a website through a website builder or coding it from scratch, a website would be nothing without quality content. A website shouldn’t only visually appeal to users or customers but should be able to introduce your product or service within seconds of viewing your site. Maintaining a site entails not only having regularly updated content but also making sure that your site has regular traffic or visits. Monitoring site visits is a feature website builders offer, but hand-coding your site may provide more in-depth data analysis which in turn can help you improve on your site’s features.

More technologies have also become available to integrate artificial intelligence software into websites such as chatbots that can understand and answer queries with the help of natural language processing, but this is only possible for hand-coded sites.

Choosing whether to code your own site or create one using a website builder will depend on your business need and preference. A business with e-commerce features or potential for larger-scale operations may need a professionally developed platform to ensure more stability and security for the site, while a startup personal website or blog site can be built with a website builder for easier customization and at a reasonable price.

Author – Chatty is a freelance writer from Manila. She finds joy in inspiring and educating others through writing. That’s why aside from her job as a language evaluator for local and international students, she spends her leisure time writing about various topics such as lifestyle, technology, and business.

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