Do I need to know how to code to create a website?

If this question would have raised eyebrows just five years ago, today free offers are multiplying and there is no lack of tools to create a website without any programming knowledge. For what results? This is what we will see.

From HTML to PHP via CSS and Javascript

In the beginning, the Net was static and coded in HTML, a language made of tags to describe content, apply a layout or create hyperlinks. Each update involved rewriting the source code of the page, which increased the possibility of errors and drastically limited the possibilities of collaboration. Over the years, the language has been enriched to reach its fifth version today and it has been completed by other languages that have allowed the creation of dynamic sites, all structured around a database. No need to modify the source code to add an article. These are written on a backend interface and then displayed on the frontend pages by a dynamic content management system: the CMS, for Content Management System.

Free website creation offers

At the same time, a new form of tools is emerging: blogs. Now, everyone is free to publish their content without necessarily having to learn HTML. Some people are quick to see this as a great opportunity: from now on, it is possible to create a website for everyone without the need for a webmaster. Best of all, most of these services are free. It is therefore possible to create a site for 0€ and without knowing anything about it! Great, isn’t it? Well no, not really, it really depends on what your needs are.

What is the real efficiency?

The best known of these services is wix. com but there are others like Weebly, Godaddy or Site Builder. With superb templates, a rendering adapted to different media such as tablets and smartphones (we say responsive design when we are connected), we can not deny the performance of an offer that is based on the freemium model. You don’t pay anything to start but if you want to access a better service, you need to buy a subscription. If possible for life. You will have understood: do not expect to recover your site if for any reason you decide to give up your subscription.

Limited referencing and customization options

The biggest problem with these services is that they accept to advertise them for free: The very URL of your site becomes an advertising medium for its host. Unless you pay, of course, and then you can have an individual address. The other black spot is in terms of web positioning. It is very simple; it will be impossible to optimize your Google positioning. No webmaster will be able to dive into the site’s infrastructure. And it is also impossible to add an option that has not been provided by the host. Therefore, we have to face the facts: these offers are mainly aimed at those who consider their site as a business card and for whom visibility is not an important criterion.

The rise of a CMS like no other: WordPress.

28% of the world’s websites are generated by WordPress. Nowadays, unless you have very specific needs, there is no reason not to rely on the king of CMS. Powered by a large community, WordPress is updated as soon as a security vulnerability is detected. It’s SEO optimized and has a library of plugins to do just about anything you want. Finally, WordPress is completely free. Only its plugins can be paid for and are often offered on the freemium or donationware model. Unlike free website offerings, WordPress requires time and a learning curve is inevitable to take full advantage of it.

Do I need to know how to code to use WordPress?

Knowledge of HTML and CSS is a great asset for working on the Web, regardless of the platform used. But nowadays, all efforts are made, especially on WordPress, to make the interfaces ‘Plug and Play’. In most cases, the bulk of the work consists of installing a template and plugins, setting them up and inserting content via editors with all the necessary buttons to apply the layout. With the help of forums, technical support and a few tutorials, one can imagine that a user who knows absolutely nothing about coding can create a successful website with WordPress. However, make no mistake: this is neither simple nor quick and you have to be ready to spend long hours and sometimes tear your hair out when you encounter a bug or when you can’t apply a setting. But it’s well worth the effort, as the possibilities are endless thanks to the plugins that range from simple image display to complete management of a calendar or an e-commerce site.

It is not necessarily necessary to know how to code to create a site. Thanks to the development of its tools, the Web offers a multitude of options to generate blogs or even complete sites without having to enter a single line of code. But learning the basics of HTML and CSS is still essential to understand what you are doing and simply to keep control. Just as one would not go to live in a foreign country without at least a guidebook and a dictionary, learning the basics of HTML is an essential prerequisite to communicate on the World Wide Web.

Other articles that might interest you...