For example, here’s a snippet of the custom PHP code this website uses to display the four “related articles” section at the end of this article:
$output .= '<div class="entry ' . $post_status . '">'; if( !empty( $whitepaper_part ) ) $output .= '<div class="whitepaper-part">Part ' . $whitepaper_part . '</div>'; $output .= '<header class="entry-header"><h2 class="entry-title" itemprop="headline">'; if( $post_status == 'publish' ) $output .= '<a class="entry-title-link" rel="bookmark" href="'. get_the_permalink( $id ) . '">' . get_post( $id )->post_title . '</a>'; else $output .= get_post( $id )->post_title; $output .= '</h2></header>'; $output .= '<div class="entry-content" itemprop="text">'; if( $post_status == 'publish' ) $output .= '<a class="entry-image-link" href="'. get_the_permalink( $id ) . '" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1">'; $output .= '<img src="' . $fivetwelve_designlab_feature_url . '" />'; if( $post_status == 'publish' ) $output .= '</a>'; $output .= '<p>'; if( $post_status == 'publish' ) $output .= '<a class="more-link" href="'. get_the_permalink( $id ) . '">Read More</a>'; elseif( $post_status == 'future' ) $output .= '<span class="coming-soon"><small>Available</small><br />' . get_the_date( 'F j, Y', $id ) . '</span>'; else $output .= '<span class="coming-soon">Coming soon!</span>'; $output .= '</p></div></div>';
Could you do that? Do you even WANT to do that? When punching in code was the only way to build a website, a web developer was a given. Times have changed, though.
You can build and maintain a website without coding. Broadly, you have two options: a website builder (like Wix) or a Content Management System (like WordPress).
First, Wix and the other website builders. If you’ve been considering whether you should build a website for your small business, you’ve no doubt been searching Google for answers. That was all the tip-off the internet needed: You’ve undoubtedly seen ads for systems like Wix, Squarespace and Weebly to simply build your website. These website builders use a drag-and-drop editor and have hundreds of templates to choose from.
You should probably steer clear of website builders.
First off, these companies are advertising experts capable of luring you in with the prospect of being able to easily create something as beautiful as the “top 1%” of samples they are showcasing. Spoiler alert: the odds are not in your favor. Second, not only is your website one of thousands hosted on a shared server (which could negatively impact your site performance), you are also one of thousands vying for the support of just a few. Don’t expect personalized help at the drop of a hat (and trust me, you WILL need help). Finally, you’re going to be putting your content into a proprietary system that will be extremely difficult to migrate elsewhere if (and when) the time comes to move to a more powerful, highly customizable solution.
So if you’re going to build a more complex website that performs well and accounts for future growth, you want to use a Content Management System, or CMS. A CMS is more scalable and demands some technical know-how. If you use a CMS you should plan on doing some research to learn how to develop the site on your own, or you should hire a web developer.
WordPress is by far the most popular CMS.
With a 60% market share, and powering over 33% of websites online (as of February 2020), WordPress is by far the most popular CMS. WordPress is open-source, which means it’s free for anyone to use and modify through themes and plugins and such. The fact that many well-known brands have chosen to use WordPress speaks highly of it’s capability and flexibility.
This article assumes you’ve decided to use WordPress. The question is, “Do you need a web developer?” and “are there any best practices for how to use a web developer?”