I am an old-school web developer who writes lines of code rather than dragging and dropping elements in an editor. But why should you care if your web dev can code when you need a website?
Top three reasons.
#1 – Be future-ready.
As your business grows and pivots, you may need a new feature which you have yet to consider. If your chosen platform doesn’t provide this feature, you may need a whole new website.
#2 – Have things how you want them.
There is always an element of compromise when using templates and drag-and-drop editors. With access to the code, anything and everything is possible.
#3 – Clean and tidy.
Drag-and-drop editors can be like using a sledgehammer for cracking nuts. Everything you want is there, plus 100s of additional features you don’t need—making the site slow, bloated and bad for your OCD.
Cost is always an issue of course, so services like Squarespace and Wix are great options if you are a small business and building a website for yourself. But if you are outsourcing your web design, is it worth the compromise and are you even saving money? I have rebuilt some websites which cost more than I would ever charge and were nothing more than a mess of free templates and free plugins.
So when you are next in the market for a website and considering a template or a Wix-like site, please get in touch to see if the alternative isn’t on budget and a better investment.
Just say no – to downloadable .pdf menus
I think it is really important to make digital menus engaging and easy to read.
In this video, I explain why and show an example of how I think menus should look on websites.
#3. Open Source, mmm sauce!
What’s that? Open Source means all the code is freely available to be developed in any way by anyone. Unlike Closed Source (Wix, SquareSpace, Shopify), a company owns this software and controls how you can use it.
So how does that affect you? Well, if you didn’t think your business needed to be flexible before Covid, now you know it does.
So what happens when your website needs a new feature? A Closed Source provider can name their price, and what started as a cheap website can quickly get quite spenny (you pay extra, every month). But what’s much worse, if that feature doesn’t exist in their ecosystem, you may need to rebuild your whole site on a new platform (this happens all the time).
#2. 60% of all Content Management Systems on the internet are WordPress.
People in hospitality are fans of the unique, the bespoke and the unusual. Your favourite bar isn’t Wetherspoons. But with tech, you want a system where any problem you might face has already been solved. So those pricey extra features we spoke about before, WordPress usually has a free solution, or it’s a one-off payment.
#1. Your website needs to be future-proof, not the future of design.
We have all seen those fancy websites that are so flash they make no sense. You don’t need to be at the forefront of innovative web design; you’re a food business, so focus on doing great food. If someone is trying to sell you the website of the future, don’t believe the hype. A future-proof website is (in my opinion) just a website built on solid Open Source foundations, which can be understood and worked on by most web developers whenever you need to make a change. That’s WordPress.
If you want to know more about future-proofing your website, get in touch.
It turned out I wasn’t worth the zero money they were paying me.
This happened 18 months after I graduated. I was still working as a waiter figuring out what I could do with my skills. (This bit makes me sound old) I thought the new and exciting world of social media would be perfect for me. I could flex my ‘jack of all trades’ creative skills by making content. So, I got an internship with a big agency.
I started out making content calendars writing copy, which I wasn’t confident in being dyslexic, but everything I did was scrutinised before being posted, so I got on with what they gave me. After a few weeks, they pulled me into an office and told me, “you make too many mistakes… this isn’t for you… we’re ending your internship”.
I talked to them about being dyslexic and how I could work better if we changed some processes and focused more on utilising my creative skills. Their response was, “you can’t do this work”.
I was beyond gutted and utterly exhausted from holding down evening and weekend work to compensate for this full-time unpaid role. I felt utterly useless and just sat a cried in front of them. It was brutal and extremely awkward.
After the dust settled, I began thinking about the extra help I enjoyed at university, where tutors are obliged to make concessions for dyslexic students. I realised this wouldn’t happen anymore. I would be held to the same standards as my peers.
I didn’t accept that I couldn’t work in social media (stubborn to a flaw 🙋). But I changed my attitude from feeling like it was inevitable that I made mistakes; to working incredibly hard at mitigating errors. I did this by surrounding myself with grammar geeks. I learned to spot the mistakes that spell check missed. Like my favourite grammar meme says, “It’s the difference between knowing your shit and knowing you’re shit”.
I got better, really fast, and it dawned on me; the extra help I got at university actually held me back. I had for too long just accepted that I was bad at writing, but I realised that it isn’t just dyslexic people who find writing hard. Spelling is easy to check, but grammar is complicated, and capital letters are a minefield. Everybody who wants to write clearly and correctly needs to work hard at it every time they write.
Now I am by no means the person you should come to for a final proofread, and I make sure everyone knows this. But I am incredibly proud of my writing now, both technically and creatively. People come to me for help making their copy more exciting and engaging. I am not a copywriter as my main gig, but I work with many small teams, and I can wear that hat.
I also learned from all this that just because you aren’t naturally good at something, it doesn’t mean it isn’t for you. So let me know in the comments if you have developed skills in your career which didn’t come easily and took you much time to master.