Custom coding and other things to consider when building a website
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When you are building a new website or doing a website redesign, it may be tempting to use custom coding.
In fact, when we hire developers at The Digital Navigator it is frequent for developers to say:
- I can custom code a Theme
- I can do custom coding for a plugin
- I can custom code …
“When our prospects and clients meet with developers or agencies for their next website it is not uncommon for them to hear similar pitches to differentiate themselves from the competition.”
– Pol Cousineau, The Digital Navigator
Obviously having a developer that knows how to do advanced coding is better than working with a junior developer…
…but custom coding is NOT your friend, and should NOT be among your top website design considerations.
Why custom coding shouldn’t be among your top website design considerations
The reality is that most website functionality, styling and design can be achieved with standard WordPress themes and plugins without any custom coding.
Quite often custom coding seems to be among the things to consider when building a website–but that’s simply not the case.
Think of your WordPress Theme as the clothing a person wears. This gives general styling and capabilities to your website.
Plugins are add-on software that enable specific functionality such as a calendar of events, enabling payments and creating contact forms.
Although many website developers will be fast to recommend custom coding, it is the last thing we recommend to our clients. That’s because it typically results in higher project fees but it isn’t the right thing to do for the client.
Should I use custom coding, and other things to consider when building a website
- Custom coding is more expensive than purchasing a software license as the licensing fee is spread across all the clients of the software business.
- Custom coding usually falls outside the support agreements, so if you run into a website issue with an unrelated theme or plugin the developers will usually say they don’t fix it because you are using custom code in addition to their software.
- Custom coding has to be continually updated which can become very expensive, an average website receives several dozens of updates per month and the custom coding has to keep up to avoid conflict
- Custom coding often breaks your website and causes compatibility issues with other software. That is because most custom code does not follow best practices from the WordPress Codex, and that the coding language and references evolve yet most developers rarely revisit their custom code after sending it to a client.
- Custom code frequently introduces vulnerabilities in your website that can get it hacked.
When should I use custom coding when building a website?
There are some cases where custom coding is necessary but this is rare. When you work with us, we’ll recommend alternatives to custom coding whenever possible and will only proceed as a last result.
We’ll make sure you understand the risks and additional costs so you can consider…
…is this really necessary for my business?
If you are considering creating a new website or simply want to increase sales from your existing site, why not watch our free masterclass to boost your website sales or schedule a consultation with us?
That’s it for today!