Cheap website software
The usual scenario
Plenty of Applegreen's clients have had the following experience: a techie mate of theirs is prepared to throw up a quick website for them for free. The client likes the result to start with but later wants to make a few alterations, or some information goes out of date (they move house, their phone number changes...). By then their techie mate has disappeared over the horizon.
Applegreen is approached, and has to unpick the mess of code left behind by the techie mate's software.
What looks good on the outside...
A website is made only of code. You may have the latest website-creating software, but all it does is drive the creation of code from your instructions. Even the commonest programmes can convert their contents into web-ready code, including Microsoft Word and Publisher, and many more proprietary ones will produce a nice appearance.
The results may work visually but the problems start when you want to make changes. The code is a tangled mess and it can only be edited using the programme in which it was created.
If the client does not possess the same software as the original techie friend, there is only one way to proceed and that is ask a web designer to tackle the code directly. Trust Applegreen, there have been times when the code has had to be entirely rebuilt at great expense.
Additionally, few software packages take care with placing keywords the make that your website visible to search engines, and even fewer techie mates seem to be aware of this.
Want to see some code?
Click on the image to enlarge
Right-click anywhere on the page you are looking at right now (except on an image). In the list of options, choose "View source" or "View page source". The result should look something like the image above!
Why web is not like print
You're throwing away one of the greatest advantages of the web if you create a website that can't be updated. Not only that, visitors to your site will quickly navigate away if it's obvious that your information is out of date.
So ask yourself these questions at the planning stage: who will update your website and how will they do it?
The WordPress situation
The following scenario has lately become especially common with WordPress: a complicated theme is installed by someone who doesn't understand it properly, and the finished product doesn't look anything like the theme's demo. Applegreen is approached to sort it out.
Sadly, even people who call themselves professional designers have been guilty of this in our experience. We do our best with these projects but we cannot guarantee the results if a theme we haven't designed doesn't work properly.
Save yourself the heartache by involving Applegreen at the start of your project!