First, The History
To understand the significance of website creation tools, it’s important to have a little history lesson. The lifespan of the modern Internet is still pretty young. Back in the early 90s, the Internet was a place of browsing directories of files on specialized operating systems. This slowly expanded with the use of hypertext and HTML (HyperText Markup Language) and HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol), along with the first browser. Everything had to be coded by hand, and the Internet by large was a place for specialists and data-lookup. In short, it was a lot of work, it was for developers only, and there were no shortcuts, or easy ways to do things.
The Rise of WordPress
Over the next decade, the Internet changed from an oddity to a commodity. Any and every major business had to have a web presence. New tools appeared for web developers, from MySQL’s database management system to PHP’s server-side scripting. WordPress, a free open-source “content management system” was released in 2003, using the above tools and paved the way for faster and easier website development; allowing those without knowledge of coding languages to build websites. With the advent of WordPress, the Internet suddenly became vastly accessible to the masses to build and manage fantastic web sites with ease.
The Next Generation of Website Creation Tools
It’s been over another decade since the original WordPress has been released, and the average person doesn’t only have access to the Internet, they use it constantly. Websites have been a necessity for any business, and almost everyone has some sort of presence on the Internet, from social media websites like Facebook to full websites of their own. New content management systems have been created to fuel people making their own websites using programs that work right out of the box. These include systems such as Blogger, Squarespace, Wix, and Shopify, all proprietary platforms as opposed to the open platforms of WordPress (along with others such as Joomla, Magento, Drupal).
Web Developers and WordPress
To the right, you’ll see a chart from W3Techs, a Web Technology Survey company that analyzes technology installed on websites. Right now, roughly half the websites on the Internet use one type of content management system. What is telling is types being used: WordPress is used on 29.1% of all websites, and among ones that use content management systems, it’s used on almost 60%. Let’s break it down on why it’s used so often:
- Free: The cost for entry here isn’t money, but time. WordPress requires some experience to set up and properly utilize (including setting up the database), but anyone can use it.
- Open-Sourced: Anyone can make themes or apps (such as plugins and widgets) for WordPress, releasing them for free or at a competitive price. This allows you to find and plug in anything you want to your websites, from striking visual themes to technical store plugins.
- Active Community: With many people using and coding WordPress, it has an active community to help troubleshoot issues and provide lessons to new users.
Websites: Open-Sourced vs. Everything-In-a-Box
Again, referencing the chart, the first 4 content management systems (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and Magento) are all open sourced platforms. And platform is a good explanation: it’s a foundation to build your own website, but you must know how to build. For web developers, building on these platforms gives them more flexibility to the design and functionality, which can directly impact performance, page ranking, and many other factors that can make your website perform better.
You’ve probably heard of easy content management systems such as Squarespace or Wix, which provide simple installations, built-in hosting, integrated tutorials, and other user-friendly options. These website platforms are designed to give you everything you need to build a functional website. However, it’s been our experience that the more user-friendly a website setup is, the more limitations they have. Meaning at the end, you’ll have a website, but limited in how it looks, what it does, and how it performs on things like organic search or integrating with analytics and apps services.
There’s a Lot to It, We Can Help
If you’re interested in exploring your options when it comes to website design and development, don’t hesitate to contact Vision Advertising. We’re a full website design and development company, and experts in integrating a new website with all other aspects of your online presence, from social media to online reputation.