What is the Difference between Hand-coded Website and WordPress

houseSoh Apr 22, 2024

Hand-coded websites are like custom-made clothes, tailored just for you. They're built from scratch by skilled web developers who write all the code themselves. On the other hand, WordPress sites are like ready-made outfits that you can customize to fit your style. They use templates and plugins to create websites quickly and easily.

Why are hand-coded websites faster than website builder?

In the world of web development, there are two main types of websites: Hand-coded and website builder sites.

Hand-coded websites are like the bare bones of web development. They're built using fundamental languages like HTML, CSS and JavaScript. These languages create everything you see on a website, without any fancy page building features or data manipulation. When you load a hand-coded site, your browser quickly reads and compiles the code, instantly displaying the content. Each user sees the exact same content and one of the best ways to create a hand-coded site is by manually coding it or using a static site generator with templating language, which is my specialty.

On the other hand, website builder sites, like those made with WordPress or other page builders, use additional server-side languages and technologies. These sites pull HTML, CSS and assets from a database and build the website as it loads on the server. Instead of the browser compiling the code, it's the server that does the work and sends the completed website to the browser. This means that each user may see slightly different content, as it's dynamically generated based on what's stored in the database.

While website builder sites, including WordPress, Wix, Squarespace and others, make it easy and cheap to create your own website, they come with significant drawbacks compared to hand-coded websites. These drawbacks include slower load times and vulnerability to attacks from malware and hackers, which can interrupt the process of fetching content from the database. Hand-coded sites, on the other hand, don't rely on databases, making them more secure and efficient. We'll explore these differences in more detail later on.

One of the most crucial factors for your website's Google ranking is its speed and performance, especially on mobile devices. Website builder websites like those built with WordPress or Wix face a challenge: the server needs time to check the database and piece everything together. And the more plugins and extras you add, the slower your site becomes. Studies show that most users will leave a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. So, if your site is slow, why bother having it if most users won't even see it? That's a major downside of WordPress and Wix sites – they can be too slow and cost you potential customers.

One of the biggest differences between hand-coded websites and WordPress sites is speed. Hand-coded websites load much faster than WordPress sites, sometimes up to 10 times faster because they're prebuilt. There are no surgeries needed to piece the website together on the browser's operating table. Everything is ready to go, with no plugins, databases or unnecessary bloat. Every line of code in my sites serves a purpose and is organized for easy reading and understanding by Google. Website builder like WordPress often have messy, bloated code that slows down load times. Why does this matter? Well, if your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, most people will leave before even seeing what you have to offer. That means lost customers and missed opportunities.

The ideal load time for a website is 2 seconds. My hand-made websites often load in under 0.5 seconds, much faster than average. They load almost instantly because the code is organized and easy to read, improving load times and Google ranking. So, if your website isn't bringing in business, check its load time with Google's tool. If it's over 3 seconds, chances are people are leaving before they even see it.

Another thing to consider is mobile optimization. Google recently updated its search algorithm to prioritize mobile site performance, known as Mobile-First Indexing. Google pays attention to how your website performs on mobile devices, and hand-coded websites are usually more optimized for mobile than WordPress sites. This means they load faster and provide a better experience for your visitors, which can improve your search rankings. Faster mobile sites rank better, which is where hand-coded sites shine.

When It Comes To Site Speed, Mobile-First Design Wins

Mobile-first programming is a game-changer that page builders can't handle. It's a smart way of coding where we start with mobile screens first and then add code for tablets and desktops as we move down the file. Here's why it matters: when the browser reads the CSS file (which tells it how the page should look), it reads it from top to bottom. If we start with desktop code at the top, the browser loads that first and then checks for rules for different screen sizes, adjusting the desktop content to fit into mobile. This wastes time and resources.

But with the mobile-first approach, we put mobile code at the top. So when you're on your phone and the site loads, it loads the mobile styling code first and quickly shows it on your screen. No fuss, no extra steps.

From experience, I can tell you that it's much easier to make content grow into its space than to shrink it down and cram it into smaller spaces. Mobile-first programming, combined with hand-coded site development, makes your site lightning fast. It might even surprise a few people with its speed.

Why are hand-coded sites more secure than website builder?

Website builders rely on databases and server-side platforms that can be vulnerable to attacks when accessing the database or content management systems. Hackers can inject themselves into the process as the server builds the site, compromising your website's security.

However, hand-coded sites don't have these vulnerabilities. With no database or session tokens, there's nothing for hackers to target or intercept as the site is prepared for the browser.

WordPress sites, in particular, face challenges due to the multitude of plugins required. If these plugins aren't regularly updated to patch security flaws, the site becomes vulnerable to attacks. Additionally, outdated plugins can cause compatibility issues, potentially taking down the entire site. Keeping up with these updates can be time-consuming and daunting.

On the other hand, hand-coded sites require no manual security patches once they're up and running. They offer a level of security and stability that WordPress sites may struggle to match.

Since WordPress is a widely-used CMS, hackers often target WordPress sites with known vulnerabilities. By opting for our site, you remove this target from your website's back, ensuring greater security.

But what about server vulnerabilities? Our sites hosted on Edge Networks are spread across multiple servers worldwide. If one server goes down, the site can easily be accessed from another location, minimizing downtime and ensuring continuous availability.

Handmade sites vs WordPress vs Wix

In comparison of website builders, hand-made websites consistently come out on top. They load in milliseconds compared to the multiple seconds it takes for WordPress or Wix sites to load. Plus, their simplicity makes them almost impenetrable to hacking or compromise, making them the clear winner for your business.

Another advantage of hand-coded sites is their ability to implement mobile-first programming, which site builders like WordPress and Wix currently lack. If you try to resize the browser on a Wix site, you'll notice that it doesn't offer a tablet version, and the page may not respond well to different screen sizes. Content might get cut off or text may wrap around images in odd ways, making the site appear broken. These limitations mean that page builders don't give you the level of control needed to ensure your site is responsive across all screen sizes without extensive coding knowledge.

Ultimately, if you want a fast, secure and responsive website, hand-made websites are the way to go. They provide greater control and performance compared to site builders like WordPress and Wix.

Should I build a website myself or hire someone to do it

Wix and WordPress offer enticing free website-building options, which can be appealing for small businesses with tight budgets. But if you're concerned about factors like page speed, loading times, security, converting more customers and Google rankings, opting for a website built by a developer is the way to go.

Consider this analogy: anyone can buy paint and try to paint their own house, but not everyone will achieve the same quality result as a professional painter. Similarly, web development is a skill, and having a hand-coded site built by a developer ensures a level of performance and quality that free website builders may not deliver.

While some developers create custom WordPress sites with care and attention to detail, not all WordPress sites or developers are equal. WordPress is ideal for dynamic sites that require database functionality, content management, online stores, blogs or custom applications. However, hand-coded sites excel in displaying information without the need for database manipulation or dynamic content generation.

Using WordPress for a purely informational site is like using a jackhammer to drive in a nail—it's overkill and inefficient. Additionally, many developers or agencies charge high prices for simple WordPress sites that could be created as hand-coded sites. Some may even deliver templated solutions without ongoing support.

Finding a reputable developer or agency may take time, but it's worth the effort. Look for someone who understands your needs and can deliver a custom solution tailored to your business goals. Don't settle for a one-size-fits-all approach when you can have a hand-coded site that sets you apart from the competition and performs exceptionally well.

Invest in your website

In my experience, there are two types of people: business owners and entrepreneurs. One common mistake I see among business owners is viewing a website as an expense rather than an investment. Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, understand that investing in their business is crucial for growth and success.

Let's break it down. Say you invest RM20k in a hand-coded website. It might seem like a hefty sum upfront, but consider the potential return on investment. With a sleek, high-performing website, you could convert more visitors into customers who might otherwise leave due to slow loading times or an outdated appearance. Suddenly, that RM20k investment could bring in an extra RM100k or more in revenue annually. That's a significant return on investment.

Now, let's talk about my approach. I offer websites at RM3000 a year. Some may question why they should pay annually. But think about it this way: if my website brings in more than RM3000 in value each year, then it's worth it, right? For example, if you're a painter and my website helps you land just one additional client per year, that's already a RM2000 return on investment. Plus, with my services, you have someone available 24/7 to handle website maintenance, updates, and address any questions or concerns. You're not just getting a website; you're getting a partner invested in your business's success.

Websites are like tattoos—you get what you pay for. Opting for a cheap, quick website from Craigslist or Fiverr may result in something generic or outdated that could turn potential customers away. Just like choosing a tattoo artist, it's essential to research and find reputable developers who can deliver a high-quality product.

While cheap and quick website options may be tempting, they often result in subpar results. If you want a website done right, investing in a skilled developer is the way to go. Remember, your business deserves the best, and cutting corners on your website could cost you in the long run.

In the end, whether you opt for a hand-coded site or a website builder, it boils down to your budget and priorities. If you're on a tight budget and just need a basic website, platforms like WordPress or Wix can be suitable options. However, if you're looking to maximize your online presence and have the budget for it, investing in a hand-coded site can offer the best return on investment.

My business model aims to provide a middle ground where quality and affordability meet. I strive to make professional web development more accessible to small businesses, offering a reliable partner to handle the web aspect while you focus on your day-to-day operations. My goal is to create websites that stand the test of time and contribute to the growth of your business.

So, if you want a website that loads quickly, performs well on mobile, and is more secure, a hand-coded website might be the way to go. It may take a little more time and effort to build, but the benefits are worth it in the long run.