Determining the Best Way to Redesign Your Website
You've scoured the internet for the best solutions and terms like HTML, hosting and CMS keep popping up. So now you're asking, "What is a CMS? Is it better than a framework? How much HTML do I need to know to make a website? What is hosting and how do I know the best place to host my site?"
Let's take a look at these terms and concepts as they might apply to some real-life examples:
Some domain registrars (like widely recognized and highly rated GoDaddy) offer hosting and website building as well as a way to secure and manage domains. If you're a large business with heavy data needs, opt for a dedicated server; oppositely, if you're the average coffee shop or brick and mortar spot just listing your hours and some photos, a shared server will do just fine.
You can also host on your own server, but that requires maintenance and, if something goes wrong, you need a backup plan. Nine times out of ten, you want an expert who can handle this part.
Content Management System (CMS)
We're going to assume that you are not a developer by trade but rather you are using off-the-shelf tools to meet your business needs. You need a basic informational website that communicates your brand message, captures leads and allows you to sell a physical product.
If this describes you, you're not going to be building something from scratch like a developer would using a framework. You're going to need some help. The good news is there are several solutions for you.
So what is a CMS and what makes it the best solution for you right now?
A CMS is computer software that provides you with a pre-built interface for managing content on a website. It is a scalable, flexible, user-friendly application that allows you to manage your content. A solid CMS has a community of users that sometimes contributors to the code base, which will ensure that your business has a good support system and plenty knowledgeable individuals to assist you with things like customization and integrations.
Just to name a few great systems: WordPress, Magento, Joomla or Drupal.
Many hardcore coders and even agencies will push to build your website from scratch because of the unique needs of your business. Take that with a grain of salt, as the need may not actually be complex enough to build something from scratch.
In some cases, custom work is absolutely needed; however, in most cases you can cut costs on development significantly by using website frameworks. These frameworks are built by hardcore coders who have faced similar problems to that of your business and built something customized to suit that need that is quickly deployable. The hard work of building that solution is done, now it just needs to be implemented.
If your business is a bit more complex than your standard WordPress theme can handle and you're hitting limitations before launch, a framework may be the way to go.
Building a website completely in HTML is much less common due to the fact that it requires someone who knows the language to make changes to even the basic things such as the text on a website's homepage. If you're marketing a product, you probably want a way for your marketing department to make quick changes to the website to try out new marketing terms.
It is, however, beneficial to learn some basic HTML as you may need to use it when formatting the site's pages. Typically a CMS offers a text editor, something akin to a word document which gives you an interface with buttons and controls to use to format things, rather than code.