12 April 2021

Why I dig a Custom-Made Website

W

Why would you still hack away on your own, when there are a multitude of no-code design tools around?

Nowadays the web is totally democratized, everyone can create and share, not only techheads. You don't need to install a hundred wordpress plugins anymore to make a nice blog. If you want to write consider Medium. If you want to share media, maybe a social platform like Instagram is the easiest solution. If you want to have a proper website of your own there are tools like Squarespace, that offer high quality designs that you can fill with your own content. If you want more control over the design there are tools like Editor X (Wix), Wordpress Divi, Wordpress Elementor that let you design directly in the browser, similar to how you would go about in a design app like Sketch, Figma, Adobe XD. In comparion the result is not just an image, but a functioning website. For Designers that need perfect control over the layout and want to add advanced interactions and animations Webflow basically offers a UI for code. But it also requires you to learn the fundamentals of web technologies.

Ownership

One thing I personally like but probably doesn't give me an advantage is to own my site. It's more of an emotional thing. I like the idea to be in full control of my own website and not being tied to the success of a platform.

Limitations

With every tool that tries to facilitate a technology comes a compromise between usability and capability. As well as an additional abstraction away from the fundamentals. I like that I can create whatever layout, behavior, animation I think of. I'm not limited to common patterns. Of course I'm still limited by my own capabilities and the web technologies limitations. Also you could argue that limits empower your creativity. But I think you get my point.

Learn

This one is probably mostly valid for graphic designers and software developers. But creating your own website with your own hands lets you learn a lot about web technology. If it's say a personal site and not a client project it's the perfect playground. You can try out new things, experimental technology that you wouldn't do for a client website. For designers it's a wonderful chance to get a feeling for how the web works, which in turn will improve the designs made for it. Even with basic HTML and CSS alone you can quickly create a beautiful little static website. No need to start with a Content Managment System or a complex JS framework right away.

Wrap Up

It's nice that we have so many options to create on the web today. Whatever enables you to build and share what you want is a good tool. I have spent way too much time on designing and coding my personal websites over the years but it also thaught me a lot and I had a lot of fun and satisfaction turning my ideas into reality.