Are they really developers?

Are they really developers?

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Published: 05/11/2019

Are they really developers?

Here's something I find frustrating.

Yesterday, I was talking to a friend who runs his own carpentry business. He told me he had recently paid almost £1,000 for a basic website that was essentially a slightly modified premade template that he could, with a bit of research, have quite feasibly made himself.

As a result his website's performance was beyond terrible- his Google PageSpeed insights had dismal scores of 2/100 for mobile and 23/100 for desktop. I can't even begin to understand how anyone with any understanding of development could consider a website like this to be a finished product.

Websites made using these premade template providers carry restrictions, and their level of functionality is determined by the number of widgets and plugins used. However, the more of these there are, the more JS and CSS file requests your site makes, meaning that the more 'functionality' your site has, the worse its performance. My friend's homepage made just under 100 requests and was 8MB in size, which surely any developer can see needs revisiting and correcting.

Of course, handing clients full control of a CMS site you have built does carry the risk of your hard work being jeopardised. They could forget or ignore your instructions and upload massive images and media files, but still basic website compression, bundling and minification should surely be an industry standard.

What I want to know is: Can you really call yourself yourself a web developer if these are the finished products?

Incredibly, 30% of websites online are powered by one particular such provider, and naturally many of these are actually well made. There are plenty of developers who know how to use such templates very effectively, but clearly there are others, as my friend discovered, who do not. Even if just 10% of these sites are built poorly, that's still a massive 45,000,000 that can very easily and cheaply be made much better.

So why pay a professional developer?

Your website's technical performance has an impact on your search engine optimisation. If Google doesn't think your website performs well, it will not rank high in search results. Of course, if you already get a lot of organic traffic or you use expensive and temporary pay-per-click ads this won’t apply to you, but for a new website or a new business, it makes economic sense to have a website that performs the best it can. This is definitely something anyone that pays for a website should not only consider but check up on. After all, that part is free!

What do you think?

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