Basic Web design is easy to learn and you will always get the best results using real code. WYSIWYG “wizard” software that promises to do all the work for you typically causes more problems than it solves.
There are numerous software applications that allow you to drag, drop, point, and click your way to a Web template without ever typing the first line of code. These tools are often called WYSIWYG, meaning What You See Is What You Get. Most such devices are junk and should be avoided at all cost.
Due to the heavily promoted simplicity of WYSIWYG tools, many people use them for their basic Web design needs. But the bottom line is these tools limit your flexibility, create sloppy code, and in many cases simply do not work the way you want them to.
Learning the basics of Web design is easier than you might think. And in the long run you’ll save time and money, plus end up with a much better site, when you create your own code in lieu of using a WYSIWYG.
Let’s look more closely at the primary drawbacks of this type of software.
No matter how slick, expensive, and high-tech a WYSIWYG editor, it’s not as robust and expansive as the human mind. There’s simply no way one of these utilities can be programmed for every possible parameter.
And frankly in most cases point and click Website builders are seriously flawed in terms of what they allow you to do.
As long as you stick with the basics of putting a table here, dropping an image there, and so forth you’ll be fine. But when you decide you want to align a block of text outside and to the right of an existing table, suddenly the software stops responding and you are unable to make the seemingly simple change you want.
WYSIWYG software is not intuitive in many scenarios. And there are a variety of design tactics and format changes you simply cannot do without going directly into the raw code.
Neat, properly formatted HTML (and other code) is critical for the success of your site. And it’s totally impossible to duplicate this level of quality when using a WYSIWYG.
When your HTML code is entered incorrectly your site obviously will not display properly. WYSIWYG software generally enters the basic structure correctly, but numerous small errors appear throughout a document created with these tools, and this will cause your pages to look different from one browser to another.
Also, the structure of your code is an important part of onsite search engine optimization. The kind of jumbled slop produced by a WYSIWYG tool can actually harm your search engine rankings, whereas proper hand coding can greatly enhance your position within the results listings.
Just Won’t do What You Want
Even at the level of basic Web design there are times when the developer wants to do something a little outside of the ordinary. And few things are more frustrating in a Website development scenario than wanting to create a specific effect and not being able to do so.
When using WYSIWYG technology you will often discover there is simply no way to create the format or effect you’d like to see on the screen in front of you. The “wizard” must adhere strictly to the rules it was programmed with, and even if the change you want to make is very minor, it just isn’t possible if the WYSIWYG doesn’t understand how to do it.
On the other hand, once you have even a preliminary grasp of basic Web design code, you’ll be able to make any changes you like in a matter of seconds. There are very few limitations when handling raw code, whereas a WYSIWYG will allow you to perform only a pre-determined range of commands.
With the right educational material, the average Internet user can become proficient in the art of basic Web design in 30 days or less. With only a small amount of practice you’ll be cranking out Web pages that are ten times better than those produced by the most expensive WYSIWYG on the market.
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