I recently had my website redesigned. It needed it. Badly. It still isn’t perfect and I’m constantly tweaking it, but from a design perspective, it’s now 100% better than it was before. Despite how excited I was about the new design, I was very disturbed when I got the final product and looked under the hood.
My website’s code was a MESS!
Why, you ask, would I, owner of a website design and consulting firm have allowed this to happen? Excellent question. I have a few trusted designers that I work with and I am always looking for more talented designers to match with my clients based on their needs and their budget. As a start-up company myself, I had a limited budget and so decided to “test” this new designer on myself. (Her portfolio is impressive and her work, from a design perspective IS awesome)Her designs, amazing. Her web development/coding, horrible. What made it worse was that it was never disclosed to me how my site was to be coded. In fact the agreement stated that “The site will be built using the latest CSS / XHTML standards and be fully cross-platform and SEO compliant ” To top it all off, When I confronted her about, I was made out to be the bad guy!
Lesson learned: Always inspect what I expect and ask a lot of questions.
Had I known that my site was going to get an amazing design and then be tossed into Dreamweaver to have auto code generated, I would have approached a different designer about the redesign or re-thought my budget. Fortunately I know enough about code to have spotted the shabby work. Unfortunately, she told me that “Dreamweaver generates perfectly sound website code used by hundreds of thousands of web designers and developers, and is a totally adequate and reasonable option for a client with a small budget such as yours was. I have used it for dozens of other clients in the past who have never had a single problem with it.”
YIKES!!! I feel really bad for those clients who probably ARE having problems with their site like slow as molasses load times, crazy high bounce rates and absolutely no way of knowing why their site just doesn’t seem to be working. Clarification: You can build websites in Dreamweaver and they can turn out fine. You cannot drop a psd file into Dreamweaver and auto-generate a website that is the standard of CSS/HTML and SEO compliant.
I won’t disclose any names, but I will put the before and after code in this post. I had the site totally recoded into WordPress so that I can easily access, update and tweak from anywhere (even my phone).
The current code is still being tweaked and optimized (when isn’t it!) but I’m much happier with it. You can always click “View” “Page Source” or some variation of that to view the most up to date source code for the site.
I welcome any feedback or similar stories. Here’s to better code and better sites!