Building and buying Web Sites should be a rewarding experience
for both builder and buyer. For that to happen, though, the builder needs to make sure the
buyer is getting honest value by using professional tools and professional methods.
Further, buyers should insist in getting their money's worth!
There are a number of WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors on the market which fulfill a basic need to build Web Sites quickly and effectively - for doing personal home pages or sites such as one done voluntarily for a local organization. Such software are designed for beginners and occasional users, not professional Web designers, and require little more than the ability to drag and drop items onto a page.
However, because they rely on pre-formatted templates, the resultant site will not contain anything original or special. It will look like a large number of other web sites out there on the web.
Furthermore, it is unlikely to employ any effective use of MetaTags, alternative graphical qualifications or page/site titles.
I recently came across a case where a client had ordered a Web Site to be created - and was charged over £3500 for the privilege. The sad part of the story was the fact that she could have produced the same thing herself by spending £49 for the program used to make the site and a few hours for production.
Unfortunately, this same type of scenario is played out daily throughout the world. People willingly, albeit unknowingly, pay good money for a less than good product.
Using WYSIWYG Editors
In theory, there is nothing wrong with using WYSIWYG editors to do original design work on Web sites, but they usually require you to use one of the templates that come with the program. Should you look at the page source code, near the top, and see a tag such as this:
<META name="Microsoft Theme" content="nature 111">
you know originality is quite unlikely and you have probably wasted your money. Clients paying any amount for a Web site deserve original work and design specifically aimed at their goals. Thus, the difference between being a Web designer and a Web builder.
Another problem with using WYSIWYG editors - in addition to the fact that they often are quite expensive - is that many of those programs create bloated, redundant, or proprietary codes. That makes pages load slower. Frequently, these programs use spacer graphics and other tricks to enable users to put objects where they want them. Further, some will even strip out good coding to put in their own coding, and many do not keep up with current HTML standards.
Additionally, should the Web site owner later wish to have the site redesigned, perhaps by a professional, that bloated code is often so convoluted that it would have to be replaced with more efficient coding, thus adding to the cost of the redesign. Even more troublesome is that some WYSIWYG editors make it difficult to even access the HTML code.
So, how can you tell if a WYSIWYG editor was used to create your Web site? Simply view the source, and look for a line near the top (in the head section) that says something like this:
<META name="GENERATOR" content="the name of a WYSIWYG editor">
If, indeed, your site does have that information and you paid over £100 for your site, there's a pretty good chance you've been had. Not all WYSIWYG editors are created equal, but it is important to evaluate the quality of the HTML coding before using one of them.
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