Why you need to understand code

As I’m working on Code Create Now, I’ve been thinking a lot about code (obviously) and why I think it’s so important to have at least a basic understanding of it when you have your own website. I thought I’d share my thoughts on the subject today and tell you a little about why I’m creating this course. I hope it helps you think about your own story and how you can use it to inform and inspire the projects you create.

First, a little background. I learned HTML in high school. (Side note: it was the one course I took that deviated from the path of my friends. Just goes to show that it’s better to follow your own path — it’s the only high school course I can say with certainty I still use today!) I expanded that knowledge in college and eventually volunteered to take over website maintenance at my first job out of college when they brought the website in-house.

And that was when I discovered WordPress. Of course, I totally geeked out. I honestly never thought I’d create sites for others because it didn’t sit right with me that they wouldn’t be able to edit them without HTML knowledge. Little did I know that that would eventually become a core belief for my business — that I should do everything within my power to give my clients sites they could edit themselves. I was happy to discover it was possible to do that in WordPress.

Of course, I still didn’t know how it was possible, just that it was. So I bought a domain name and web hosting and started figuring it out for myself. Even with my background, I was lost and confused. I didn’t understand how the pieces fit together in WordPress, and I couldn’t find any clear answers in the many blog posts I read. There weren’t as many resources available as there are now — but I almost think that’s a curse nowadays. There’s too much information. How are you supposed to know what’s right?

Here’s the thing: there really is no “right.” Just multiple solutions to the same problem. The trick is finding the one that works for you and sticking with it long enough to become really good at it. I’ve polished my process with each project over the years, and the point of Code Create Now is to share my own methods in one place, so you don’t have to make sense of multiple approaches from multiple blogs like I did.

For me, creating highly editable sites for my clients isn’t quite enough (though it is really satisfying!). I want you to be able to create your own site, because I know what it’s like to have a billion ideas rolling around in your head. Nowadays, it’s pretty easy to make your ideas come to life online. But it’s just not practical to hire someone to create a website for you for every single one. It’s not always practical to hire someone to make small tweaks to your site (like the night before you go to a conference, anyone else been there?!). While I believe that sometimes we have to hire someone who can do a better job than us, we also need the power and knowledge to do it ourselves and just make it happen. (And I believe that goes for anything, not just websites!)

It’s OK if code isn’t your thing. Not everyone loves it. But when you have your own website, I think it helps to understand how it works and what can and can’t be done so that even if you don’t do it yourself, you understand how to communicate what you want to the person you hire to do it for you. Say you have a brick and mortar shop. Maybe you can’t fix the problem with the toilet yourself, but you have to be able to explain the problem to someone else so they can identify a solution. It’s the same with your website. So even if you have no interest in learning to code your own site, I encourage you to spend a little time learning how things work.

And of course, if you’d like to join me for Code Create Now, you can sign up to be notified when registration opens on October 9 over here!

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Hello! I’m Lisa, the web designer behind Elembee. I’m on a mission to help you look your best online so you can do what you love.

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By the way: I really love to share. Just bought something awesome? I want to tell you all about it. Sometimes I receive affiliate payments for your click or purchase — which is really just icing on the cake for me, because I'd be happy to tell you about it anyway. Also? I really love to give advice from my own experiences in blogging, business, and design. But your situation may be totally different than mine, and I have no control over that. So, my advice doesn't come with guarantees, and the information provided here is for educational and informational purposes only. Let's keep things friendly, ok? You can find more information in my Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.

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