Computer programming can be an immensely difficult task, but hiring someone else to build your website can be even harder on your wallet. And besides, just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean it’s undoable.
There are currently 1.85 million people working in the computer science field at the moment, and building a website is one of the easier tasks to complete in this industry. If you’re working off an existing framework, like WordPress or Squarespace, some of the work will be done for you.
As you embark on this adventure, there are some coding tips you should keep in mind when building your website.
8 Coding Tips For Designing Your Company’s Website
HTML & CSS will give you form and aesthetic design and the one (or a combination) of the latter programs will give your website more complex functionality.
If you’ve got at least a foundational understanding of these languages, read on.
1. Chunk Your Tasks
Any coding project can have hundreds – if not thousands – of different steps before your project is complete. It’s very easy when first embarking on a project to get overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of a project.
To avoid this, all you have to do is get a little organized. Take a physical corkboard and split it into three columns: To Do, Doing, and Done. Then, with index cards, break the project down into manageable tasks and place them in the To Do column.
A good example of a manageable task to write down would be “create a skeleton of the homepage” or “create the navigation bar.” You don’t have to write down every single task, just enough to get you started.
This’ll help you design and code your website in an organized fashion.
2. Follow Formatting Conventions
There are different formatting guidelines when writing code in different programming languages. If you’ve taken a class on coding, your instructor has probably already gone over this.
No matter what your personal preference is (e.g. whether you double-space your code to indent or use the tab key), it’s important when writing your code to stay pick a format and stay consistent, for the sake of readability.
3. Use Comments Indiscriminately
Coding a website is a giant task and you’re not going to finish it all in one sitting. You’re going to be working on a task, partially complete it, get frustrated and put it aside for the day. This is understandable, and it’s even a good thing to step away from a problem when you’re stumped.
But it’s very easy to get lost or forget what you were trying to do when returning to that code. You want to leave breadcrumbs for yourself in the form of embedded comments in your code. This way, when you step away, you’ll have a reminder from yourself on what you’re trying to accomplish.
It’s also useful for completed code, as the purpose of some code isn’t self-evident when reading it over without a comment giving you insight.
4. Check Your Work Constantly
A common beginner mistake is to write pages and pages of code without checking to make sure any of it actually works.
This is a problem because, when you do go to check it, and you run into a problem, you have to sift through so much code to find the bug.
So when you’re designing a small portion of your site or giving something some functionality, check to make sure it actually works before you move on to another task. It’ll save you a ton of headaches.
5. Use Github For Version Control
Because of the scope of a project like this, you need a way to keep different “drafts” of your website organized.
You’ll find frequently throughout this project that you’ll want to return to an older version of your website, either because you like it more or you want to re-do some buggy portion of your site.
Github is a perfect way to save and organize different versions of your site. If you aren’t already familiar, you can read more about Github here.
6. Make It Mobile-Friendly
More people use their phones to browse the web than ever before, so you need to make sure your website scales down to smaller screens. CSS is notoriously finicky in this regard. It often doesn’t want to cooperate.
But here, you can stand on the backs of the coding giants before you and use their knowledge and expertise to make your website mobile-friendly. Bootstrap, for example, is an HTML & CSS framework built by Twitter programmers that makes building a mobile-friendly website ridiculously easy.
7. Google Early And Often
The programming community is large and likes to share. If you’re stumped on a problem with your code, there’s no reason to keep slamming your head against the wall. Just Google it!
Chances are, someone before has run into the same problem and there is an explanation out there. Doing this doesn’t make you dumb or bad at coding. Literally every coder Google’s stuff. It’s nothing to be ashamed about.
8. Read Your Documentation
When using programming language, or bringing in some outside package of code like Bootstrap, make sure to read the documentation that accompanies it.
Here, you’ll often find the answers to your problems – if Google doesn’t help – as well as a virtual walkthrough of all of the code’s possibilities. You’ll find answers to questions you didn’t even know you had.
It can be really dense reading, but it’s well worth it.
Ready To Start Coding?
You’ll always feel unprepared when building a website for the first time. You’ll second-guess yourself thinking “Do I really know enough to do this?”
That’s natural, but the trick is to just dive in and figure it out as you go along. These coding tips should guide you.
However, if you’re completely lost, you may just want to hire someone else for the job. In that case, you’ll want to validate the coder’s expertise. There are many ways to do that, and there’s plenty of information you can view here about that.
Once you’ve got your site up and running, you’ll want to make sure it stays that way with a reliable website monitoring service like ours.