The vast majority of the work we do is done in a “content management system” called WordPress. WordPress is a software package that sits on the website server and acts as an “intermediary” between the front end that the user sees and the database and code behind the scenes.
In other words, you don’t need to know how to write code to use it (although if you DO know how to write some code it can be even more flexible). WordPress was originally designed for writing blogs, and has now developed into an incredibly powerful open-source (i.e. free, and developed collectively by the community of users) system with somewhere around 54,000 potential add-ons (known as Plugins) and something like 31,000 different visual/layout adaptations (known as Themes). Many of the plugins and themes are free, although the best ones are generally paid-for.
WordPress gets us results quickly; it’s easy to learn and incredibly flexible; we have had great success training clients to use it to do their own updates and blog posts; the basic package is free; and it’s very easy to move from one server to another.
If your website is for complex or very high security tasks (online banking or booking airline tickets, for example), you probably need your own programmer. If your website is solely used to sell a large catalogue of products, then you’re better off with a dedicated e-commerce platform like Magento or Shopify. If you want to host an online forum or chatroom, then something like vBulletin or phpBB are probably best (although you can do this in WordPress).
For everything else, we use WordPress and it hasn’t let us down yet!