Carl Linde, aka Geeky Grandpa, has been working with computers since 1965. He has been working on the internet since 1992. When FidoNet was popular, a BBS ( or Bulletin Board) was the way to go to get information and he had ‘Are We Related?’, a BBS on Genealogy for 4 years.
In 1992, most of the internet was text without a lot of graphics and HTML was the way to get a website up and running. So most websites were coded by hand. As time went on and the internet became more important, programmers started writing programs that would serve up the webpage in HTML without the owner knowing how to program.Many of these programs were written in php and Perl, Visual Basic, C or C++ or another programming language. Most programs were compiled and not easily changeable for the average person. Most people needed a programmer to design their website. So Carl started to design a few websites for himself.
As the internet continued to grow, many programs became available that would allow a website owner to design and publish their own website. The first ones still took some knowledge of programming, but not extreme amounts. The programs have continued to improve until today programs like WordPress, b2evolution, e107, Moveable Type and many others are fairly easy for the average person, with a little patience and time, to make an acceptable website in a short time by using a theme that can be put into the program. There are others that are more versatile like Drupal, Joomla and Mambo, but are more complicated to set up. As these programs started becoming more popular, Carl started reading about them and experimenting with them.
Most web hosts have a website designer program available in their control panel, but they are not normally as flexible as the other programs available. Also, most hosts have an automatic installer, like Fantastico or Quick Install, for programs like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla and many others including, but not limited to, photo galleries, blogging, forums and shopping carts. This has cut down on the necessity for a web designer if the person wants to spend the time necessary to tweak their site for best layout and exposure.
A web designer can still be the easiest and least expensive way for a person to go to have an active presence on the internet. Since a web designer is familiar with some of the programs, they know the little tricks to help make a website stand out and attract attention and users.
Carl is most familiar with WordPress, b2evolution and e107 for blogging and general websites. ZenCart, WordPress and osCommerce are some of the best for shopping carts, but I have also used AgoraCart, Drupal and Joomla for eCommerce. Drupal and Joomla are very versatile CMS (Content Management System) programs, but are not easy for the average non-geek to maintain as the site grows and needs to be updated. Also, custom HTML5 and CSS3 web pages and php programs are not recommended for beginners. In particular, php written wrongly can leave many security breeches that can allow others to hijack your information and even your web hosting account.
In conclusion, if you are not an experienced programmer or web designer, it is better to let a professional design your site and then hand over the reigns to you with instructions on updating. Carl will help with problems for a specified length of time or a certain number of changes after the site is active at no charge, as agreed upon at the start of the project.