Looking under the hood on a website can be intimidating, especially if your creative talents don’t lie in that particular direction. Just the same, I consider tinkering with the code for my website to be one of the best decisions I’ve made for my business.
To be clear, I don’t mean building my own website with one of those ‘automatic website builders’ that certain web hosts offer. I mean that I know a little about what makes my content management system (currently WordPress) tick, as well as a bit about HTML and CSS — the parts that drive the design of the site. As a business owner, it’s tempting to try to do everything myself, but that’s not actually a good decision. I know better than to rely on my own coding skills when it comes to putting together a site. Rather, my main goal is to know enough to be an active part of the process.
I like to compare my level of coding knowledge to my level of plumbing knowledge: I can’t fix a major leak, but I can at least deal with a dripping faucet. I have enough general knowledge that I can handle minor fixes on my own, especially if I can Google for a tip or a tutorial. Perhaps more importantly, I know enough that neither plumbing nor web design jargon sounds like a different language to me. It’s a lot harder for someone to sell me something I don’t need or take advantage of me. If only for that reason, I definitely encourage improving your technical literacy whenever possible — even if you don’t need to use it directly.