A friend who knows that I am a web developer asked me for a recommendation for beginners. I didn't have one. That's not to say there aren't lots of choices. Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, WordPress, and many others... But for a beginner, each of these had a problem. The founder of Esprit clothing once said 'Start with the logo, and don't chase anyone's tail.' I started with the logo and have begun the trademark process. I'm an Apple fan, obviously.
The WordPress core is a free download, and it's often my choice for larger websites where the user will add their own content. But with WordPress there are thousands of plugins, a database to master, and a long learning curve. Even when you know WordPress, there can be problems. It's code is open source, but it's essentially updated by a committee. Plus the vulnerabilities are known by hackers.
Wix, Weebly, Squarespace...
The others are thinly-disquised multisite websites, each with a small face that looks like a real website. When you look under the hood, they are one large website that advertizes the main company. This is bad enough for a free website. Who wants to pay to be an advertisement for someone else?
My personal favorite is Bootstrap, which is my go-to engine for building something lean and fast. Bootstrap means rolling up your shirtsleeves and writing the HTML yourself. I mix it with PHP 'includes' and when I'm finished, the website sings. This is fine for me. But it's not really for beginners.
Since I was making good money with Affiliate Marketing, I decided to see if I could make one. I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California. I knew lots of people who might be able to help me and I began to ask them. Glenn was my first choice. He is good with people and with code. I liked to visit him on his boat. Together we began to build Bytique.
When the political climate changed after the US republican convention in 2016, I knew it was time to travel. I had known that this would happen and I had my passport ready. I had subcontracted some WordPress work to my new friend Dat. He was Vietnamese, though I met him online through a MeetUp in Kuala Lumpur. I asked him where in Asia was a good place to live. He asked me what was wrong with Vietnam? Nothing!
Dat told me that Hanoi and Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) are too big and he recommended Danang ('Đà Nẵng'). I think he was right. There are many programmers in Danang and the city is deeply committed to growing technology. This is where I added some Vietnamese coders to the Bytique team. 'Jack' and Han were the main folks. I also worked with Hoai and Tien and LyNa. I met Ricky through a reseller group online. He is a server admin from Michigan and lives part-time in the Ukraine.
Gradually the code began taking shape. At first there was lots of wireframing and framework that had to be done. Then there was the actual coding. The basic idea was to create a custom theme, add the titles and text and then the photos for that business category. We used many tools that were already available online. We matched the Google My Business categories, added the unsplash API then extended and added other features from there.
From the very beginning, it was important to me that the builder be mobile-first, or at least, mobile-friendly. We worked to make the pages responsive for both the admin sectiona and the website display. Then we added pop-up instructions so the page builder would be user-friendly.
The thing that I obsessed over was speed. Google Pagespeed insights is a pet webpage for me and I always wanted the sites to load faster. Nobody likes a slow website, especially me.
In the real world, there are trade-offs, and the same is true for Bytique. We had to make some tough decisions between existing tools and our custom code. In the end, we made choices for the good of our users. We think you will like it.
Bytique is the next generation of website building technology. This is the fastest and easiest way to make your new website. You begin with a fully functional website, complete with titles, paragraphs, images, contact form, and more. You can add pages and sections with one click. You can click on any word or image and edit or replace it. And, you can do this anywhere from your smartphone. I like it. I hope you like it, too.
— Randy West
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