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Hand-coded Website vs. WordPress: Which is More SEO-friendly?



Hand-coded Website vs. WordPress

Are you looking to build your own website? Creating a website involves a complex decision-making process, built around planning, designing, and optimizing. One of the biggest decisions you need to make is picking if you’ll build a hand-coded website from scratch or a pre-designed WordPress site.

Developers would likely use programming languages HTML5, CSS3, PHP, and even Javascript. WordPress should be far easier, but is it SEO-friendly? Here’s what you need to consider to get a better domain ranking and a site that converts.


Understanding The Value of SEO

Before we decide if hand-coded sites or WordPress is a better choice, we need to understand what SEO is. Known as search engine optimization, it is a crucial process that involves improving your website’s elements to improve relevance. By improving different areas of your website, you make your website more searchable.

Through search engine results pages (SERPs), you can get a higher ranking. A higher rank on searches can create more organic traffic to your website. It’s hard to underscore how important SEO is for your long-term business health.

SEO can help get more unique visitors to your website. It increases your organic discovery and high-quality website traffic, together with a better return on investment (ROI). A good SEO score helps improve your credibility with your target audience, as well as increase your total reach.

Now that you know why your site needs to be SEO-friendly, which one performs better? Is hand-coding your website worth the work? Or is WordPress valuable enough?

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Hand-coded Sites or Websites: What Works Best For You

Hand-coded websites and WordPress sites have no real impact on a website’s SEO friendliness. The truth is that either can perform better than the other as long as your developers do it right. Regardless, each has its own advantages that you would want to maximize if you’re using one over the other.

Static Sites Have Better Page Load Speeds

One of the key metrics in SEO is page load speed, which is the speed that your website can load once users click it. For search engines, a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load will get higher bounce rates and a higher abandonment rate. When it comes to page load speeds, hand-coded sites perform better than WordPress.

Hand-coded sites, also known as static websites, can load up to 10 times faster than the ones made with content management systems (CMS) like WordPress. This comes due to the overall simplicity of static websites, using HTML and CSS with simpler code.

WordPress and similar builders take more time to do database queries. If you have site plugins, it will slow the site down even more.

WordPress Sites Are Easier To Use

The best advantage that WordPress provides is its ease of use. Whether you want to integrate Google trends into your real estate site or install analytics to track how your audience behaves within your site, you can do it with a simple plugin.

You can create and manage content without writing everything in code. You can even pick themes and change your site’s appearance, adjust settings through your dash, and improve what it can do through plugins. Even then, it’s not all butterflies and roses.

WordPress still needs a lot of work done, with a generally simpler learning curve compared to other CMS and builders. If you’re a small business and you’re looking to set up fast, WordPress should help. It will give you more time to focus on other SEO-related activities like your link building efforts.

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Hand-Coding Websites Make Them Easy to Debug

For those who are hand-coding their websites, writing fresh code for your entire website not only takes less time, you can also perform faster debugging. If something is not working, you’ll likely know which line of code to remove. This gives you a distinct advantage, especially when performing SEO improvements.

Pages that don’t work can pull down the rankings of your website. Broken links, pages, and other hidden issues can be detrimental to your site, which can be a common issue with WordPress and site builders. By hand-coding your site, you’d know how to set up redirects, extra functionalities, and more without using plugins or third-party software.

Depending on your needs, plugins can help with functionality, but third-party code can result in errors. Not only can flaws and bugs reduce your page load times, but some can also even break your pages or even become security risks. Hand-coded sites are lean, efficient, and easy to restructure too.

WordPress Has Multiple SEO Tools and Plugins

WordPress is one of the most widely-used site builders for a reason. The CMS has provided a bevy of tools that users can rely on to resolve common SEO issues. From image alt-texts, headings, to custom URLs, everything has a user interface that doesn’t make you write even a single piece of code.

For starters, you can change your URL slugs without using too much time. You can set how your keywords and phrases work, how to build your page’s meta descriptions, and more – all without heavy setup. If you lack any SEO experience, there are many types of plugins that you can use.

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Plugins like Yoast SEO and WP Rocket can simplify SEO for your entire website. With hand-coded websites, you would need prior SEO experience to add detailed information under the hood. You can add keywords on your meta tags, URLs, title tags, and even more.

Unlike web builders, there’s no help for you. Everything needs to be written from code and third-party plugins won’t be there to make things easier. You would need to spend valuable time setting everything up by yourself.

Hand-Coded Sites Create Complex Blogs, WordPress Is Easier

For SEO, blogging is an important feature of many websites that allow you to publish your content. This allows websites to create informative, keyword-rich content that can be helpful for a site’s target audience. Depending on what you need, static HTML websites and WordPress also have distinct advantages.

Hand-coded sites allow you to create more complex blogs that use more complicated formats. Depending on what you want to happen, you can insert images, videos, and display anything that you want. All you need is to write down the right code for the behavior that you want.

WordPress, on the other hand, has its bread and butter in easy-to-use blogging elements. Everything can work with simple drag and drop, letting you add almost a bottomless number of multimedia. You can draft, publish, edit, and delete as you want. You can also make moderation easier, as well as manage overall content.

The Bottom Line

Are hand-coded websites better for your SEO efforts? Or should you go for a WordPress site? The answer depends on your needs and what you’re trying to achieve. Hand-coded websites are leaner and faster but need more experience to optimize. WordPress is intuitive and easy to use but needs some learning to improve your SEO.

Depending on your needs, one should work better than the other. Consider your SEO requirements and pick one that can help your SEO efforts quicker and with fewer problems.

Also Read: Search Engine Optimization vs. Conversion Rate Optimization: Which Is Better?

Shabbir Ahmad is a highly accomplished and renowned professional blogger, writer, and SEO expert who has made a name for himself in the digital marketing industry. He has been offering clients from all over the world exceptional services as the founder of Dive in SEO for more than five years.

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