Is it still necessary to learn PHP for web design?

PERL Critics - PHP for web webdesign a mobilkøkken site.These days, almost anyone can buy a WordPress theme and create their own website in a few days. So a question that I sometime get, is if it’s still necessary to learn PHP in order to do web designs? This is something we will be looking a little closer at today.
When building a big website from scratch, it’s often nessesary to combine several different programming and scripting languages. For instance most of the site will likely be in HTML and PHP, with some javascript/Ajax and in some cache a few PERL scripts too.
But do you really need all of this to create a modern website?

Building a website without PHP or HTML

With some of the modern themes you can get for CMS systems, such as WordPress you can easily build a beautiful website without any programming knowledge. Maybe you want to rent out mobile kitches (mobilkøkken), or you wish to make it easier for people to find your plumming company. In many cases you can do all of this without knowing HTML, PHP, PERL or any other computer languages.
A lot the premium themes offers simple drag and drop functionality, which means you can easily design your website by dragging the various elements where you want them to be. Add some images and some text and you got a beautiful website in a few days.
However doing so isn’t always the best idea. You will get website that suits your needs, but there’s a lot more to it than this.

Read more: Getting started with a mobile kitchen

Why it’s an advantage to know PHP when building a website

While everybody can buy a WordPress Theme and setup a website in a few days, it’s often a big advantage to know PHP when building a website. Quite often you will need some special functionality that isn’t in your theme, or you will need to make some changes to the theme files in order to get the perfect design. A lot of this isn’t possible without some knowledge of PHP, HTML and javascript. In many cases you can live without this, but if you want a really good website, this is often something that needs to be done.
It’s also one of the big differences between building your own website and getting a professionel webdesign company to do it for you. While you can get great results yourself, the web company can ofte take it a step further. Tbey know what colors that fit together, how to code the site so it’s as userfriendly as possible, and how to structure everything properly. All small things that in the end will help turn more of the visitors into customers. I have seen many examples of websites people have build them self that at first glance looked quite good, but once you started looking at the analytics data, you could quickly see that everything wasn’t as good as it should be. For instance one of my clients was selling costumes, and doing ok. About 1.5 of every hundred visitors ended up placing an order. I told him that this could be much better, so he let a webdesign company go over his website and improving the design and structure. Optimizing some PHP and javascript functions and a few others things.
From the day he launched the improved site, his sales has been around 3 of every hundred visits. So by spending around 1500$ on some design improvements, he sales doubled without getting more visitors.

Read more: How to sell costumes online

So it’s still important to known PHP, Javascript and sometimes PERL or Python, in order to get the most out of a website.
But you can still get far these days without know anything about scripting languages or programming. And if you need some small changes, you can find a cheap programmer on upworks or freelancer.com. Best of luck with your next web design project.