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Make Web Development Easy, Avoid Needless Complexities

November 30, 2023
December 6, 2023
Episode Number:

Web developers have a lot of tools to build websites with, but this vast selection opens the door for needless complexities. Needless complexities weigh projects down and can make troubleshooting problems a nightmare. Unforeseen issues arising from tangled webs of WordPress plugins, third-party services updating their endpoints unexpectedly, and installed-yet-forgotten features have taken down more websites than we can count. In this episode, Matt and Mike discussed how and why you should avoid needless complexities in your projects and why some complexities are necessary evils.


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Who’s in This Episode?

Show Notes

What you'll learn in this episode

  • What a needless complexity is
  • Helping you avoid needless complexities
  • Explore why complexities sneak in where they shouldn’t
  • Choosing the right tool for the job and why

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Show Notes

Spanning Professions

  • Tech field covers many different jobs and professions
  • For the sake of this episode we've broken the tech field into the high-level categories:
    - Hardware
    - Software
    - Networking
  • Jobs that don't typically involve coding, but that are involved in the tech field:
    - Electrical engineering
    - Material procurement
    - Logistics
    - Datacenter Management (DCM)
  • Web development spans all these areas in one way or another, including: 
    - Hardware (Hosting/Servers)
    - Software (The website itself and related services)
    - Networking (Ensuring the site is available to connect to and view)

Needless Complexities

  • It's a meme at this point that web developers will create a fully custom CMS with a convoluded tech stack that requires a propiretary and complex procedure to deploy just to deliver a simple blog
  • While this is a meme, it is also a reality for many
  • Even in 2023, a basic website can be made in just:
    - HTML
    - CSS (optional if you don't want styling)
    - Shared hosting + FTP
  • A modern and successful blog can be made via:
  • A small ecommerce website can be made with just:
    - WordPress + WooCommerce
    - Webflow eCommerce
    - Squarespace or Wix eCommerce

Side Effects of Needless Complexities

  • Scaring away potential new talent
  • Bloated and confusing learning materials
  • Difficulties making accurate quotes and work timelines
  • Constant refactoring of the company workflow to make things easier
    - Costing additional time and training materials
    - Inconsistent support plans as each project you build for clients needs different support tooling and skills
  • Longer troubleshooting periods
    - Troubleshooting periods depend on your experience - HTML is easy to troubleshoot overall but if you don’t know it it will take a long time

How to avoid needless complexities

  • Boil down your goals to their most basic and vital
    - Superfluous parts adds superfluous complexities
  • Choose the right tool for the job
    - Avoid choosing a tool based solely on price
    - Avoid sunken cost fallacy
    - Consider all aspects of tools (ie familiarity, capabilities) but don't be afraid to choose something new
  • Don't be afraid to downsize 
    - There is no shame is going from a fully custom solution to a Shopify store 
  • “Wishlist Scaling”
    - Complexities are easy to add in the name of scaling and future proofing
    - It's important to determine how realistic your scale is (ie you've been planning to add ecommerce to your site for a decade and upon website refresh you still want to include that in your scale)

When you should add needless complexities

Devil's advocate section for the episode

  • Based on your own experience, a complex system may be easy for you
  • You may be able to troubleshoot a complex system faster and easier than a simple one depending on your commonly used tech stacks
    - ie. React + headless CMS for a simple blog is more complex than it needs to be, but if that's what you use all day every day then it may be faster to install, configure, and troubleshoot for you than a Webflow website
  • Familiarity can win


  • Michael LaRocca
    - Author of the Self-Taught the X Generation blog, at
  • Episode inspiration -
    - Clip from episode 696 (Instagram)
    - Episode 696 (Spotify)
  • Meme inspiration - Jack LaForge
    - Meme post on X/Twitter (Link)