Competition today is extremely stiff in every field, and business is no different. In this ever increasing competitive world, success seems to be elusive, with entrepreneurs trying all sorts of tactics to beat the competition. Reducing expenses and making more profits: these are the priorities for any business owner, and often what guides most business decisions like marketing. When it comes to your online presence, you need to be sure that it projects a professional image – just like your workplace. Only then will it have credibility.
Often to cut costs, many business owners choose website templates, without really knowing the actual difference it can make to their business. So let us take a look at custom websites as well as templates, and which you should choose.
Custom Web Design
A custom web design means building a website from scratch; usually this involves hiring a professional team. They will have an extensive discussion and get an understanding of your business, your target audience, and how exactly you want your site to work. They will work out what return on investment, or ROI, you are looking for from your site. You can be in control of the process and ensure that custom features are built into your website design, making it easy for your administrator to manage the site.
A professional web design agency will build a unique website that perfectly suits your specific requirements. Let us take a look at the benefits of such a website:
- Unique design: Since it is exclusively created for your business, the design will of course be unique – there will be no other like it. It will be perfectly aligned with your business needs and goals. You can prepare and give the list of features you want your website to have, and the web designer can incorporate them in your site.
- SEO friendly: When you hire a good web designer, they will ensure that the site is search engine friendly with appropriate coding.
- Scalability: Right now your business may be small but you may have plans of expansion in the future. You can communicate this to the web designer and they can design the site in such a way that it scales along with your business. They can do this by including the right technology to build the site.
- Testing: With a professional team building your site, they will test the website to see its functioning, loading and so on across various platforms and browsers.
- Tech support: When you have got the site built by a professional team, you can have an arrangement with them to offer technical support whenever you encounter any problems with the working of the site.
- You can have a CMS built into the site so that you can manage the site content yourself even remotely.
- A customized web design will allow you to present your brand exactly the way you want to, as you are not limited by a template’s fonts, colors and so on.
- With a custom design, you can build a web portal, ecommerce site, lead database site, or a web based application as well, and not just a simple website.
- You can have a great deal of flexibility with custom design with regard to layout, design, colors, fonts, and so on.
- With a custom website, you are the true owner of the website and can manipulate it any way you wish in the future.
Cons of a custom website:
- It usually is more expensive than a template website as you will need to hire professional to do the job.
- It takes more time to build as the designer has to do everything from scratch
Template Website Design
Many website templates are available in the market like Wix, Weebly, WordPress, eHost, and many more. Many people hurriedly decide to use a template because they are rushed for time, or they can’t spend much on a custom website. Let’s examine the advantages and disadvantages of templates.
Also Read: Why Using Wix Or Weebly Or Squarespace Is A Bad Idea
- These can be set up quickly
- You don’t have to spend a lot of time on it
- You can also do it yourself, or have someone in your organization do it without having any coding skills
- You can use templates for simple sites like brochure or blog sites
If you’re really hard pressed for time, and are in a hurry to get your site online, or if at the moment your finances are very tight, then maybe you can go with a template. But keep in mind that it has these disadvantages:
- It is not a unique design, and there may be dozens of other businesses using it. There is no way you can make your website stand out; and remember there are thousands of websites online. So in the long run, a template may not get you any benefits at all.
- You have very limited customization options available in a template.
- Some templates are so specific that if you try adding your own graphics and stuff, it may crash, and everything you have done will come undone.
- Many templates are not built to be SEO friendly, and your website may not be displayed high in the SERPs.
- Often the background coding is outdated, and will likely not function on some of the browsers; in fact some templates are browser specific. This can severely limit your website.
- Building an ecommerce site on a template will give you extremely limited functionality.
- If the underlying coding is altered it becomes near impossible to update the theme when upgrades are released. So what began as a quick fix to get your website up could end up costing you more time and money in the long run.
- Often templates have many features that you would never use, so it is a waste.
- You are not likely to have any tech support in this case, so if you encounter problems, you may have to call for help.
- Any images or text you want to add to such a site, need to be adapted to fit in the predetermined areas on the template.
Which should you Choose?
While a template may cost less and be done quickly, it won’t really help you do a whole lot. If you have strict brand presentation expectations and need a high level of customization for front end and back end and want to provide a unique experience to your visitors, and you are prepared to wait, and spend for it, there is no doubt that it is a custom website that you need. Of course, if you have personnel with good IT skills in your organization, it will come in handy, as they can manage the website well even if some problems occur later. When you need advanced functionality, it necessitates specific backend integration that can only be achieved with proper coding in a custom website.
If the background coding of your site is not done properly, it could actually hurt your online marketing efforts. A custom website will be unique and help you make your site stand out from among the thousands of sites online. Otherwise, it may just get buried among the other sites –and the little you had spent in terms of money and effort, will amount to nothing at all.
While in the short term it may seem as if a template is working wonders, in the long run you will find that it is more cost effective to have a custom site. A professional web designing team knows the ins and outs of website functionality intimately, and can provide valuable inputs to help optimize it to suit your specific business needs. You can ensure that your website functions just the way you want to, to provide your customers with the best browsing and purchase experience. You can even customize it for different customers, like offering suggestions based on their previous browsing and purchase history. This is not possible in template websites.
So in the long run, your business will be benefitted from a customized website design. Get a professional web development agency to create your website. Have a detailed discussion with the team to set some ground rules and communicate your expectations clearly. Reach an understanding regarding the graphics that will be created for your website – like can you use them for other purposes; what about your letterhead, brochures, signage, logo, and so on. Make sure your company branding is incorporated into your web design.