Are you thinking of getting a new website for your business? If so, there are lots of questions you need to ask yourself before you get started – one of which being whether you should shell out for a bespoke website or make do with an off-the-shelf template. There are pros and cons to both options, but really, if you’re serious about your online activity, a custom website will win every time. Here’s why.
A Unique Design
When you go with a custom website, you can be assured that none of your competition is going to have a website quite like yours. You’ll stand out from the crowd and have a competitive edge; a website that is different is more likely to stick in a potential customers mind.
You can show off your company’s personality and culture through the design, whereas if you use a pre-made template, you’re unlikely to have this flexibility. With a pre-existing template or theme, it’s safe to assume that there are other websites out there exactly like yours.
Flexibility and Customisation
Just as it says on the tin – a custom website is built around the needs of your business and functions exactly how you want it to. Your developer will do their research and will gain a full understanding of your branding and your business, what you want the site to look like, and your business goals. A good developer will build your website around your marketing strategy. After all, the whole point of a website is to help you achieve your business goals, so why wouldn’t you build it around these?
With pre-made templates, there’s not much customisation available. You’ll be able to change basic design elements, such as the background, logo, and header images, but that’s pretty much as far as it goes. The layout is also not usually adaptable to change, so if you have any special requirements, a pre-built template is not the best way to go.
A custom website can always be expanded as your business grows, or as you have new ideas for promotion. If you decide you want to add features, like a member’s only section, an online shop, or a project portfolio, your developer will be able to do this for you. As we discussed above, pre-made templates just don’t have very much flexibility. You don’t want to spend time and money building a website to then find you can’t add new features to it, and have to start all over again.
A good web developer will offer a support service once the website is built. They’ll be able to diagnose and fix any problems you have with your website, whereas with a template, you rarely have that luxury. You won’t be able to get in touch with the person who built the theme, and if you’re not up to speed with code, a problem with your site could mean hours trawling through help forums and trying to figure it out. Who has time for that? You’re busy running your business; just picking up the phone and speaking to your developer will save a load of time and stress.
A good web design agency will constantly be updating their code to make sure their websites are always fully optimised and up to date. They also keep up with new SEO best practices. This will help to keep your website working as well as it can to help you achieve your business goals. With a DIY template, there’s much more pressure on you to keep up to date with these things, and as a business owner, it’s likely that your time is already taken up with other things.
The Downside Of A Custom Website?
Having said all that, it’s important to consider the cons of a custom built website. In terms of speed of delivery, yes a custom website will take longer to deliver. Ask yourself, do you need to have a website up and running immediately, or can it wait a few weeks? If for whatever reason, you need a website right now and it can’t wait, then a template is probably the way to go.
You’ll also need to consider costs. It goes without saying, a lot more time and work goes into building a custom design, so it is going to cost you more. If you’re on a very tight budget and just can’t afford a custom-made website, then a template is a good alternative that will cost you a lot less. However, particularly in this digital age, your website is absolutely vital to the success of your business. So we’d urge you to ask yourself: is a website a cost to your business, or an investment?
Whether you’ve decided to take the plunge and go for a custom-made site or you feel that a template would be better for you, we can help. Discuss your options with one of our web team today – we’d love to chat.