thoughts about the digital space.

custom-vs-template-website-design

Which method is better for your business?

In today’s digital age, it’s more important than ever for your company to have a website. As business owners ourselves, we understand the struggle of juggling finances and trying to get the most bang for your buck. We know the choice can be difficult when it comes to making financial decisions on services that are vital to your survival as a company, but the truth is when the investment is vital to increase revenue, reach more of your target audience, or make a recognizable brand for yourself you can’t afford to skimp out. When it comes to making a website for your business you’re left with two choices:

  1. A Custom Website Design
  2. A Template

Right now I’m going to go through 3 key aspects of websites, providing the pro’s and con’s of your two website choices. By the end of this article you should be able to identify what method will provide you with what you need to optimize your business and increase your revenue.

  1. Branding: How will your business stand out?

    Custom Website Design
    Custom websites look just like their name: custom. Website designers take the time to understand your goals and capture your business’s image on your website. Having one, cohesive brand not only sets your website apart from your competitors but also gives your business credibility since the graphics, content, and page layout are all customized to your business needs.

    Template
    There’s nothing worse than a potential customer looking at your website and immediately thinking: “I’ve seen this company before.” That’s one of the risks you run by using a template. In this situation, not only will your potential customer associate you with another company (potentially a competitor), but they potentially may leave your website and look for an alternative company. Templates, by nature, are designed for the masses. The template designer did not have your company’s specific goals in mind and frankly, doesn’t care if every company in your industry has the same design (which can often be the case).

  2. SEO: How is your business going to get found?

    Custom Website Design
    Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the buzzword of the day. You know it’s important, you’ve heard it talked about, but most likely you don’t really know what it means, or how to do it. And, you shouldn’t need to. As professional website designers and developers it’s our job to keep up with the industry, the latest trends, etc. so you don’t have to. This means, when you hire a team to develop you a custom website they know what to do so the search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) can read it, and index (list) it. It means when they develop your website they not only add pieces of code to the back-end of your website like meta-tags, but they code your website properly (and specifically) in order to let the search engine clearly ready it. They also work with you to ensure your keywords are being used properly throughout your content, and in the back-end. All of this is done in order to increase the amount of people that find your business online. And, with a custom website built for conversion, that means that you capture more leads / sell more products and increase your revenue.

    Template
    When it comes to website templates you’re normally doing the SEO yourself. Do you read industry articles and know the latest things you need to do in order to optimize your site? With the template you purchased are you able to change the code, edit meta tags, write custom page titles? Most template providers place little or no importance on SEO, provide an additional charge to be able to add SEO features to your website, or don’t allow you to do it at all. If you aren’t looking for customers to find you through online searches, but rather just to give you a web presence, and use your URL on print materials, then a template can work for you. Or, if you want to keep up on SEO techniques and can find a template that allows you to edit what you need to, it can work for you. Just remember time is money.

  3. Scalability & Adaptability: How will your website increase productivity & revenues?

    Custom Website Design
    When you own and operate your own business you know that things can change at any time. You may learn a new skill and be able to offer an additional service. Or, perhaps you saw a feature on another website (maybe even a competitor’s) that you want to add to your website. When you have a custom built website you have a team of web developers behind you to quickly assist you in incorporating these changes. When we launch a website we provide information to our clients on how to make a variety of changes on their website without using code, so they can continue to optimize it without us. We are also their support team, so when they want something a little more complicated we can easily scale their website to work for them. The key is to make sure your website is consistently doing it’s job. Whether that job is to sell a product or service, gather leads, etc. With a team of designers and developers behind you, it’s that much easier to adapt to changing needs.

    Template
    Changing content on a template can be a tricky task as what you see if often what you get. For example, the template may not allow you to add a page, only edit content on an existing page. A lot of template providers make you work within a box or frame and that’s what you get. If you want to add more you may have to learn HTML code, purchase an add-on, or hire someone to code it for you, which can take a longer time, cost you more money, and cause you to lose leads/potential customers, and revenue.

So, Is a custom website design right for your business?

The choice between a custom website design and a template can be a tough one. It all depends on the goals of your small business. Why do you want to make a website? Do you want to use it to drive new business to your company or build up your brand? Do you want one just to have it incase someone looks for you specifically (not a service/product you provide)?

The short answer is, if you are looking to invest in a lasting marketing tool for your business a custom website design is the choice for you. Although it can seem costly compared to many of the templates out there, custom website designs give you the biggest bang for your buck as they consistently drive new customers (and business) to your website and help you stand out from the competition.

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