As a (new) business owner you are always looking how to save money and make your business profitable. When it comes to creating a web site for your business, just like your marketing and stationery, your website needs to project a professional image. The more professional looking your business appears on users desktops, tablets and mobiles, the more creditable it looks.
Many business owners don’t really understand the difference between having a custom web design created, and using website templates/free web sites. In this article we’ll look at both ways of having your website built, the costs involved, and the Good and Bad points of both.
Custom Web Design
Many think having a custom web design is too expensive but let’s look at the advantages of
it, over using a free website template or purchasing one.
Benefits of custom web design:
With a custom web design it is created just for your business. Your website will be different from anyone else’s.
More adaptable to your company’s needs
If you have done your website planning, you will have a list of features you wish to have. By prioritizing this list of website features, you will give us an idea of what to accommodate for in the future if your current budget doesn’t allow all the features to be implemented from the start.
Other points to consider when deciding if custom web design is for you.
- Are you planning to maintain the website yourself? Then unless you know your programming code, you are going to have to request that a content management system be incorporated into the web design. There are virtually no limitations on what this CMS can do for you, and as a custom-built web site, you can request exactly what you want to manage yourself, and what can remain “static” or edited only by us.
- Are you permitted to use the graphics created for the website for other purposes?The website design should incorporate your company’s branding. If you have already established your company branding, then that branding should be incorporated into the website. A custom web site can exactly match your branding, and positioning of elements on the pages can be made very specific.
- A custom web site can need external sources to take payments and run carts (ie, we often use Romancart for this). It takes away the hassle of securely storing client data, as it is held remotely on a secure web site, where you can do all your marketing and voucher codes.
There is a misconception on how beneficial and economical using free website templates or purchased website templates is. Let’s look at some points about website templates:
Website templates are good for:
- Getting inspiration on colours, layouts and features. We don’t copy these, but they do give the you the client, and us an idea of what you want your web site to look like.
- Very low budgets where you need to get up and running as soon as possible. If budget is holding you back from getting your business up on the Internet, then maybe a website template might be the way to go.
- Shorter development time.It would appear that using a website template would include a shorter development time required for your website. Not really, read on.
- easy-to-setup carts and payments, as many systems like WordPress themes enable this pretty quickly.
Now onto other considerations when choosing a website template.
Using website templates do have some downfalls:
- There is going to be a ton of other people using the same template.Unless you pay the “Exclusive” price for the template, the template website is going to keep selling that same template to anyone that comes along. Keep in mind, even if you pay the exclusive price, there are others who have bought the template prior to you and they still have the right to use it.If it’s a really appealing template, there may be lots of other people who have already bought that very template.
- You will be limited on the customization of the website template. These templates are often coded in such a way that changing it, can affect other parts of the web site, outside your or our control. An example of this is you want to create a new page, that shows only certain types of products (ie, only red tshirts), and you want a filter button that can change that to show only the blue tshirts in your library. That can be next to impossible to achieve, without paying the template creator an unseen amount of money.
- Some templates are laid out very specific. Meaning if you incorporate your own graphics or have extensive content, the template could break.
- Some website templates are not built to be search engine friendly.As explained above, it is important how the background coding of your website is done. If not done correctly, it could hurt your marketing efforts on the internet. Our Custom Built web sites are created so that you can edit the “META” information for every product and every category of the web site.
- Antiquated coding.If the website template uses antiquated coding, it might not work in all browsers.Browser specific features are another sign of antiqated coding.
Custom Web Design or Website Template?
When deciding if a custom web design is the way to go or if a website template is a better choice, keep in mind that you want your business to stand out from the crowd and be memorable.
In either case, you are still going to have to do some work to get up there in the search engine results. Having a website that looks nice is only part of the internet marketing package. You will have to research the phrases that your target audience would type in the search box to find you then incorporate those phrases into the content and “Meta” information on each of your pages.
We are here to help all the time, and happy to create a custom web site, or template sites. You are the client; it’s your choice. But we guide you to what’s available and the costs and efforts involved.