Custom Web Design Vs. Website Templates Is There Really A Difference? Any small business owner knows the importance of cutting costs where possible. They operate in a fiercely competitive market, and operational efficiency is essential. But it’s important to be shrewd in where you make cuts – even in the realm of website design. Many business operators aren’t completely clear on the difference between custom-built websites and the slightly more affordable template versions. Both result in a functional, navigable website – but this shouldn’t be taken to mean that both avenues to website design are on equal footing. We’ll take a look at some of the key differences between these two approaches in the space below. Websites Built with Templates Are Like Modular Houses Template websites are designed to be used on a popular content management system (CMS) platform. A CMS allows you to create, edit and publish the content that appears on your website. The most popular of these is almost certainly WordPress, but there are many others. Design templates eliminate much of the preliminary work needed to publish a website by providing you with the framework for your site. This framework dictates how images and text are displayed, as well as how users interact with your site. Let’s consider homebuilding as an analogy. A website built on a template is akin to a modular house, which is available with limited configurations. You can take a few liberties in how you arrange the floorplan, but the constraints are fairly rigid. Setting a modular home apart from other homes built with the same schematics is more a matter of landscaping and interior design. All of the houses built on this plan are going to look more or less the same. A bespoke website, on the other hand, is more like a custom-built house. An architect draws up the plans; the construction team works with high-quality, locally sourced materials; and the finished product is in every way a reflection of the property owner’s desires and requirements. Here Are 3 Ways Custom Websites Deliver Greater Value As with homebuilding, bespoke website design costs more than modular (i.e. template) alternatives. But the payoff greatly outweighs the additional cost. We’ll look at four of those benefits in the space below: 1. Custom Websites Are Unique. You operate your business in a fiercely competitive environment where customers have greater access to products and information than ever before. They’re also constantly being bombarded with marketing messages designed to convince them that this or that product or service is the one they ought to be paying attention to – that this is the product that will finally address their problems. Modern consumers are necessarily discerning. If your website looks like one of several they’ve seen before, they’re not going to take it as seriously. They may even subconsciously assume that your product is as derivative and unoriginal as your cookie-cutter website. Custom sites, on the other hand, are very much an expression of your brand. Their look and feel set them apart, and this goes a long way toward making them more impactful and memorable. 2. Custom Websites Have a Bespoke Look and Feel. You would never expect a non-tailored suit to fit perfectly – and the same goes for websites. When you buy a website template, you’re actually investing in a static, one-off product. It exemplifies the one-size-fits-all concept. In fact, many template creators try to differentiate their products by advertising them as ‘flexible’ or ‘adaptable’. They know that their customers are tired of being forced to modify their own ideas to make them fit into the existing framework of a template. In other words, flexibility is a differentiating USP for a typical website template. Custom-built websites are inherently flexible. Before any initial design work is done, the designer will work extensively with the client to understand the site’s specific goals, as well as its projected needs and demands. This allows them to create a more perfect site that looks precisely how you imagined, advocates for your products in a compelling way and allows site visitors to interact with it as planned. You’ll never get this level of bespoke flexibility from a template. 3. Custom Websites Come with Real Support. In a best-case scenario, a templated website will feature nominal support. The developer might have a website where you can submit queries, search forums and interact with a community of other customers who have discovered and addressed problems with the site. This is better than nothing, but it’s far from the level of support a dynamic business requires. In a worst-case scenario, you’re completely on your own. You buy the template, upload it to your hosting server and hope for the best. When you actually hire a reputable developer to build a site for you, you also have the assurance that they’re going to be there to provide assistance when you need it. You’re less likely to encounter problems to begin with, as the site has been designed as a stand-alone end product. 4. Custom Websites Provide More-Targeted SEO. Finally, it’s worth noting that a custom-built website is better positioned to deliver higher marks in search engine optimisation (SEO). If you’ve chartered a developer with a strong understanding of SEO principles, they’ll be able to take advantage of all relevant optimisation techniques to ensure your target customers are able to find your site when searching for the products and services you offer. Templated websites simply can’t offer this level of customisation. They’re generic and flexible by design, which ultimately precludes the chance for targeted optimisation. There are workarounds, patches and add-ons that help, but none of these offers as effective a solution as a custom-built site. Let DIGITAL BASE Design a Custom Website for Your Organisation? A custom website will provide a higher return on investment from the day that it launches. Rather than having to constantly adjust and refine the settings, looking for the best way to balance your expectations with the built-in capabilities of a template site, your website will offer stronger performance out the gate. If you’re ready to design and commission your own custom website, let DIGITAL BASE walk you through the process. Our in-house developers and designers will work with you to determine precisely what you need in a website, and we’ll design it from the ground up. Once your site has gone live, you can be confident that no one else in the world is operating a site precisely like yours. We offer a wide range of development options, and see to it that you and your team can easily make changes and updates to the site in the future. And should you require any help down the road, we’ll always be there to lend a hand. Contact us today to find out more.