Template Or Custom? What Kind Of Web Design Is Right For You?
Scary to imagine, but there are over 2 billion websites on the internet at this point in time! There was a wonderful point in time where you could build a website and you would show up on the web and the traffic would just come! Unfortunately, that assumption still does exist amongst a wide array of people. But this is far from the good ol’ days.
75% of opinions on website credibility come from web design, so we think this just may be a little important to say the least.
Statistics and user experience show: Good Web Design = Credibility
In a recent article by WebFX
“75% of opinions on website credibility come through web design.”
This means that users when coming to your website can determine that there is a real business and you’ve taken the time to create a quality UX (user experience). Is it easy to navigate? Did I find what I’m looking for? Do the images speak to me? We know, this can be a bit “psychological” but its important to take these considerations in to account for your web presence.
WebFX continued, “38% of people will stop engaging with a website if they find it unattractive”.
This reiterates that a website isn’t all about beautiful – but in essence, its about converting leads and getting your business service or products noticed!
Which leads us to the COMMON questions:
1. Should I just use a template from a web-building tool (Wix, GoDaddy, SquareSpace, etc)
2. Or engage with a full-service web design and development team to build a custom site for my business.
So, Template or Custom Web Design?
The Quick Answer: It Depends (not such an easy answer)
If you, your business or non-profit is just getting started, in essence you may just need a couple of pages of basic information. In this instance, a cookie-cutter do-it-yourself template may be the best option! It can be used as a temporary site but as you look to add more features or a better design, these template websites can fall short.
Believe me, I could write and write on the template vs custom but let’s try and break it down.
Here are the 5 key things to consider if you are debating on whether using a template or custom website.
Overall Quality of the Final Product
Weebly, SquareSpace, Wix, GoDaddy Site Builder, Wordpress, and other do-it-yourself options continue to grow their capabilities over time. But still at this time of writing, they are still far behind a professional web site.
The DIY style sites can provide a basic format that will help you choose a color scheme, font size, spacing, navigation and images. Once you start to add more features you’ll quickly learn that this may be just a bit more difficult than planned. We get a few calls each month that have chosen to go the template route that now need help.
For web development companies, it can be more difficult to get in to these services and make the changes you want because of the structure. They simply don’t allow for customization.
Template sites will work just fine, but the lack of “design” is lacking in compared to custom websites. And always remember, if something breaks or if you get stuck, you are the quality assurance provider. Even down to cross browser compatibility and mobile compatibility across browsers and phones (android, iPhone, etc).
The Web Design Learning Curve
We won’t sit here and discredit the value of templates, we just understand that it can be difficult to undertake the task of building out a proper website. Designing something that WORKS is far different than a drag and drop solution that templates offer. If you are trying to run a business, the web portion may just become too time consuming, even for the sites that tout the simplicity of their website options.
If you don’t have the time or effort to learn web design or play around with a template, or add custom features or functionality, it may make sense to go with a web company that specializes in that specifically: only, high quality web design.
This also allows you to not have to go through the learning curve of the back-end development, CSS, or code to make simple changes to your site. IntelliSparx prides itself in delivering the full custom web solution that is easy to configure and change as needed!
Understanding What You Need
The most common features on a template styled website are a contact form, perhaps a calendar of events or updates, and an area to put up a blog. This could be the right solution for you and all that you recognize that you need for your project.
When clients decide to customize their site, or start at the beginning with a customized website with IntelliSparx, our goal is to not only take the ideas you have for your brand or business, but mix them together with our ideas and available data to make the right decision. If you have a specific unique feature you’re looking for, most likely you will be unable to find or implement that with a free website or template tool.
In the beginning phase we gather a “wish list” of features, goals, functionality, and more, to come to a set conclusion on how to design the site structure, but also how to develop it using modern web technology standards. Whereas with a template, you will only be able to implement a pretty basic layout with basic features.
Templates from DIY web design tools keep it simple. No animated bells or interactive whistles here.
Analytics and Ongoing Maintenance
Once you’ve got your site up, maintain your site and keeping it relevant for the search algorithms is a whole other battle to embark on. Optimizing your website from the technical aspects of SEO to the front-end content portion, doesn’t just happen over-night. You need the right team in place to create a long-term strategy to boost your site in Google search results.
With template sites such as Weebly or Wix (just an example of the many), it can get very time consuming and often fairly difficult despite the claims they are easy to use. You will need to stay on top of the SEO Trends that are happening and stay up to date on all the algorithm changes that could make or break your business.
These algorithm and SEO changes are very exciting to us, but to the average person can seem mundane and rather tiresome. These template sites do offer analytics installation but you won’t be able to really get down and dirty with the data to understand your site performance, and how to change it to increase visibility and find areas that you can improve.
When you go the custom web design route, the entire foundation of the site is optimized before pushing the site live. There is a check list of items we go through to give the site the best opportunity to comply with the search engines and get you ranked. But that is just the beginning, on a monthly basis content is added, tweaks to the site are done to keep the site relevant. Many of our clients go on to a monthly SEO plan that we spend hours each month updating the site and making sure its fully up to date.
We also do face to face meetings (or Zoom or Call if preferred), to discuss the trends we are seeing, what exactly we are doing and why. We want our clients to feel comfortable with us and strive for transparency. It can be very confusing why some sites rank better than others and we can easily take a look and see what the difference is.
For the entrepreneurs out there, who may seem a little green at first, to begin, we applaud you more than you’ll ever believe on your journey! But the website may be on the list of tasks to be done to create your dream. Just be aware that many of the template services won’t get you to the end goal. A bit of web design investment at the beginning, you will see the ROI well in to the future! Nothing more than we enjoy more than a company that is a bit wary at first, goes the custom web design route with us, then calls back a month later saying that was the best business decision made.
Whatever your service is, we certainly aren’t experts in that area. But web design and internet marketing are our core strengths. We just want you to succeed and the template route while may be a bandage at the start, won’t fully execute your goals.
So, when could a template site be the right choice for you?
A custom website seems kinda cool right? This is something we have a passion for and we do come across as nerdy, but we like to have fun as well while building out your project.
It does come with a higher cost, but if you have evaluated your budget and time, and getting something up quickly is what you need for the time being, that’s completely understandable! But whichever route you choose, you must evaluate the ROI (return-on-investment). Will a custom website pay for itself 10x over because you’ll be seen? Or will a template site cost you more in time and frustration from trying to do it yourself?
Lastly, if you’re business doesn’t need to rely on a website for much more than some basic information, it just may be a good idea to go with a template. A template will certainly work if you are just looking to show customers you’re location and services in a basic manner.
Always remember, should you decide to go a template route, you can always change course down the road when you are ready to invest in to something better, when you feel the situation is right.
When the Choice is Custom, Choose IntelliSparx
If you believe a custom website is right for you, good news, that’s why we’re in business! Our team of business experts, web developers, and SEO specialists are here to build you something custom that will work! You can always Request Information from us as well!
IntelliSparx has a wide roster of business, non-profit, and governmental agencies for which it has delivered professional web design, programming, and marketing throughout the US and beyond. Having worked and consulted with Fortune 500 companies down to 1 and 2 person businesses, we bring the experience from all levels of business. Understanding business at all levels allows us to deliver the latest results to all our clients web campaigns.
<< Go Back