If you are in the process of building a website, or are looking to build one soon, it is more than likely you will have to ask yourself this question at one point: “What is better, getting a custom designed website or using a template?”
What do you think? Is it better to go with a template – the cheaper, “easier” option, or should you find a professional who can customize your website and build it with you and your brand in mind?
We want to give you a closer look at these options, and help you understand what they really mean – so you can take your business to the next level.
Understanding the difference between a template vs. a custom site
Why Use a Website Template?
Though there are many situations where having a template makes things better, quicker, and easier, this is usually not the case when it comes to building a website for your brand or business.
Templates have their place, of course, but often if you buy a template to create your website on your own, you are going to be stuck doing a LOT of work you may not know how to do.
A template is typically you getting a domain and hosting with a “Template” shell you have to figure out on your own. Most of the time, they do not customize anything for you. This means taking time to fix everything yourself, and most people simply don’t have the time or web design skills to do that.
We have personally seen this type of situation happen more than once, with some of our own clients.
Years ago, one of our clients bought a template to build her website for $200 (before she came to us). She thought she could customize the template herself, and that it would be really easy to incorporate her brand. After struggling with it for a while, she realized she wasn’t able to properly fix her website and came to us for help.
And sure, she may have bought this template for a cheap price, but it just became a waste of money as soon as we realized this template didn’t give her the structure she needed – we had to start from scratch.
Time and money were wasted, and it could’ve been avoided if she had searched for a professional to customize her website for her.
Another client of ours came to us with a similar problem, except she had spent way more than she needed to for a template. She ended up spending 3x as much on her own as she would have working with us in the first place.
Don’t waste your money on something that might turn out okay. We encourage you to find a professional who can create something that is easy to navigate, is customized to your brand, and looks professional.
DIY websites usually miss the mark on SEO and Security
Using a template to build your website means you will probably skip steps that are crucial to being found online, things that really make a difference in the long run.
Some of the biggest offenders we see DIY-ers make are SEO, security and analytics installations. Without security and analytics done properly, your website will be more vulnerable to hackers, viruses, and you won’t be able to gather the proper data you need.
Not only have we seen Do-It-Yourself website builders overlook security and analytics, but we’ve also seen e-commerce businesses forget to fully set up checkout and miss out on sales because of it.
If your business relies on sales from your website, this is a step that is crucial not to miss.
You also don’t want to skip steps with SEO (or Search Engine Optimization). An understanding of Search Engine Optimization can take your business above and beyond, putting you higher on Google searches and more.
Taking “shortcuts” and frantically trying to publish your website without finding the best keywords for your business, or structuring data and adding Alt-Text on your images could rob you of potential clients, customers, sales and more.
When you use a generic template to make your site, there are other potential problems that are easy to overlook, or you may not understand as well.
- You may not understand that you should name your pictures properly, that you should give them ALT-Text. You may not even know where to find these things on your web page builder
- Your images may be massive, slowing down your site. How do you know what sizes to use on different parts of your website? Is the graphic size for a heading different from the graphic size for a blog? What about graphics for your products?
- Do you know how to properly use heading tags?
- You may not realize you should have links to other areas of your site or off site for better SEO. Where should these links be? How do you do it properly? How does this rank you higher in SEO?
These are only a few of the questions you really need to keep in mind – things that are easy to miss unless a professional is involved.
Why should you use a professional website designer to get a custom site?
Your business is very important. When it comes to building a website, you want to make sure that the website accurately represents your business and your brand, right?
If this is what you want, then hiring a professional is the way to go.
Not only do you get to avoid the mistakes and problems mentioned earlier, but the professionalism of your site draws people in. Even just the way a website looks can create trust between you and a potential client. If they see that you took your time and took the right steps to make a quality website, they are more inclined to buy from you or refer you to a friend.
You want your business to look professional and high quality, not sketchy and iffy. Have you been to one of those website that just doesn’t look great? It makes you nervous to make a purchase sometimes because there aren’t testimonials, the images are too small, there’s too much color clashing, things don’t work, or it just feels messy in general.
We’ve all seen a website like that, right? It’s the type of website you should avoid making if you want your business to be successful.
There are custom little details that are incredibly useful and make all the difference to your business. Things you don’t want your website to miss out on, like testimonials, contact info, how to purchase, etc. Though easily overlooked, these details, when incorporated into your site, shows how much you care about your business.
Plus, a custom site can still use a theme for creative elements like button shapes, cool features, and website functions, but it will be customized to you and your brand. You aren’t stuck with any one layout that you have to scramble through or figure out on your own.
When you opt for a custom website, you are opting for the best. A website designed by a professional will stand out far and above a “Do-It-Yourself” website. Lead capture will be one of the main points of the site design, and help you stand out above the rest.
So even though a template website might sound like a good idea, in the end, it’s better if you go a different route.
Consider hiring someone who knows what to do. You may spend less, and get more bang for your buck in a shorter time frame, working with a designer to create a customized website.
By now, you probably have a sense of which direction you should go to build your website. You can still choose to use a template if you feel it’s the right option, but if you are looking for branded content, security, and quality results in a timely manner, we recommend going with the customized option.
Work with a professional, and get the results you want. We are happy to help! Contact us now if you need help creating your website, and we’ll give you a quote!