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Should I choose a bespoke website or a template?

The last blog looked at the difference between the cost of a hiring a web designer and the value that they give. One of the things that can have an influence on cost and value, is whether to choose a bespoke web design project or go for the cheaper template option. Should I choose a bespoke website or a template? Ah, the burning question. There are pros and cons for both.

What’s the difference?

There are many differences in a project as a whole but the main one is that a bespoke site will be designed specifically for you and your business before any coding is done, and a template site has already been built and you just simply slot in your logo, content and imagery. The most important difference is what will each of these approaches do to affect your business’ success online.

Template websites

Template sites are easy to come by. Some low-priced web designers use them (and some top-priced ones, believe it or not), with a bit of knowledge they’re available for you to do yourself from places like Themeforest, you can even do them for next to nothing with no experience from providers like Wix. They are cheaper and quicker to put together than bespoke sites which makes them affordable if you’re on a budget. It may be that you only need a simple web presence to get your business online or you may not be relying on your website for generating business, making money or garnering new leads.

Pros

  • Cheap and quick to launch
  • Good for start ups
  • Don’t require a huge amount of coding knowledge, if any, to do.
  • Easy to use and update.

Cons

  • They’re limited in what they will let you do, e.g. you may not be able to add certain functionality, like a payment checkout. Many will not even let a web professional add more functionality.
  • They are not unique. Several other companies will have the same website as you. It’ll be a clone and your business won’t ‘stand out from the crowd’.
  • Templates are often badly coded, buggy and prone to breaking. This could affect search engine positions, website load time and, even worse, your business if your website goes down.
  • They’re less likely to generate new business as they are untargeted, unfocussed and lack marketing planning. There’s more to a successful web design than a site just looking nice and paying for a template site is more likely to be a cost, rather than an investment.
  • Security is an issue and commercially available themes and templates are targets for hackers.
  • Little or no follow up support.

Bespoke websites

A bespoke website is one that is researched, marketed, designed and built specifically for your business. At the beginning of the project there is a completely blank slate. A good web designer should find out as much about your business as possible, your objectives, what the outcomes of the website should be, and then perform enough research, discovery and planning to inform a bespoke design. This option is more suitable for businesses who will rely on their website for lead generation, increasing revenue and using it as a business tool.

Pros

  • It’s unique. No other business will have a site like yours and it will represent your brand exactly how you want.
  • The site will be correctly targeted for your audience and ideal customers, and positioned in its correct place in the market.
  • Proper planning will have been undertaken to ensure desired objectives and outcomes are met. It’s much more likely to generate new business as user-experience, user-interaction, sales funnels and userflows are all considered.
  • Functionality is limitless. The site can be built to do whatever you want it to.
  • Your developers should be able to continue to support you after the site has gone live. Your website should develop with your business and they will be able to fix anything that goes wrong.
  • The site will be well-built which means it’ll be faster, error-free, and likely to perform better in search engine results as a result.
  • Your site will be future-proofed and much more secure.
  • Your site is an investment and intended to recoup the money you spent on it by generating new business.

Cons

  • Bespoke projects take longer to complete. Because of the amount of time that goes into planning, designing and custom building, the delivery time is further away.
  • Bespoke sites are more costly. They are designed and delivered by people with a high level of expertise who put much more work in, and this is what you are paying for.

Which one to pick?

Should I choose a bespoke website or a template, I hear you ask? We would always advocate a bespoke build for companies who want their websites to work for them. It’s proven that custom websites generate more money in the long term for businesses if that’s what they need their websites to do. But cost is always a consideration – everyone has a budget. Again, with reference to the last blog on the difference between cost and value, it’s a balancing act between what you can afford, what you need the site to do and whether what you’re spending, a lot or a little, is worth it.

Please get in touch with us if you’re unsure, undecided, or positively baffled. Our advice is free and we’d be happy to help. 🙂

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay 

Posted in Help and Advice, User Experience

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