The old saying goes, "don’t judge a book by its cover". However, in today’s digital world, a website’s "cover" is often the first impression that visitors get of your business. An appealing and functional web design can contribute positively to the overall brand image of your company.
When designing a website, it comes down to choosing a premade template or going with a complete custom design. Both can be great choices depending on your business and branding needs. So should you buy a template or get a developer to code your dream website for you? Before you make the decision, weigh each option carefully.
3 Advantages of Choosing Custom Web Design
1. Complete Customization
The best part of building a custom web design from scratch is that you can tailor make it to your exact needs and wants. You have the ability to incorporate the logo, theme color, and unique aspects of your business into the web design.
For many businesses, their websites are the single most important marketing channel. A customized template is an effective self-promotion to build brand presence and raise brand awareness amongst visitors.
You can work with a graphic designer to layout the exact look and feel of your website. Then take this design to a web developer to code it out into a live website. If you don’t have an in-house web design and development team, popular platforms such as Upwork and 99design are reputable marketplaces to hire freelancers. You can easily post a job or filter through candidates and choose the ideal contractor with your given budget.
2. UX Focused
UX means user experience. Effective web design not only has to be functional, but more importantly, it has to be user-friendly. A great user experience can improve website conversion rate and better engage visitors.
The aesthetics of a website play a major role in delivering user experience. According to Adobe, the leader in creative software, 38% of visitors stop engaging with a website if the layout and content are deemed unattractive.
With custom-built web designs, you have the advantage of bringing in elements and styles that cater to your target audience. In addition, you can work with the developer to make sure that the website design is responsive, SEO optimized, and mobile-friendly.
3. Growth Potential
The beauty of a custom website is that you can make changes and updates according to your business needs. This is extremely beneficial for improving user experience because you can continue to scale your website’s functionality, aesthetics, and usability based on your customer’s feedbacks.
Another aspect of a custom designed website is the ability to be very detail oriented in making the website support your branding and marketing effort. Take advantage of custom website’s flexibility to continually grow your business online.
3 Things You Need to Consider When Choosing Custom Web Design
1. Budget Control
Hiring developers to code a website to your exact standards is a project that requires a sizable budget. No matter what scale of a website you are creating, there are many components involved in the design process that calls for the help of a professional.
For example, other than the web developer, a graphic artist is needed when you are wireframing the web designs for coding. Especially when you are incorporating the theme of your company into the design, and building an infrastructure for specific marketing needs.
With that said, make sure you have a feasible budget that you can stick to. It can help you avoid unwanted overspending and delay.
2. Website Maintenance and Management
Up keeping a website is a constant task. Whether you have a custom-built CMS (content management system) or you are using one of the popular platforms such as WordPress or Joomla, a custom coded website requires ongoing maintenance and management.
From simple fixes to major updates, if you don’t have the technical skills to manage the backend of a website, it is best to leave it to the developer. Many webmasters, however, are taking the initiatives to learn coding and web designing. It not only lets you take more control of your website, but more so, it helps you to better understand and work with a web development team.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to learn web development and design. In fact, you can do it in the comfort of your home and on your own schedule. CodeSchool is the perfect online environment for those looking to learn everything about coding and web development. Lynda and Udemy offer a wide range of professionally taught courses from web design to online marketing. They are great self-learning tools that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
3. Time Spent
The time needed to complete a custom web design is much longer than the time it takes to upload a template. Sometimes, a web design project can take weeks or even months. There is a lot of testing and troubleshooting involved during the process. Web developers need to make sure that the logic of the website flows seamlessly.
When your website is a significant part of your daily business, downtime often negatively affects revenue. So make sure your developer works with you to perfect the website on a testing platform before making it live.
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3 Advantages of Using Website Template
1. Easy to Install
Website templates are popular choices amongst bloggers and website owners. There are many beautiful, responsive web designs out there that are easy and convenient to use. For those who opt for WordPress and Joomla CMS (content management system), there are many template options available for easy installation.
Website template providers like TemplateMonster offers thousands of responsive design themes for different CMS such as WordPress, Joomla, and Magento (e-commerce platform) websites. You can follow easy installation instructions on TemplateMonster to put together a professional looking website in a few minutes.
- Get the best Wordpress, Joomla, or Magento template themes to meet your business needs
- Gain access to thousands of design templates that are all responsive and mobile friendly
- Modernize your website with a new look and feel to improve user experience
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2. Cost Efficient
Comparing to a custom-built web design, web templates cost much less. You can buy a completely responsive, mobile-friendly web template for under $100 (templates starting at $41 with TemplateMonster). Versus spending thousands of dollars to hire a developer and a graphic designer, web templates seem like a great option to start out with.
With the low up-front cost of a template, many businesses are able to put out attractive and functional websites quickly. With the help of CMS (content management system), uploading and managing information on your website can be done with little or no technical skills. Premade templates have opened up opportunities for many businesses to set up a modern and professional looking website without spending a ton of money.
3. Abundant Options
One of the biggest dilemmas in web design is choosing the right theme and style. With template websites like TemplateMonster, you are able to choose from abundant design categories that fit your company’s theme.
Many of the premade templates allow you to select a color theme of your choice, and they also come with alternative module layouts. You can choose the most suitable look and module arrangement for your business needs in a few clicks. With so many different design choices, you are bound to find one that speaks to your taste.
3 Things You Need to Consider When Using Website Template
1. Limited Customization
The downside of using a template is the limitation on how much you can customize a website. Although many template providers make intuitive designs that allow users to easily make color and layout changes, it is still far less flexible than a custom-built.
Once you’ve opted for a template, you can still make structural changes. However, if you do not know how to code, you would need to hire a developer to make tweaks on the template. This is where it would cost you money. In fact, according to our personal experience, making major structural changes to a template can cost almost as much as building a website from scratch.
2. Growth Restriction
A template can become outdated fast. In addition to the design, the security, and compatibility of your template can become obsolete. Since the web environment constantly changes, it is a good idea to have a developer audit your website periodically to make sure that both the back and front end are without vulnerability.
The other shortcoming of a website template is its limitations on complete SEO optimization based on UX (user experience). You may not be able to make every module, button, or image placement according to your exact business and conversion needs. In other words, as your business grows, you can outgrow a template very fast.
3. No Exclusivity
When you are using a popular template for your website, there can be other websites out there using the same thing. There is usually no exclusivity with premade templates. Unless, of course, you are willing to pay a premium for a custom-built and buying out its copyrights.
The disadvantage of using a generic design is the inability to show your company’s uniqueness. Every website has a personality, and to visitors, it represents the first impression of your business. Therefore, templates may give you less opportunity to fully demonstrate the branding and distinctive characteristics of your company.
So the bottom line is, think about what is most important objective for your website design that you cannot compromise. Whether you are going with a custom-built website or choosing a template, as long as it fulfills your business needs, it is a good option for you.