If you are in need of a website, there are a lot of factors to consider. Since everyone has different website needs, the type of websites will vary. There are many factors to consider in the process and we understand how overwhelming it can be. Here are some considerations to help you make the choices.
Top 5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Website
- Template Website or a Custom Website
- Business Needs
Your business needs, budget, functionality, and timeline play a role in the decision, as well as what you want the users to experience and interact with.
The 1st Consideration:
Template Website or a Custom Website?
The 1st thing to consider when you are choosing a website is whether to go with a template website or a custom website. This is the 1st question you should ask yourself. This answer will determine what route you will take on the website-building journey.
What is the Difference Between a Template Website and a Custom Website?
Template Website 101
Template websites are one of the most known and marketed in the website industry. We have all heard of the “drag and drop” websites for years now. Template websites are commonly seen on popular Client Management Systems, aka CMSs, such as WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, or Shopify.
What is a Template Website?
Template websites are pre-designed layouts. They allow people to place content directly onto a webpage, creating simple websites. These designs are preset for the user to follow and usually limit the amount of content and block sections to the template set parameters. Commonly, elements such as images, galleries, symbols, and content blocks can be found in these prebuilt templates and themes.
Now, deciding if this is the correct choice for your specific needs is important. Below you will find the pros and cons of template websites.
Template website Pros
- Quickest web solution
- Easy to find on popular CMSs
Template websites are great for businesses that may be held back by a budget and would prefer to get something set up on their own. You can typically get a free template with a monthly cost and extra add-ons for other features you want. If you want something super simple and basic this may be the way to go. Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, and WordPress Templates are all examples of these.
Template websites are super quick and easy to set up with drag-and-drop features that will allow you to customize your own site, with little to no coding knowledge required. They also give some idea as to how your website should look and which colors and setup you should have.
With this being said, not all templates and themes are created equal. Read on the cons to learn why.
Template website Cons
- Limited customization and functionality
- Limited range of features
- Low SEO performance and SEO compatibility
- Cookie-cutter styling
- Lack of unique UX and UI
- Not all templates are easy to use
- High chance of glitches and broken code
- Frequent updates
- Website security risks
- Lack of provider and developer support
A huge con for template websites is they are only customizable within a certain range of features. The functionality is super limited on a template website.
Since they are pre-built and coded, they aren’t always optimized for mobile and they don’t perform well with SEO.
Website templates are very cookie cutter and they all look the same. You definitely don’t want to have your website look like everyone else, and blend into the crowd. Many template built websites can be spotted from a mile away due to the repetitive styling and User Experience.
A template website is often not the way to go for a professional business website.
Not all templates are easy to use
In today’s world, marketing for do-it-yourself websites has become increasingly popular. It seems like more and more people are following the DIY, drag-and-drop trend. This may seem appealing, easy, and a great idea, but there are plenty of website templates and CMS theme builders that are the complete opposite.
With so many options for drag-and-drop websites, the decision-making can be a bit foggy. Let’s say you chose a common template website from a popular CMS. You download it after seeing the preview images and raving reviews. You click on the first page you’ll be making, and nothing looks or operates as described on the preview info page. The ability is nothing like you imagined from the information provided beforehand. Maybe, even the builder is not as easy to operate as the reviewers said.
Typically, templates can be glitchy. The code can break, updates can mess with a user’s established website, and the whole system is ruined. When this happens, many times support from the theme provider or development team cannot be found. You reach out and get crickets in response.
This is a common situation that plays out every day for business owners, bloggers, and newcomers to the website world. We can imagine how defeating and overwhelming that can be. It makes some people want to quit then and there, cleaning their hands of the website-building process. The last thing you want is to be in a website mess and left helpless.
If this situation sounds familiar, we recommend reaching out to a website professional.
We understand how many tasks are already at hand for business owners. Adding a website into the mix is overwhelming. Running your business is the first priority. A professional can take care of the website while you worry about your other responsibilities.
If you are looking for website assistance, contact our team for help. We are happy to build your website properly, guide you through the process, and educate you on what we do. We take pride in working directly with our clients as real people, not computers.
Custom Website 101
Custom website Pros
- No limitations
- Completely custom
- SEO ready
- On-brand UX and UI
- Fits your specific needs
- High security
- Direct developer and designer contact
- Builds customer trust
The sky is the limit on custom websites. These are hard-coded and completely custom to your business’s needs. There are no constraints here other than your budget, unlike templates, but at this point that doesn’t matter nearly as much.
All of the elements of your website will be to your needs and will look exactly how you want it to. Responsive design, mobile-friendly design, and SEO optimization are much easier. Significant changes to your website can be made with little work, and you won’t have to worry about your website breaking or plugins being outdated. Custom sites are often more secure, especially when built correctly.
When you are getting a custom website, you are working directly with professional designers and developers. No bots, real people. Choosing a team for your website that will stay with your through the whole process can help create the best website you’ve ever dreamed of. They understand your needs and work together to make a cohesive product.
Custom website Cons
- Detailed development skills required
- The price tag
- Takes more time
Detailed Development Skills Required
The biggest con to a custom website is that if you don’t have the development skills, you’ll have to hire someone to build it or contract a company. If this is the case, it is wise to hire a professional developer to avoid any hurdles that can be along the process of doing it yourself as well as security issues or technology setbacks. Working with a developer will ensure your website is secure, operating properly, meets website standards, and is error-free.
The price to build one of these websites often start at $5000 and can go as high as hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, if you are a company doing 1 million in net profit, this is of little concern and is almost necessary. Most likely, you will need to have a developer or contractor on retainer for monthly website maintenance and changes. A professional developer will take care of code, CMS setup, changes, hosting, and registrar configuration.
Takes More Time
Coding a website from scratch also takes much longer than a template website. If you are looking for a quick fix, a template may be a better option. With that, you will get a fast and cheap result. If you are looking to invest in your business and are willing to plan ahead for a timeline, then a custom website may be right for you.
Custom websites are for individuals who want their websites to be as professional as they are. They care about the details, keeping in mind that their team and customers will be experiencing the platform.
If maintaining a brand and reputation that your business already holds is important to you, then your virtual presence should match without compromise.
Having a strong online presence can help build and re-establish your brand, gaining credibility with your current and new customers. Learn about the importance of a web presence here.
In addition, it makes your business more readily accessible to customers so they can find out more information about what your business has to offer from the comfort of their homes. People can tell when the effort and time have been put into your website.
The 3rd Option: Hybrid Website
Where Templates and Custom Development Collide
There is one more option that is fairly typical nowadays. A web developer can utilize a template website to give you a custom site from a template. A lot of development companies have custom templates on platforms like WordPress and Shopify, to cut the cost of building a site and also the time. This allows for developers to custom-build your website while integrating a popular Client Management System.
This is a good option if you have a little higher budget but not enough for a custom website, and you want to be able to manage and make changes to the website on your own. This way of building a website can fit most people’s needs and be exactly how they want.
In addition, if you have a current website from common CMS, your developer may be able to build on that current CMS while maintaining the environment. It can be a great method to keep your current website information such as integrations, emails, e-commerce software, media, and blog posts.
This hybrid method of development is increasingly popular, especially for e-commerce businesses. It can be extremely painful and difficult to start from scratch with an e-commerce website if you already have one in place. You risk losing all your data such as:
- User information
- System data
- Shipping method
- E-commerce integrations
- and other shop settings
With a hybrid website, you can keep your information in place while revamping your website system.
Check out these hybrid websites:
Still Undecided? Don’t Stress.
If you are left with more questions or are undecided, reach out to us and we can help you navigate through the process. Contact our developers to set up a free consultation call.