Advantages of a Custom Designed Website

Category: design • 3 minute read.
Photo of a computer screen with code on it
Photo credit: Emile Perron
This article written by Paul Wolke. Published on August 31, 2021.

Tailor-made vs. Template

It’s tempting to use a template for your website. You quickly see results by “filling in the blanks”. Before you know it, you are up and running with a new site. Here are some points to consider when deciding between a template and a custom made site.

The introductory paragraph on the home page looks great with the prescribed number of words. But it doesn’t look quite right with just a few words more or less than the template intended. It looks unbalanced with your photo next to it. What do you do? You could crack open the template’s HTML and CSS and start looking for a way to finesse the layout. Oh, but by doing this, you are also effecting other areas of the site that use that same code.

Another alluring example of templates is the stock photos used as placeholders for your images. These are not photos of your business, services, or products. The photos you have are almost certainly going to have a distinct look and feel to them.

Let’s look at one more example. Templates will usually come with several page types (e.g., a company info page, a blog post page, a contact us page, etc.). These may fit the need for some content you wish to display. However, there will almost certainly be a need for a page type that doesn’t fit with one in the template. Again, you’re stuck with a compromise of your brand’s integrity and uniqueness.

It’s easy to see where this can snowball out of control. Templates come with plenty of opinions on how information gets presented on the screen. It’s up to you to decide if the compromise on your brand is worth the initial cost savings. Not to mention, your site will look like everyone else’s using that template.

Planning is baked in

When planning a new custom website, you are defining how this site will look and function. This is a major shift from a template in that you’re generating a “specific list of instructions” for designers and developers to work from. Alternatively, changing a template to fit your look and your functionality inevitably leaves you with large amounts of unused code, or code that has to integrate into a template. This has far-reaching effects in the areas of maintainability and security.

SEO is Easier

It’s worth mentioning SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as part of the planning process. Templates rarely include what’s needed for your business to be searchable on the internet. When you’re building a site from scratch, you can plan out elements (like ALT tags and URL structure) that yield a higher search result naturally–without having to buy an ad.

What Are The True Costs?

We can measure cost in dollars, time, and the desired result. Templates will have a lower initial cost and get you started quickly. Tradeoffs in your brand’s consistency, web friendliness, maintainability, and security are large concessions to leave on the table. With a custom site, you are paying for the things you need and want, and nothing you don’t. You are also getting a site that will move and grow with your business more easily. A custom website has the foundation to last much longer than a template.

Let’s talk about what kind of website is right for you. Get in touch

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