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Web Wise: Custom vs. Template Sites

Stock templates for websites are now widely available. So do you really need to invest in a custom website design for your brand? A custom website design may offer critical advantages that you can't get out of the box. We've identified six key elements to consider for the best website fit.

You know you need a website. So where do you start? Do you need to invest in a full custom website design? Or will one of the widely available out-of-the-box stock templates get the job done? How do those measure up against a custom website design and how can you know which to choose and when? To make the best choice for your brand, it’s important to understand the advantages and limitations of both approaches.

What’s the Difference?

First, it’s important to understand the difference in these two types of website.

A custom website design is one that is built from the ground up without the use of a preexisting framework layout. Often crafted by a creative design team, custom-built websites are designed and built to be unique to their specific brand, organization, or product in every aspect.

A stock template website on the other hand is built on a preset framework layout with standard prebuilt functionality. Today, templated websites are widely available and commonly used as they allow the construction and operation of a basic website with less reliance on a web developer.

How Will I Know?

When it’s time to decide on your website build, start by considering these six key elements to make sure you choose the right build method for the best website fit.

Branding: In today’s web-centric world, your website is often the flagship representation for your brand in the marketplace. That means that your website is a critical opportunity to make a strong impression. A custom website design is entirely unique to your brand without limitations on the creativity and content you can use to make your brand stand out.

On the other hand, have you ever landed on a website and had the unmistakable feeling that you’d been there before? Well, you probably had. While there is a broad range among templated sites with varying levels of ability to personalize, their widespread use can make one site blend into the next.

Flexibility and Scalability: It’s important to consider not just your current needs but your future needs when evaluating a website build. Because templated websites are built with predetermined design and functionality capabilities, they can be difficult to customize or grow over time. Custom websites are generally more malleable with greater flexibility to evolve and change when needed without having to start from scratch.

Security: Research shows that templated websites tend to be less secure and are hacked more often than custom sites. This may be because many templated sites are not fully optimized from the outset or not kept up to date on security as consistently, leaving more vulnerabilities for hackers to exploit.

Ease of Use: Most templated websites are designed for the average user with little to no web development knowledge. As a result, they are natively easy to use from set-up to maintenance. On the other hand, custom-built sites require experienced designers and developers to create. A custom site can however incorporate a user-friendly content management interface to make routine content maintenance accessible and intuitive for end users.

SEO: In general, custom websites tend to outperform templated sites when it comes to SEO performance. This may be thanks to the extra time that a development team puts into planning and building sites that are easy for search engines to crawl and implementing optimization measures that are specific to that site and client’s needs.

Budget and Time: Templated websites are now available virtually on demand and at a generally low cost. Custom website designs on the other hand will carry a higher price tag and take longer to develop and deploy. Those extra days and dollars though may prove to be a worthy investment in creating a site that has the character and longevity you want for the long term.

Ready to talk about the website solution you need? Connect with Clementine to learn more.

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