Your business’s website is the single most important marketing tool you can have in 2020. In the digital age the first thing a customer will do is search for your business online and look at your website. From here customers will often base the worth and trustworthiness of your business solely on the aesthetics of your website and brand.
If you’re searching the market to build a website you’ll often be faced with the option of a custom built website or a much cheaper already-built templated website. Although both styles have their pros and cons, at Hopscotch we’re always going to persuade you towards the custom built website option as we believe in the power of originality, standing out and above all else, a great user experience. In our careers we’ve made plenty of custom and templated websites; here are our thoughts on the age-old Custom vs Template argument.
One of a Kind Design with Custom Features
No one makes a business to blend in, so why make a website with a template that thousands of people are already using? Stand out from the competition with a completely custom, one of a kind website designed specifically for your business and customer needs.
“A website should be built around your business needs; your business needs shouldn’t be built around what functionality a template can provide.”
When building a custom website you can create unique features, add specialised contact forms, calculators, shopping platforms, buttons and more, the possibilities are endless and all to suit your business needs and budget.
As the client you can work with your web developer to decide on the pages, layouts, design elements, functionality and most importantly the user flow of your website. Working with some templates can be much more limiting, sometimes allowing you to change just the colours and add your own text and images to their layout without the possibility of further edits.
Seamless User Experience / Responsiveness
User experience is how easily a user can navigate through your website and access the information they need. Seamless user experience adapts to the user and will guide the user through your site without the need to think about their actions.
Custom web developers will research the user flow/map and design your site accordingly. This will see more customers stay on your site, and give you better results with Google rankings. Customising your website will also create the ability to make your site responsive to different screen sizes. With over half of all web traffic now from mobile devices it is especially important to have a mobile friendly website. Ask your web developer about “mobile first” websites to ensure the best experience for mobile users.
A website template will provide standard pages and may not be as responsive to multiple devices. This could result in a difficult to navigate website that has the possibility to lead to frustrated customers straight to your competitors site instead of yours.
Websites need updates, edits and changes more often than you think. As your business evolves, your website will need to reflect your new services, offerings or location changes. Creating a custom website through an agency means your site is easily adjustable to changes.
If major changes are required on your website you could be caught out with a templated website as it might not be able to cater for your needs. This could result in you having to purchase a brand new template and recreate your website.
Professional Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Professional web designers have a great understanding of onsite SEO and will organise your website to enhance your SEO as much as possible. This will include submitting a sitemap to Google, optimising headings and keywords, image sizing and alt text and more to ensure your website ranks as high as possible. Without this expertise, your website could rank poorly due to simple mistakes. If you do go with a templated website it’s best to ensure it has been created with SEO in-mind.
Get Real Conversions and See a Return on Your Investment
Whilst your initial investment in a custom website is greater than a premade template, your custom website will likely see greater returns. Having strategically placed CTA’s, creative copy and unique page layouts on your site will lead to higher conversions.
There is always a time and a place for a templated website. Often new and smaller businesses can’t afford the upfront investment of a custom built website, and we understand that. Templated websites can be cheap, profitable and are generally a good starting step for any new business, however as a business grows your online presence should too. This is why we recommend that any serious business should have a custom built website over a templated theme.
Hopscotch Digital offers website packages for both template and custom built websites. Contact us today for more information.