Source: Web Page Mistakes (CA) & Poc Network
As a business owner you are always looking how to save money and make your business profitable. When it comes to creating an online presence for your business, just like your marketing materials and office’s appearance, your website needs to project a professional image. The more professional looking your business appears, the more creditable it looks.
Many business owners don’t really understand the difference between having a custom web design done and using website templates. In this article we’ll look at both ways of having your website built and the costs involved.
Custom Web Design
Many think having a custom web design is too expensive but let’s look at the advantages of hiring a web designer over using a free website template or purchasing one.
Benefits of custom web design:
- Unique design.
With a custom web design it is created just for your business. Your website will be different from anyone else’s.
- By hiring the right web designer, it will be constructed so it is search engine friendly.
How the background coding of your website is done will influence your success in the search engines.
- The website will be more adaptable to your company’s needs.
If you have done your website planning, you will have a list of features you wish to have. By prioritizing this list of website features, you will give the web designer an idea of what to accommodate for in the future if your current budget doesn’t allow all the features to be implemented from the start.
Just like adaptability, if you have planned what you want in the future for your website, a good web designer will take this into consideration as they select the technologies to use while building the website.
Other points to take into consideration when deciding if custom web design is for you are:
- Are you planning to maintain the website yourself?
If you do not intend to learn how to code a website (or have someone on staff that can do this well) then you are going to have to request that a “content management system” be incorporated into the web design. There could be limitations on some content management systems so be sure to ask all the right questions about the proposed content management system the web designer is planning on using.
- Are you permitted to use the graphics created for the website for other purposes?
The website design should incorporate your company’s branding. If you have already established your company branding, then that branding should be incorporated into the website.
For a business that hasn’t established a branding or is under going a revamping, then you are going to want to know if you can use the graphics on the website elsewhere, like your letterhead, brochures and signage to mention a few. This will increase the price of the custom web design, but then you will have everything match.
Another idea if considering a custom web design (when you have a lower budget) is, just have a template made incorporating the website theme. You can then, if you have the skills, recycle the template theme to create the web pages for your website.
There is a misconception on how beneficial and economical using free website templates or purchased website templates is. Let’s look at some points about website templates:
Website templates are good for:
- Getting inspiration on colours, layouts and features.
You cannot have your web designer copy these, but they do give the web designer an idea of the look you would like.
- Very low budgets where you need to get up and running as soon as possible.
If budget is holding you back from getting your business up on the Internet, then maybe a website template might be the way to go.
- Shorter development time.
It would appear that using a website template would include a shorter development time required for your website. Not really, read on.
Now onto other considerations when choosing a website template.
Using website templates do have some downfalls:
- There is going to be a ton of other people using the same template.
Unless you pay the “Exclusive” price for the template, the template website is going to keep selling that same template to anyone that comes along. Keep in mind, even if you pay the exclusive price, there are others who have bought the template prior to you and they still have the right to use it.
If it’s a really appealing template, there may be lots of other people who have already bought that very template.
- You will be limited on the customization of the website template.
Without web page coding skills, you are still going to have to either spend the time and money to learn how to code a web site or hire someone to help you (which in some cases could double the cost you would have initially spent having it custom designed).
Some templates are laid out very specific. Meaning if you incorporate your own graphics or have extensive content, the template could break.
- Some website templates are not built to be search engine friendly.
As explained above, it is important how the background coding of your website is done. If not done correctly, it could hurt your marketing efforts on the internet.
- Antiquated (outdated) coding.
If the website template uses antiquated coding, it might not work in all browsers.
Browser specific features are another sign of antiquated coding.
This occurs a lot with flash-based templates. Right now, a majority of the flash templates on the web use outdated techniques and either will be difficult to manage, contain unnecessary content/bulk, or either difficult or impossible to grow with in the future without having to completely redesign it.
Custom Web Design or Website Template?
When deciding if a custom web design is the way to go or if a website template is a better choice keep in mind that you want your business to stand out from the crowd and be memorable.
In either case, you are still going to have to do some work to get up there in the search engine results. Having a website that looks nice is only part of the internet marketing package. You will have to research the phrases that your target audience would type in the search box to find you then incorporate those phrases into the content of each of your pages.
To maintain or build the website yourself you are going to have to invest some time (and money possibly) into learning all there is to building a web page. Learning something like this is not going to occur overnight. It can take a lot of time, and then some depending on the complexity of its architecture (keep in mind that most designers have college degrees and many years of hands-on experience, just for this)
Now, sit down and figure out exactly how much each method of building the website is actually going to cost. Include the time it is going to take for you learn whatever you need to learn to use a website template and compare that to the cost of a custom web design where you will have time to market or build your product in the same time frame.
There is an old saying:
“Time is money”
Keep that in mind when choosing between custom web design and website templates.