There is a place for template websites - but it’s not with ambitious businesses.
Template websites, often referred to as ‘off-the-shelf’, are exactly as the title suggests: websites built from pre-existing templates and plugins. A popular example is WordPress, an open source system with thousands of plugins and templates which make website creation easy and accessible.
So, why choose to have a bespoke website created for you when you could save money and time with a template?
First of all, it’s important to clarify that template websites are not necessarily inexpensive. WordPress is free but only before you take into account the costs of contracting specialist WordPress developers. If you’re looking for a good website, the process will cost you.
Bespoke websites aren’t as expensive as you might think and will likely save you money in the long-term. For your business to grow, it’s more important than ever that you have a website that really sells your service or product. The long-term growth of your business is reliant upon a website that appears reputable, competitive and professional - a bespoke website delivers on all of these.
If you’re pitching a unique service or product to your target audience your website needs to reflect that. To do that, your website must stand out from competitor sites visually.
With template systems such as WordPress, free themes are often the most popular and therefore the least unique. If you want a theme that draws customers into your sales funnel you’re going to have to shell out for it.
When you contract us to build you a bespoke website we make sure that your business success is a priority. We have a team of designers (UX and UI) that create an entirely customised web design specifically catering to your business needs. We factor in important elements such as accessibility, responsiveness and branding.
A bespoke web design will prioritise customer experience and ensure your business goals are met. Any bespoke web development agency worth your time should be equipped with designers that make sure your new site is responsive on all devices: mobile, tablet and laptop.
Just as important as having a bespoke web design is bespoke web development. The performance of a custom-built website is usually far better than a templated website.
The performance of the website, essentially how it runs, has a big impact on customer experience and how likely those customers are to convert: to complete a transaction or contact you. If your website is slow, with images and pages taking a long time to load, then your potential customers are probably going to get frustrated and go elsewhere.
Performance is often an issue with template websites either because they are built and then not maintained or because plugins and updates can conflict and create issues. It’s not just the performance that is the problem - it’s the speed it takes for these to get fixed. Relying on templates and plugins means any errors that need fixing are done by third-parties that you aren’t in direct contact with. You might even have to wait for a future update!
Hiring expert web developers to design, develop and maintain your website pays off in this respect as the performance of your website is constantly being monitored and refined. We are always available to our clients to provide any support they might need.
One of the major weaknesses of template websites is their vulnerability to attacks and hacks. They can make an easy target for hackers because of their simple code and place within a network of similar sites. Once a security flaw has been exposed, your website is at risk. If you’re using a system as popular as WordPress this is especially true - it’s reported to be the most hacked platform globally.
Our developers use Laravel to ensure all our clients’ websites are highly secure and protected against such risks. Any bespoke website development agency should take security seriously and will likely have practices in place to deal with any breaches or attacks. You won’t be left gambling your customers on unstable and insecure templates.
Bespoke means made to order. Your website will be designed and built in a way that optimises the potential business benefits of a website. With a template system, your website can only be as good as those templates and plugins - there’s no potential for expansion beyond these limits.
For a business that wants to grow there’s simply no point having a website that will constrain that aim. Over time, as your business expands, your website will have to evolve to mirror this. Templates simply do not offer this opportunity as there is only so many plugins available for your business needs.
Another element to the optimisation of bespoke websites is SEO. SEO is acknowledged to be a powerful method of driving traffic to your site. But, in order for it to be successful, it has to be integrated with web development. Our developers use the latest SEO practices as they build so that your website is optimised for new practices and methods.
Bespoke websites offer a logical solution to growing businesses. Equally important, though, is making sure that the web development agency you choose is able to provide bespoke services that are up-to-scratch.
We recommend that you do your research and scope out potential agencies on reputable review sites, such as Clutch. A good way of seeking out good agencies is by checking out the case studies and portfolio on their website. You should look for an agency that has dealt with projects of a similar scope, preferably with recognised brands.
If you would like to hear more about bespoke services and how they can help your business, we would be happy to talk through the services we provide. Please get in touch with us via our contact page.