If your website is 4+ years old, there’s a good chance you’re considering a new one. But where most people get stuck (or go wrong) is deciding whether they should invest in a custom, built-from-scratch site or stick to a template.
We’ve rounded up some criteria to help you make a sound decision for your business.
A custom website is a fit for you if:
- You have the budget and time. It’s no secret that a custom website will demand a bit more out of pocket than a template site, but you should also know “you get what you pay for”. Depending on your needs and budget, a website is something you may not want to cheat your business out of. A custom website also requires a lengthier timeline due to the fact that it’s built specifically to your needs.
- You need customization to your specific brand and service offerings. With a custom website, you’re not confined within the limits. The site can precisely capture the company’s brand, from colors and fonts, to its unique personality. Each page is built with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in mind to target each of your service offerings increasing your chances of high rankings in search engine results, such as Google or Bing.
- You require advanced functionality and assistance with the site. Will your new site need a client portal? How about eCommerce? If you require any advanced functionality, you’re best off with a custom website. The agency or company building your new website will assist you with populating, copy, SEO, and should serve as your ongoing support for questions you might run into along the way (or well after the launching of the site as well). But just because you are going through someone else to do the heavy lifting, does not mean that you give up rights to your site. With WordPress, you own the site and editing is made easy.
- You want to stand out from the crowd. With a well-designed custom site, it’s a promise that it will be noticed and brought up in conversation. You’ll create a lasting impression on all viewers, which can result in gaining the attention of new clients. That’s a win if you ask us.
Alternatively, a template website is the better route to go if:
- You don’t have the budget. Template websites are typically a fraction of the cost compared to a custom site. If you don’t have a budget set aside for the new site, going with a template is your best option.
- You need an extra crutch when it comes to design elements. There are plenty of kick-ass templates to choose from with wicked designs, however, you are limited on customization. So if the design isn’t a perfect fit for your company brand, you’ll need to continue your template search. Assuming you want brand continuity (and we advise you to do so!), you’ll need to design or edit your logo around the template whereas with a custom site, the website bends to the logo.
- You’re okay with running the risk of having the same site as someone else. Know that other people will be using your template, especially if it’s industry specific (i.e. real estate company or a conference registration page).
There are three things that shouldn’t be up for debate, regardless of which route you choose:
- The site must be mobile-friendly (responsive).
- The site should be built to maximize Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
- You need to consider UX design (User Experience) when deciding on a site.
The Final Test
When considering the criteria for your site, ask yourself three questions:
- What’s the timeline?
- What’s the budget?
- What additional functionality will the new site need?
Your answers to these three questions will make the choice easy. If you think a custom website is the way to go, you know who to call.