Choosing a bespoke website or a template
Recently a potential client asked me why I preferred to build my own websites from scratch rather than use a WordPress template.
It is certainly fairly straightforward to set up a WordPress website and if you can find a theme that perfectly suits your business this could be the perfect route to take. If it’s a personal website, if you don’t need to rank highly in the search engines and if you’re not trying to attract customers a template can be a great cost-effective solution.
Using a template means that you need to be happy with the layout, fonts, colours, graphics and functionality. But for a business trying to differentiate itself from its competitors, what are the chances of that?
At Catfish we’ve been in the position of revamping sites that have started out using a WordPress template, but the client soon found that they had to shoehorn their content into a layout that simply didn’t work for them.
In our experience there are always changes that need to be made to off-the-shelf solutions which can end up being time intensive and costly.
If you want a perfect fit that you are 100% happy with it can be cheaper in the long run to go bespoke.
Some people decide to start off with a template to keep costs down and get them started. However, as their business grows their template site is unable to grow with it and cannot be redeveloped in the same way as a bespoke website. Bespoke means flexible.
When you purchase your theme you need to remember that you’re not the only business out there using it. In some cases there can be hundreds of others with a site almost identical to yours. Bespoke means unique.
Templates can be easier to hack and because of its popularity WordPress is an incredibly popular platform for hackers. Bespoke means more secure.
Your website is one of the most important ways of setting yourself apart from your competitors. If you are trying to stand out from the crowd and promote your USP (unique selling point) you may find having a bespoke website more of an advantage.
If you are using a template you may find the initial cost is low but you should check what the monthly hosting costs are. In some instances this can end up being the same as, or even more than, paying outright for a website that ultimately you own.
A website should be seen as an investment. Our recommendation is to invest wisely and use a professional agency you can trust. If you can, go local so you can meet up and discuss things face to face.
The potential client in question is selling an exciting unique and niche product and they want a website that looks high end. Do I think they’ll get this from a template? The answer has to be no.
Our bespoke website for Cambridge Women's Resources Centre won an award at the 2015 Cambridgeshire Digital Awards. We also used local photographer Helena g Anderson.