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Websites – Templates vs Bespoke – What Is Best for My Business?

11/10/2018

 

For any business or freelancer, having an online presence is usually a must. The vast majority of consumers research products and services on the internet before making a decision and if your business is nowhere to be found, you’re missing out on these potential customers.

 

Having your own website is a sure-fire way to generate leads and gain more sales, as well as giving your business exposure. Your website strengthens and reinforces your brand, creates a professional platform for your business and enables growth. A top-quality website should be number 1 in your marketing strategy.

 

You will have options galore when deciding on a web developer/designer and it can get confusing, choosing who to go with. Your priorities will dictate your decision so before making your choice, you may need to take another look at what your priorities are.

 

Bespoke websites

 

Template vs Bespoke

 

There is much debate online surrounding template sites versus bespoke sites (trust us, Google it!) and often, it’s hard to understand the whys and wherefores when you’re thinking about your own business site.

 

Below, we offer a breakdown of the pros and cons on both template and bespoke, and an insight into what will be best suited to you.

 

Template Websites

 

A template website is just that, a website built using a pre-existing template. The template could simply cover the layout or include functionality, depending on what platform is being used.

 

The great thing about these sites is that they’re quick and easy to build and cost far less than a bespoke site. If you’re in the early stages of starting your business and have very little budget, templates are brilliant as a starter site. They’re also useful if you just want a simple one-page site with a little info on who you are, what you do and where. Almost like an online flyer with the option to contact you via the page.

 

Of course, cheap isn’t always a good idea. Especially when it comes to representing your business. Cheap sites can look like cheap sites and you’re running that risk when using the template option.

 

If you’re looking for a one-page site, you need to remember, your site will have to evolve as your business grows. Functionality is key and if your site isn’t already prepared for these potential changes, you’re looking at spending more money on a new site that works how you need it to, further down the line.

 

Another issue you may face is that the content doesn’t quite fit, or that the site can’t be modified to exactly what you envisaged. Historically this has been a real issue with template sites and although measures have been taken to improve the customisation capabilities, the finer details may have to be forsaken if you go with this option, meaning your branding may suffer.

 

The layout, look and feel of your site, will also be similar, if not identical to other sites on the web. It’s quite unlikely that someone browsing would stumble upon 2 identical sites, however it’s a risk. Often template sites look like they’ve been created using a template, which some may say is not a problem, but a lot of end users are put off by this as it cheapens your brand.

 

The speed of the site may also be compromised. This is due in part to background coding and functions or features that are redundant or unnecessary.

 

And sometimes, the support just isn’t there. Some more reputable template authors will offer support and ongoing tech help, however others do not. This can be an absolute nightmare for businesses, causing serious issues such as loss of data. All downtime is damaging to a business and if your site has a glitch, it needs to be fixed fast.   

 

Pros

 

  • One-page site advertising and contact
  • Cheap
  • Shorter development time

Cons

 

  • Content doesn’t always fit the template
  • Redundant code/functions can affect page loading speed
  • Not as good for SEO
  • Often looks like a template and similar to other websites
  • Built in features that you don’t need which can slow site down
  • Can be inflexible
  • No support if things go wrong

 

Bespoke Websites

 

The beauty of a bespoke site is that it is immediately tailored to your business and audience. A bespoke site will be designed specifically with your business and target audience in mind, promote professionalism, give your brand gravitas and evoke credibility and trust.

 

Bespoke websites

 

Forecasting what the future may hold can be a challenge, however if you understand how your business may evolve, the functionality of your site can be considered from the get-go. What’s more, the developers of the site can tweak and build functionality on an ongoing basis and are there to rely on when modifications are needed.

 

Peace of mind is high up on most people’s agenda, and with a bespoke design, you know it’s all being taken care of. If any issues are encountered, fixes can be implemented quickly and easily, reducing downtime.

 

In a nutshell, your site will reflect the professionalism of your brand, it will evolve and adapt as your business grows and changes, it will work across all devices and you’ll have support should you need it.

 

Pros

 

  • Designed specifically for your target audience – unique
  • Evoke credibility and trust
  • Good for SEO
  • Flexible and adaptable and can grow with you
  • Tested to work across all browsers
  • When technology changes your web design agency can make sure things on your site still work
  • Easier to update – you may receive training or instructions from your designer

Cons

 

  • Budget – if you have very little money a template may be the solution, however there is a trade-off and you may end up paying out again further down the line
  • Time – if you need it yesterday, bespoke isn’t for you

 

Summary

 

A top-quality website is an investment. A good website will always pay off in terms of generating sales and you’ll certainly see an ROI. It’s number one on your market strategy and you’ll want your business represented in its most favourable light.

 

When using an agency, not only do you get their experience and help on an ongoing basis, you build a relationship with a trusted partner. The web is constantly changing and evolving, and you need to ensure your business is keeping up.

 

A website is a powerful tool. If it’s not up to scratch, it can be really detrimental to your brand and reputation.

 

If you really want to make a good impression and stand out from your competitors, investing in a bespoke site will do wonders for your business.