Websites: Template Vs. Tailored
Posted on 5th May 2020
Have you made the decision to update your business website? Is your old site simply not cutting the mustard in the fast-paced modern world of digital business? Or have you finally decided to bite the bullet and get a website for the first time?
Then you are faced with a number of key decisions to make. Perhaps the biggest of which is whether to choose a templated or tailored website.
To help you make the best decision for your business, this guide takes a closer look at the advantages and drawbacks of each.
The advent of easy-to-use template sites has allowed business owners and individuals to create websites even if you don’t have the know-how and from the comfort of your own home. But perhaps the biggest advantage of template sites is the initial cost. For a small fee, you can use template sites such as Wix to create a simple and straightforward website for less than a hundred pounds.
But, and it’s a big but, additional costs can soon mount up in order to get everything you want from your website, from things like blogs, ecommerce platforms, and more. Plus, the annual costs for domain hosting, emails and so on are often an additional charge so what seemed like an offer too good to be true, can turn out to be exactly that.
By contrast, a tailored website can cost anything from a few hundred to tens of thousands of pounds, depending on your needs. For your money, you get access to a designer or design team who will work with you to create a site that meets your needs and expectations, with everything normally included for the price – domain name, security, hosting etc. - so you know exactly what you’re getting and how much you’ll pay. You will pay more than if you use a template site, and this is a consideration for many small businesses.
However, there is a big difference between cost and value, which is something you need to consider.
With a template site you will have access to a limited range of support. There may be chat functions and FAQ sections where you can find out more information. There may also be forums where you can get help if you have a problem. However, in general, the level of support you get with a template site reflects the amount you pay for the service.
If you choose the tailored option, then you can expect a much greater degree of support. Your designer will work with you to establish what kind of site and which features you need. They will discuss colour scheme, branding, navigation and more. They will be on hand to make tweaks to the design should you need it, and will offer technical support to get your site up and running.
Some tailored design services will also offer ongoing support, helping you to get to grips with your site and make any changes you require. They will also help you to upload new content or make changes yourself, so that the power is in your hands.
While there is no denying that some of the better template sites offer good quality websites, you do need some level of knowledge and skill in design in order to maximise their features. If you come at a template site from an unskilled position, you will be able to create a simple site, but it might not look all that professional and is likely to look like many other sites out there making it difficult to stand out amongst competitors. The navigation and usability of the site may also suffer. And this could have huge consequences for your business.
Bounce rates for poorly designed sites can be astronomical. It takes users less than a couple of seconds to make a value judgement about a website, and they can spot poorly-designed template sites quickly. No matter the quality of your goods or service, you could risk losing customers before they even find out what you have to say.
With a tailored site created exclusively for your business by an expert designer and developer you get to realise your business vision online. You get a site designed with the user experience in mind, with easy navigation and no glitches (which are another major turn-off for users visiting your site).
As a small business owner, you probably know that time is at a premium. When you start your business, you think you’ll be spending hours doing what you love, only to find that a million other things seem to get in the way. Having to find the time to design and manage your own website is just another time-sapping element you could do without.
Even if you can create your basic template site quickly, when issues arise you’ll find yourself spending hours trying to find the right fix, with limited support. And all of this time costs you money. If you choose to go for the tailored option, it may cost you more as an initial outlay but you will more than make this money back in the long term as a good web design company will look after everything for you. Plus, you will have more time to focus on what you really should be doing – running your business.
Template sites can be effective but there is more to having a website than simply a few pages of content or an online shop. Your site needs to be search engine optimised, complete with keywords and metadata to ensure it is as visible to search engines as possible. You need to have contact forms and checkout areas that store data, as well as ensuring everything is 100% secure for your users.
Getting to grips with all of these factors on a template site is not easy. But if you choose the tailored option, then it all comes as part of the package. Again, this represents better value for money and a massive saving on time and energy for you.
It’s not that template sites are not useful or don’t have a place. They have opened up web design to a much wider audience and allowed individuals and organisations to have a platform. However, if it’s going to be the front for your business’s web presence, anchoring your branding and helping you to build customer relationships, then a template site might fall short.
If you would like to know more about what is possible with tailored web design, then you can get in touch with our team here at it’seeze Web Design Twickenham. We offer affordable website design packages and support that gets results. You won’t waste any time fixing glitches or getting to grips with plug-ins; you just get a website that works for your business.
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