Food for thought.

Custom or Template Website Solutions?

Posted October 29th, Under Web Design

Your website is a vital extension of your brand. Depending on the nature of your business, your website can make or break the way your customers see and interpret your brand. In todays market, there are a number of ways to build a website. But how does the way you build your website directly affect the success of your online presence? Well, A4C hopes to clear that up.


Template Solutions:

Let’s take a look at template solutions like Wordpess, Square Space or Wix for instance (to name a few). Although the initial setup costs by very nominal, it’s important to understand the specific goals that your website must accomplish, before comparing price tags with custom solutions. If you consider you business to be unique, then it may be hard to find a template that will conform to your requirements. Since template solutions generally come with somewhat restricted options regarding layout and functionality, it can be hard to deviate from these cookie cutter websites without some custom programming. Any alterations outside the template’s default layouts will likely require the help of a professional web developer, at which point you’ll likely be racking up some out of scope surcharges that you had not anticipated.


Not every template is built perfectly either; many templates are not built with the intent of being search engine friendly.  Others don’t provide responsive framework (layouts that conform and adapt to different screen resolutions, device types, and device orientations). It’s also worth noting that template solutions are available for any business to use and advertise. That means your competitors could be potentially be using your website’s design…


So why are these website solutions so popular in today’s web industry? For most small businesses it’s a matter of budget requirements. For some it’s a matter of time constraints. Leveraging a pre-existing framework reduces the typical developer man-hours associated with custom solutions, and thus reducing the overall cost of the project. Strictly from a cost perspective, this solution might seem tempting, but it’s important to remember the goals of your website. Will you require regular contributions to your website? If you decide to manage this responsibility yourself, you may be biting off more than you can chew. In order to make regular updates and edits you’ll need a CMS (Content Management System) to implement these changes. Template solutions generally come with this back-end functionality, but more often than not the user interface in which you use to manage your content will be far from user friendly. You also run the risk of breaking your theme/template if your not exactly sure how to use the interface. That’s where the benefits of a custom solution begin to become apparent.


Custom Solutions:

By building your website from the ground up with the help of a professional web designer and developer, you can expect a product specifically tailored to your expectations. The end result when taking the custom route is always more personable by being geared towards your business, company image and target demographic.


The most notable advantage of custom solutions is in regards to content management. If built properly, a custom website will be outfitted with a custom CMS. This will allow the owner of the website to update and manage their website themselves, and without the complication of a convoluted interface. That’s because these CMS solutions are built to only change what is convoluted “dynamic” content. In other words, they don’t allow the owner to control aspects of the site that do not require regular contributions. By restraining the owners abilities to change the website, the site is in turn protected from detrimental alterations that may commonly occur with template solutions (breaking your site by accident).


In summary, each build type has its pros and cons. The most important thing to take into consideration when choosing how your website will be built, is your own expectations. If you find yourself pressed for time or funds, the template route will likely be your best bet.  If you’re willing to step outside the box and invest in a website that meets your exact needs and requirements, the long term value of a custom solution may be right for you. Remember, the best purchase is and educated purchase.


Food for thought from A4C.
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