Custom Website vs Online Template Website

custom_website_design (1)The big questions a business owner has to ask when it’s comes time to build a new website or upgrade the existing one they have now, is if they want to hire a web designer or go to a online company that will over them a template for free or a few dollars a month.

Business owners and organizations should make a list of what is most important to them and then decide which direction to go. Looking ahead to see how a website can grow with a business or organization is often overlooked. This oversight can be very costly, especially if search engine optimization is something in future marketing plans.

Here are some pros and cons of custom websites vs template websites

Online Template Website Pros

  • Cost: The biggest pro is going to be the cost, but be aware of the free sites. We Googled “free online website” and took the top 5 results and looking into each sites plans., If you are business that wants any type of customer support, you can flush that down the drain with a free website, not one company included support with it’s free sites. You will have to subscribe to a monthly paying account if you want any assistance with your website.
  • Time: Online template website are usually simple and quick, as they have set designs to choose from and your type in your content and upload your images.

Online Template Websites Cons

  • SEO: Most online template website are not search engine optimized. This means if you want your website to come up in the ranking when someone is searching for a product or service you offer, you might be hitting your head against the wall.
  • Renting: It’s not your site to own. Yes when you go to your url, your site appears, but if for some reason you decide you don’t want to work with that company any longer, you get to take your content and your images and that is it. You are renting that template each month, or they are letting you use it, you do not own the code to your website.
  • Limited Growth: What you see is what you get, and as your company grows, your website will need to as well. Most online template sites offer no customization to make your company website unique. Your website look and functions are limited to what the online company will give you. If you need a function that is not available, you will be stuck or forced to start over.

Professional Web Designer Cons

  • Cost: Hiring a professional web designer is going to be more expensive that using a online template.
  • Time: Since your website is being built specifically for your company, there are more details that have to be discussed, like colors, layout, and navigation. There is no template for a cookie cutter approach, so the project is going to take longer.
  • Instant Visual: When building a custom website, there is no list of template to look at with the final layout look. Most often a professional web designer will provide a drawing of the finished site, but it is preliminary and not final.

Professional Web Designer Pros

  • Custom: When you hire a professional web designer, they will get to know you and your business and create a website that is specially tailored for your business. You will be able to have a say in the layout, colors, and navigation, along with requesting any unique features that represent your company.
  • Growth: A professional designed website can grow with your business. Editing pages, inserting sliders, moving columns, changing colors, or even adding a e-commerce store are just some of the things you will be able to do at any time with a custom website.
  • Own It: Always check your contract before you sign it, but if you hire a web designer to build your site, you own all the files. This means if for some reason you need to change web designers, you take your files with you and don’t have to start from scratch.
  • Optimized: Professional websites built correctly can not only work themselves up in Google ranking, but can be optimized with specific techniques done by the designer. Always make sure your website is designed with search engine optimization compatible pages, even if you are not ready to do so at the time of design.

As you can see there are pros and cons to both approaches, and you have to decide what makes since for your business. General speaking, it is a trade off, what you save in money you spend in your time to learn and execute someone else’s program. Knowing the needs and goals of your web presence will help you select the right path for your business.

Many times your website is the first impression of your business, make it unique and make it yours.

Matt Ruedlinger