Is custom web design over? Hell no...

Template-based website platforms are driving the web design industry by providing the tools required to create an elegant, responsive, and optimized site. But does this mean that the age of custom web design is over?

November 18, 2015

A website has become a must-have for businesses without concerns for size or industry. There’s no denying that websites play a crucial role in the success of enterprises as more professionals drive sales and leads through their sites. In fact in this article, a website is positioned as a sales person and not just a marketing tool.

Putting up your website is easier, faster, and cheaper than ever before. Template-based website platforms are driving the web design industry by providing the tools required to create an elegant, responsive, and optimized site. But does this mean that the age of custom web design is over?

While these new web design platforms and programs make it easy for you to create and launch your site, they can never be considered an alternative to custom design websites. This is because they do not have the complex and unique synchronization of features such as design, development, and programming.

With thousands of templates to choose from, businesses might be tempted to go down that route but a custom web design can create a personalized feel for your concept, your brand, and your vision.

Are Website Templates Enough for your Business?

There are hundreds of website builders that offer powerful tools to create relatively simple websites. These website building platforms can be as simple as drag and drop or they can have templates with predefined coded layouts.

So if you go the template route and find a great concept for your website then you can buy the template and try to do it yourself. The issue with a lot of templates is that if you need to make changes and personalize the theme, you would need to ask the original developer of the template for help, or hire a web design company to provide you with a solution. In this Aiga article you can see the issues with template designs.

So the question you must ask yourself is if it is worth creating a website on your own only to have someone come in and have to charge to fix it and place “bandaids” on the site as your business grows?

As a business you want a website designed to adapt and offer up the best user experience. A site that sells your brand and has enhanced elements that have been built for you.

Custom web design involves the use of impressive designs and features essential to success of most websites. Plug and Play web design solutions may be useful to organizations that just need to put up a site, but you will still need expert services to help you succeed with your site. You need to have a strategy for growth in place and this is something experts in website development can offer.

Web Templates are Cheaper

One of the reasons businesses go the template route is because it’s usually easier and cheaper. This makes it ideal as the on boarding of a new site is quick, easy, and cheap. The biggest issue that’s seen in the industry is that when a business outgrows there website they then have to start from scratch with a new developer. The problem with this is that the positioning for your site and a lot of what was contributing to the growth of the website on the search engines is now jeopardized as changes can affect positioning. So while it might be cheap now it might be a lot more later as you expand and tweak your site. This Top Rank Blog discusses the SEO aspects of changing or moving your website.

Custom Web Designs are Created by Experts

Custom websites are created by experts. This is not to say that web templates are not designed by professionals with equal skills. While ‘your’ custom site will be designed by a professional to meet your specific needs, the same cannot be said for web-based template designs. Most of the designs are very general and are designed for a niche or a broad category (not specifically for your business).

A great website is much more than beautiful elements and animations. A web template can have  stunning imagery but meeting the business need and being guided by your specifications only happens when you personalize your design at a conceptual level with a mockup, a wire frame, and a project management process to fill each and everyone of your needs.

A couple of concerns with templates are the following:

  • Is the template created to deliver flawless user experience?
  • Can the template structure a page flow and visual hierarchy that can both draw and move users?
  • Can the template make your website mobile friendly, the way you want it to be?

When you choose custom web designs you will have a team of web designers and developers who use their years of experience, knowledge and the current best practices to create a site that ideally meets your business goals. You can never expect that from a template or a website builder. It will always have its limitations. This Tech Cuppa post mentions a few.

Custom Design revolves around Your Brand

One of the great things about custom web design is that it bases itself upon your brand, not pre-made templates. The difference between the two is just like choosing between a tailored suit and a ready made piece. A custom site incorporates your business goals, strategies, branding, and brand requirements, something web templates and site builder platforms will not be able to do.

Custom websites are organic in their presentation and user experience which is something a web template can never deliver. I will say that a template website can provide a quick solution and help a business grow but if your business is successful you will outgrow that site. So instead of spending time and resources as you grow, it’s better to go beyond the limitations posed by a template and create a brand from scratch.

More Control over Creativity

Websites that are custom built allow more control over creative elements. You can look at other websites and create a list of features you like on those sites and what color schemes fit your brand. Then you can have your web designer work on a wire frame and mock up to get the creative vision of the site sketched out before implementing it into HTML. The designer will work with the design and the technical options that fit your specific desires and requirements.

Now when it comes to using a template, the process is much different. You will be making a choice between too many or too few options. The largest website template offers hundreds of options with different colors, fonts, images and sizes. Although the array of options is quite vast, making the right choice can be difficult as you will be following the design approach in reverse – choosing from what is available, rather than creating something that fits your needs.

Even when website templates offer hundreds of customization options they are never to the level of what you could achieve with custom web design. There is a very good chance that your site will end up looking like many other sites. If the arguments here don’t convince you, here is another valuable article on Yahoo that compares the two web technology developments in an objective way.

Custom website design provides you with a creative process that combines your concept with the skills, knowledge, and expertise of a web designer in order to connect with your audience in the most profound way possible.

Customized Support

One of the most important things to have on a website is support or someone you can reach out to. If you have an issue with your website, you can reach out to your web designer or developer and get support for you custom site. When it comes to a template based website it can be a bit of a challenge even if your designer set it up for you as they are now going to have to deal with the parameters of someone else’s predefined coding. In some cases they even have to get a hold of the the designer for the template in order to customize the site or fix a deprecated script. Even some of the best website builder sites have limited online support and will charge for any help they give.

SEO Concerns

I’ve been a firm believer for some time now that the secret sauce to any concept is its delivery method. With websites that saying holds true as a website is the delivery vehicle for a brand and Google, Bing, and Yahoo are examples of the highway that allows that vehicle to drive itself to the consumer. If the search engine isn’t connecting your business to the consumer then all is for naught. Having a website that is visible on search engines is highly important and of great relevance when business owners are designing their sites. However, while most owners know that SEO carries importance, their is still confusion and worry as to how a site should be optimized. Those worries on a custom website design are less of a problem as a custom design will allow you to incorporate On-Site SEO seamlessly.

However, with website template services there are limitations on SEO. For example Wix won’t let you use SSL on their site which was recently shown as a factor in SEO improvement. In addition to that URL writing isnt entirely customizeable on Wix. These are just a few of the limitations. Here are some of the pros and cons to Wix.

With a personalized custom design a web designer can optimize your site for favorable positioning. They can make sure it has all of the elements that help search engines recognize services and connect those services to the audience.

It is often the case that those who use website templates have to hire SEO specialists to optimize their site. If you are using such a site builder, you will either be unsure about it or will not find satisfactory results in terms of search engine rankings. You could save all the time and resource and invest it in hiring the services of an experienced web designer or an agency. A few years ago, especially around the time when the web template revolution was in its initial phase, there were speculations that the days of custom web designing may be over. The leading web experts debated that custom design may have had its heydays, as evident in this article on Moz. But now seeing the future ahead and all of the advantages of personalization we know that custom web design will not go away.

In some ways the demand has grown as more users come to use websites for their businesses, as website development has become more understandable.

Thanks to business2community


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