It is now easier than ever before to create a website for your business. You can access any number of cookie-cutter templates that promote an effortless drag-and-drop approach. While such templates are ideal for the time-poor business owner who just wants customers to have somewhere to land, it’s less suitable for those who really want to stand out and be known for their online presence.
Instead of opting for a website design that doesn’t represent who you are, consider whether custom web design could be a more suitable option. Before long, you could be experiencing some of the following benefits for yourself.
You can make every feature suit your branding
As a business owner, you likely understand the importance of branding and design. You want your website to be a reflection of what your business stands for. With custom web design, you can do just that.
From the font to the color scheme and everything in between, every component is unique to your branding. You can even get creative with out-of-the-box features just by having a web expert work on the coding for you. While standard web templates are convenient, they tend to offer a select set of features that you can’t customize nearly as much as many business owners would like.
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You can improve your search engine optimization (SEO)
As many as 70% of small business owners don’t have an SEO strategy. It’s safe to assume that many business owners also don’t know what SEO is. Given its importance for visibility online, business owners may like to at least focus on the basics to ensure they can access their fair share of customers on the internet. The problem is, templated websites don’t always make it easy to learn how to work on SEO.
SEO settings can sometimes be tucked away out of sight, and there aren’t always any directions for what to do when you find those settings. When you invest in a custom web design, you have more help and more features at your disposal.
You or an SEO specialist can make sure your site has all the relevant keywords, URLs, alt tags, and metadata it needs. They can also ensure your site is mobile-friendly while identifying the essential pages to be crawled by search engines. Custom web designers will also look at your internal links to ensure they promote the best user experience for your customers.
Customers get what they need
Depending on your business, you likely have some idea about what your customers want and need when visiting your website. They might be there purely for information, especially if what you offer can only be done in person. Or, they might want to book a service, buy an item, or learn more about you. While templated websites allow you to feature items for sale and take bookings, they don’t always offer it the way you know will be suitable for your business. After all, the website design is created for the masses, not the individual.
“When you opt for custom web design, every single feature and its placement is with your customer’s needs in mind. You can place a ‘book a service’ button front and center, move icons around, and change the layout as you please. There are very few restrictions when you’re building a website from the ground up.” – as nicely elaborated by Lisa Carter, the President of Internet Marketing Geeks, in one of her recent interviews.
Changes are easy to make
Some of the most significant changes to websites have happened in the last few years. For example, Google introduced Google Web Stories, which you can embed into your website to get your message across in an immersive way.
As technology changes and new products such as those hit the market, you want your website to change with them. Many template websites are designed to remain just current enough – and no more. As a result, making any change can interrupt your entire website’s design.
Since every component of a custom website is adjustable, that’s not generally a problem. When new technology hits the market, your website stands more of a chance of integrating it seamlessly.
You can choose your own hosting company
Having a hosting company you can trust is an integral part of website ownership. You want your files and information to be backed up to where you need them. And you don’t want to have to worry about uptime monitoring also.
When you purchase a templated website, you are often encouraged to have them host you. You may not know anything about their performance or reliability. But, the step-by-step process for building a website means you are directed to use them as a host.
When you hire a website designer to create your site from scratch, you can choose whoever you want to host. You can focus on what’s most important to you, such as uptime or a convenient backup location, to help you make your choice.
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You can update less frequently
Website innovation is changing all the time. This can mean that the template you chose for your website’s design five years ago no longer represents best design practices. However, rather than slightly adjust the design to suit what your customers expect, you often have to start from scratch – or close to it.
By doing so, you can lose some of the brand recognition you had managed to gain by having a loyal following of customers. That’s unlikely to be a problem with a custom website. When certain features become outdated or new ones are better for your needs, you can adjust those on their own. Your website can undergo minor updates over time to remain relevant, rather than slowly going out of date before a significant overhaul is required.
When you first started your business, you may have invested in a basic but functional website. As your business flourished and expanded, your website likely didn’t flourish and expand with you.
When you have chosen a template website, it can be complicated to expand and upgrade at a later date. Sometimes, the simple act of adding more products, services, and general offerings, can require you to undertake a complete rejuvenation.
If you opt for custom web design, it can be far less complicated. With the right web designer on your team or a basic understanding of custom web design yourself, you can scale up or down your website with ease.
Improve your reputation
Even if you only created a website so that you had something to add to your business card, it can end up being what people use to form their opinion of you. Studies show that a potential customer will look at your logo, menus, imagery, and written content for under seven seconds each. In that time, they have already made up their mind about you. That can be a good or bad thing, depending on whether your website is a genuine representation of your business.
Take a moment to think about the websites for businesses you have looked at lately and the opinions you formed about them. You may have noticed that the more popular and large-scale the company was, the more innovative and exciting their website was. That’s not to say that their website gave them that reputation, but it undoubtedly helped sustain it.
There’s no denying that a custom website can cost more money upfront than a template one. However, when you factor in future changes, advanced technology, uptime, and user-friendliness, it can likely pay for itself before long. Given that you can also sell products and services online in a way that suits your unique business model, there can sometimes be much greater profit potential.
The upfront costs of a templated website are minimal, and that can suit many small business owners’ needs well. However, when your website quickly goes out of date or no longer suits your needs, you may need to invest in website design on a more frequent basis. Those costs can add up.
You have ownership
When you pick a website template, you are customizing it ever so slightly to suit your branding. However, it never truly feels like yours. That’s because someone else has built the template and likely owns the rights to it.
When you build a website from scratch or have someone else build it, it’s yours. You can alter it, add new coding, and make changes however you please. Every component has been crafted and paid for so that you don’t have to worry about ownership and liability.
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What’s involved in the custom web design process?
Many business owners may be put off by the idea of creating a custom website because they believe there is a lot more work involved. However, there is just a simple four-step process, and you are letting someone else take care of all the work for you.
- Web design experts talk about your needs, audience, and creative direction.
- They discuss content with you and form a sitemap that outlines where the content will be on your site.
- They create the key pages and determine where your content, videos, and graphics will go. You can provide feedback on changes or additions.
- A mockup of the homepage and key pages is put together for your approval. Finetuning then begins until you have a website you are proud of.
Templated websites are growing in popularity and for good reasons. They are fast, easy to make, affordable, and suitable for several small businesses. However, their cookie-cutter design means that your business can’t always flex its creative muscles and stand out from the crowd. If that’s what you are looking for, custom web design may be something you’d like to consider in the future.