Custom Website Vs. Template: Which Is Right for You?

February 21, 2018 Rieva Lesonsky

When you're getting ready to launch a website for your business, you have some decisions to make — and one of the most important is how you want to build your website. Should you use a website design template to create your site yourself? It's easy to do with today's drag and drop technology. Or should you have professional website designers create a custom website for your business? Here are some factors to consider when making your choice.

How complex of a website do you need? If you sell products or services online, your website will need more moving parts than, say, a local dry cleaner. If your website goal is simply to let people know you exist and give them a way to contact you by sharing your address, hours, and phone number, a DIY website template could be the perfect solution. On the other hand, if you're launching an e-commerce website and plan to sell thousands of different products, having website designers build you a custom website will ensure everything runs smoothly and nothing falls through the cracks.

How important is your website to your business marketing? Websites are a key part of every small business’s marketing strategy, but for some businesses, they may not be the primary focus of your marketing efforts. For example, if you own a local auto body shop, getting listed on local search directories and obtaining positive reviews online may be more important to your marketing strategy than your website. On the other hand, if you own an interior decorating firm, the design and overall look of your website are vital to conveying your vision as a designer. In this case, a custom website is more likely to give you the sophistication you need.

How competitive is your industry? When you use a template to design your website yourself, there's always the risk that it could look too much like your competitors'. (What if someone in your same industry chooses the same template?) When a professional website designer builds a custom website for you, however, you can feel confident that it's truly one-of-a-kind.

Do you need to be a trendsetter? Professional website designers are up-to-date on the hot design trends that will affect website design not only now, but also in the future. If it's important for your website to convey a trendsetting image for your business, hiring a website designer to build a custom website allows you to do so.

What are your long-term plans? Is your business one that will pretty much stay the same in the future (the aforementioned drycleaner, for example) or do you have big plans for expanding into new markets, product lines or distribution channels? If you expect your business to grow and change significantly in the near future, a professional designer can build a custom website to suit your current needs while laying the foundation for the future.

There is no one right answer to the question "DIY or custom website"? Whichever type of solution you choose, look for a provider that offers more than just a website. Providers that offer domain names, professional email addresses, and additional online marketing services will help your business reach its full potential.

Photo by John Jennings on Unsplash


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