Why a custom design may not be the best choice for your small business website

As a small business owner, having a well thought out website is one of the best tools you can have to promote your business. You can upload photos of your products or write descriptions about your services. You can use it when reaching out to potential clients and it servers as a permanent advert for your business.  Before you get to do all those cool things though, you need to get it built.  As we mentioned Tuesday, you can use a custom website design or one of the many existing WordPress themes.

As a reminder, custom website design means building a website from scratch.  Developers write their own code to make your website look and function the way you want it to.   Wordpress themes are pre-made designs that you can fill with your content and edit accordingly and which we covered yesterday.

Both methods have pros and cons but today, we’ll look into why custom design may not be the best option for you.

 

Custom website design is unique but it comes with a price

Since custom designs are built from scratch, you can be as creative as you want to be. Custom design gives you the freedom to add whatever feature you would like and personalise your site to give a unique user experience. This freedom comes with a price tag though which may not suit your business.  Like anything bespoke the price comes from the hours spent crafting.  The output may be superior, but the extra investment may not matter that much to your website users.

We’ve built simple informational (not ecommerce) websites that cost as little as £1200 and as much as £20000 and only you can decide the real value to your business. You need to consider how much you’re willing to spend for your custom design.

 

More freedom isn’t necessarily a good thing

A bespoke design generally means starting from scratch.  Every decision for functions, layouts and content will need to be made as there is no baseline to modify. This can make populating the site a time-consuming process compared to replacing something that already exists.  Content addition is typically the phase most web development projects lose traction and stall.

Alternatively  themes are often designed for very specific purposes.  It usually comes with what you need to have a working website and by replacing text and images you can quickly have a working website.

Bespoke takes time

After making the decision to set up or refresh your website, how long can you wait?

This is an important thing to consider as time means money and you could be losing potential customers because you don’t have a means to showcase your business online. The sooner you can have your website meeting your business needs, the better.  Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction.

A bespoke design and build doesn’t happen overnight.  Building a website from scratch can take many weeks or months.   This is not the case for themes and a simple site can be ready in a day.   This is because development time is shorter when using themes as most of the features that you need are already included in it.

 

You don’t know what to expect until you see it

The design process starts as an idea.  An idea can be very hard to visualise at times.  It requires action to transform it into something that can be perceived. With that in mind, you may have a very limited grasp of what your website will look and feel like until it is in its final stages of development.

One way around this is to ask your designer to produce a full set of visuals or a design prototype.  Of course, this requires time too.

Of course, with a theme, you get a preview of what it would look like.  You will know exactly what you will be getting.  No guessing required.

Making the Right Choice

A custom designed website will always be superior to a theme, but at a significantly higher price point. Custom design might be the right option for bigger companies who have the resources and budget to support bespoke web development.  Conversely, a well thought out and executed themed website can often trump a poorly designed and planned custom web development project so it doesn’t mean it can’t compete.

Small businesses can still get many of the same features and benefits even if they choose to use a theme.

Tomorrow we’ll introduce our solution, a hybrid of both combining the speed and lower cost of a theme with the personalisation benefits of a theme.