Template vs Custom Website: Creating the Site of Your Dreams

It’s always the same story. You hear about a new business, and you do what feels most natural. You Google them. In fact, 97 percent of people learn more about a local company online than anywhere else. This means it’s not only important to have a great website and online presence, it’s necessary. And provided that you’ve done a good job with website SEO, potential customers find your website and the information they need to either visit you, contact you or make their purchases directly online.

There’s no second chance at a great first impression, so if the first thing a customer sees is your website, it’s important to make sure it gives the right impression. The problem is, there are a lot of options available when it comes to building a website, such as a template vs a custom website, and that means you have to make a lot of choices. 

On the bright side, this allows you to have flexibility and make the website that’s perfect for you, the downside is that you have to worry about making the wrong choice. The great news is there are tons of very useful resources to help you get started and help make the web design and development process less intimidating.

Template Based

Before anything else, you’ll need to decide what kind of website you want; one made from a template or one fully customized to suit your needs. A template consists of a standard layout that is reused on many websites with some minor changes. This option usually comes at a lower cost and can be faster to produce—if you’re fairly tech-savvy and have dependable computer hardware. 

Simply pick a template that appeals to you, put in your pictures and business details, and there’s your website. Well, at least a website; unfortunately, dozens to hundreds of other people have the exact same website, just with different pictures and phone numbers. 

Custom Built

The alternative is a custom website. This means that everything on the site is unique to you—and not just the images you choose to use. This is great because it allows you to give the first impression that you truly want, separating you from the pack and allowing customers to understand exactly how and why you’re unique. However, this can be a lengthier and more expensive process. 

The firm you hire to design and develop your custom website will need your feedback throughout the process in order to ensure that the final product is right for you. If this seems like a hassle, know the benefits it offers are well worth it. Only when a developer truly understands your company can they make the right website for it. So, if you do go this route, be sure to give open and honest feedback throughout the process. 

You’re not going to hurt the developer’s feelings; they won’t be offended that you didn’t like the shade of green they chose because they can’t make the best website for your small business if you don’t tell them what you like and, more importantly, don’t like. 

The Ultimate Choice

So what’s the better choice? 

Template websites have their appeal, but quick and cheap isn’t everything. It’s easy to think the look of a website doesn’t matter as long as people can get the information they need, but that’s not really the case. Sure, you could tear the corner off a piece of paper, write your name and phone number on it and call it a business card, but it’d make you look terribly unprofessional and most likely cost you some business. 

While using a template isn’t unprofessional by any means, it doesn’t have the same effect as a custom-built site. It lacks the authenticity and personality of a unique website, and while unlikely, it’s possible that a customer could arrive at your website only to find it identical to the one they just left—and that’s not a good look. 

You want your small business to stand out, and your website should do the same. It can seem daunting and require a little more work, but if you want a website that truly represents your small business, in the debate of choosing a template vs custom website, it’s going to need to be a custom website.

Think about it–you took the time to build your small business from nothing. You invested your time, energy and money into making it something to be proud of. Don’t let a bad (or absent) website hold you back any further. Rooted Web can be the final tool needed to make your custom website exactly what you need it to be. Let’s get started!

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Ryan Berger

Ryan Berger is a marketing specialist who uses his fun and creative energy to produce fresh, unique and custom content for our clients.

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