Designing your business website isn’t something to make rushed decisions about.
It’s most likely what clients and customers see before almost anything else pertaining to your business. It can literally make or break your online presence and, ultimately, your business itself.
So, when going to the prospect of a website redesign, you need to figure out what route to take: custom website design or a DIY template?
One isn’t necessarily better than the other, but each certainly comes with its own set of pros and cons. It really depends on what you want (and need) to achieve with your website.
Before Starting Your Website Design, Ask Yourself a Few Questions
Like it or not, appearance matters. This is especially true when it comes to your business website. People on the web expect nice websites nowadays, and coming across one that’s really outdated and/or hard to use isn’t going to make them want to stay.
While each business has unique goals, there are a couple general ones about what your website should accomplish, no matter what your business is:
- Educate visitors about your business. Who are you? What do you do? What do you have to offer?
- Establish yourself as an authority in your industry.
- Drive conversions. Your site should drive people to call you, visit your location, fill out a form, download something, or complete some sort of conversion.
To achieve these items, your website needs to put user accessibility before anything else. If it isn’t easy for your audience to find the information they’re looking for, they’re going to go somewhere else.
So now that you know what your website needs in order to build trust and inform, ask yourself, “how can I develop something that achieves these goals?” It’s a little easier to quantify what triggers distrust, so let’s take a look at some things to avoid:
- Cluttered and busy layouts with too much going on
- Bad functionality that makes the website hard to navigate
- Boring or outdated designs
- Too much text and small fonts
- Uninviting user interface
As you can see, web design plays a big role in building customer or client trust and keeping them on your website.
The Pros and Cons of Custom Website Design
Now that you understand the importance of web design and layout, how do you create an amazing website? What’s best: custom design or DIY templates?
Let’s start out by looking at custom design. These websites are custom designed by developers (in WordPress, here at Thrive).
Con: It’s an Investment
It’s true that custom WordPress design costs significantly more than DIY templates through websites like Squarespace, Wix, or Shopify. You’re paying for design and development labor and expertise, and when those things are done well, they’re not very cheap. However, you’re really making a long-term investment in your online presence. Having an amazing and well-performing website will most likely repay you for making such an investment.
Con: Custom Website Design Isn’t an Overnight Solution
If you need something like, yesterday, it’s going to be hard to do with a custom design. Custom designers and developers need to understand your brand and audience and then create something – all of which takes significant time (most likely a few months).
Pro: You’ll Stand Out from the Crowd
As long as you have a great designer, your website will be original. You can design a website that completely stands out from your competitors.
Pro: You Can Fully Express Your Branding
Custom design gives you the ability to put your brand’s imagery and mission into your entire design. A designer who knows what they’re doing will thoroughly understand your brand and company culture before creating your website.
Pro: You Can Create an Experience that Caters to Your Readers
Studies show that an easy-to-use website with an amazing interface is important for keeping your audience engaged. With a custom design, you can run A/B tests and create a website completely based on what’s best for your personal audience.
Pro: You’re in Complete Control of How Your Website Functions
One of the best things about custom website design is the functionality. If you can dream it, you can do it: add clickable images wherever you want, move the menu around, add or remove sidebars, include special features during checkout. Plus, with WordPress, you get the power of plugins to do just about anything and everything you want.
Pro: You Can Easily Make Updates or Changes
The website style is like anything else: trends come and go. When you come across a website that looks like it was designed in 2003, you probably cringe or run for the back button. With custom sites, you can easily update your website or make changes as needed.
The Pros and Cons of DIY and Template Website Designs
Con: It Might Look Like Everyone Else’s
These websites only offer so many different templates. That means multiple people are using the same design for similar websites. If you’re a wedding photographer in a small town with virtually no competition, this probably isn’t a problem. If you’re in a high competition industry like defense law, however, this isn’t ideal.
Con: You’re Basically Stuck with What You’ve Got
Templates give you some customization options, but not that many. Test out the templates for a while and see how you feel. You’ll probably notice after a while that you can’t do everything you want to do.
Con: User Functionality is Very Limited
If something isn’t working out, you can’t do an entire overhaul because DIY templates don’t provide many customization options. You can’t add features in new places or make tweaks to encourage or improve user engagement.
Pro: It’s Fast and Easy
If you need a website immediately and don’t have much web design experience, website templates work. They’re also great placeholders to give you a sleek website while you have a team working on a custom website design behind the scenes.
Pro: It Doesn’t Cost Much
Most platforms like Shopify and Squarespace charge flat monthly rates. A custom design depends on several factors, including time spent in development and tools.
Let’s Create a Stunning Website Together
At Thrive, we know what you want: a website that properly reflects your brand AND grows your business. 78% of potential customers research products and services online before making their final decision – your website really needs to make an impact.
If you’re ready to take charge of your online presence with a custom website design, search engine optimization, social media marketing, or just about anything else, contact us today. You can also give us a call to talk to an expert from Thrive at 866-908-4748.