DIY Template Websites vs. Custom Sites

If you are considering a new website for your business, you have probably thought about creating your own site using one of the many templates available from various online services. You may wonder if it’s worth paying a design or development company for something you could just do yourself. Template websites come with a unique set of advantages and disadvantages. In most cases, they sound too good to be true – and that’s because they are. Below, I outline why most professionals and experienced website owners recommend custom websites.

Advantages of DIY template websites:

Low expenses: In most cases, template sites will be lower-cost in the short term. Many templates are even available for free.
Speed: If you are building your own template site, you have complete control over the timeline. Often, because so much of the site is premade, template sites can be launched in a matter of weeks. However, this is only true if all of your content is ready to go.
Solo decision-making: With a template website, you choose your own images, layout, and design without input from other designers.
Given these valuable advantages, you may wonder why a template website isn’t a good option. After all, who wouldn’t want to build an inexpensive, DIY website that’s available for use quickly? Unfortunately, the downsides are overwhelming.

Disadvantages of DIY template websites:

Lack of uniqueness: Because there are limited customization options associated with templates, you will likely end up with a website that isn’t unique to your business. Template websites don’t allow you to show off your brand or personality.
Poor upkeep: Often, templates are created hurriedly and maintained sporadically. This leaves you vulnerable to numerous security risks, as well as the possibility that your website simply won’t be compatible with updates. Additionally, the website likely will not be optimized for speed and customer experience. Given that, if a website takes longer than 3 seconds to load, 40% of customers will leave, this can be massively detrimental to your business.
Not scalable: This style of website is not designed to grow with you. If you plan to grow your business from 100 clients to 1,000, a template website is not the solution for you.

These disadvantages make template sites unappealing. While the often high cost of custom development may be intimidating at first, these sites are almost always preferable. Sure, template websites have a low entry cost, but they also tend to have a low return on investment. When you invest in a custom website, you’re investing in the future of your business.

Advantages of custom websites:

Great branding: One of the most important characteristics of custom sites is the ability to distinguish yourself from competitors. With a custom website, you get all the customizations and functionality you need. A development team can help you achieve great branding that communicates your message and value to customers. Since
Expert support: When you start a custom website project, you have a knowledgeable team on your side from start to finish. They will be able to answer your questions and make design suggestions from an expert standpoint. Perhaps most importantly, you won’t have to worry about making critical mistakes when putting together your website!
Better SEO: Any credible web developer will include basic search engine optimization in your custom site. This will give it a natural advantage over dime-a-dozen templates. Furthermore, most developers can provide insight on how you can optimize your content and will often include an SEO plugin or tool with your build.
Easy updates and growth: Your custom website will be fully scalable and designed to grow with you. Also, many developers offer maintenance packages with automatic updates and continued support. For more details about care plans, check out our page on fully managed website maintenance.

Disadvantages of custom sites:

Money and time: The most commonly cited disadvantages of professionally-designed websites are investment and timeline. Web design and development are like any other industry – paying a professional costs more than trying to do it yourself.

Invest in your business.

Think about it: would you try to replace your own roof or do your business’ complicated taxes yourself? When something is important, you entrust it to a professional. Websites take time and money to build properly. Site designs that are cheap and fast may seem enticing. However, these characteristics are actually red flags. If you want a site that will attract customers and produce a high return on investment for years to come, contact us about custom development today.

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Chantelle Gossner

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