May 9, 2016

Custom Website Design vs. WordPress Themes & Templates

apples to apples

As the internet continues its incredible growth and expansion, a unique and distinct website has become essential for businesses who desire a competitive advantage. Differentiating a business from its competitors requires a bespoke, personalized website presence, crafted carefully and based on specific goals and objectives. Custom website design and development not only includes a unique look and design scheme for the site visually, but also a specific suite of functionality that should be engineered around a business’ individual needs.

When selecting a website design firm, many businesses consider total budget and visual appeal of prior web work above all other factors. Naturally, image matters. That is a universal truth in the web design and marketing universe. What happens behind the scenes, and behind the design, however, is also critically important.

Many low-budget website “design” companies are able to cut corners and offer extremely low pricing using website templates, with which there is no custom design or strategic planning involved. Today, there are thousands and thousands of pre-designed, pre-programmed website templates into which low-budget firms are able to quickly install, insert logos, text, and photos, and call it a wrap.

A template-based website will be significantly less expensive than custom built. Advantage: Template! A custom website will be unique visually, it will be built to work for your business functionally, it will revolve around your unique strengths, and it will project professionalism. Game, set, match: Custom!

99% of the time, a template-based website requires a lower investment upfront. But over time, it will be more costly when your business outgrows its limitations, requiring you to customize or overhaul it.

The WordPress content management system is a wildly popular website platform, and there seemingly countless free and premium “themes” available for websites of all varieties and types (“theme” is a term that refers to a specific template-format for WordPress). Some of these themes look gorgeous and even function very well. But there is an undeniable difference between a website that is custom crafted around a business’ individual content and message, and a website that squeezes a business’ content and message into a pre-defined framework.

When a web design firm offers a package for a significantly lower budget than competitors, it is quite likely that this provider will be strictly “operating” a template. Chances are, the result will look like many other websites that also utilize a similar template. This is an ineffective long term marketing strategy for just about any business, large or small. Truly custom web design requires a larger investment, but the end result will be a website that speaks effectively to your visitors, functions in a productive way for your business, and paves the way for growth and expansion in the future.

Custom websites are designed and built around your content and messaging. Template websites squeeze your content into a predefined framework.

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