Good question, actually there are good reasons for each of the above options. I encourage people to use low cost template solutions all the time even though I am an “expensive designer”.
It really all comes down to business priorities related to the following two items
A well designed, custom website really goes a long way towards establishing you as a successful, professional business, while a template website always looks like a template website.
Sometimes the custom designed website is out of your budget, and in that case a template based website is better than no website at all.
We can approach this question from the other side as well and ask “when would a template based website be the best solution for me and my business?”
Top 5 Indicators That a Template Based Website Is For Me.
- I print my business cards on my desktop printer using perforated sheets.
- I have been known to show up to business meetings in flip-flops.
- My business is just starting out and we barely have enough money to turn on the lights.
- Our competitors strive to be the best, our goal is to be the cheapest.
- My 12 year old designed our logo in MS Paint.
Okay, that was a bit tongue-in-cheek, but the point I am making is that sometimes business image takes a backseat to other, more important priorities like budget. Many very successful businesses never think twice about business image and who am I to argue with their success? But if you are interested in standing out from your competition and making the best impression possible, then a custom designed website is the way to go.
When you put it in perspective the price of a custom designed website is not so much for an item that you buy once and own forever. The cost of the average custom designed website amortized over 5 years comes out to around $60 a month, many businesses spend much more than that every month for print advertising.
Feel free to use our “Get a quote” tab above to see how our prices compare to a template based website. There is no obligation or high pressure sales tactics involved.
A custom designed website is not for everyone. A person would want a custom designed website for the same reasons you might buy an expensive suit for business meetings or for the same reasons you might work hard to make your office clean and presentable, because you want to present a professional, successful business image.
Template based websites always tend to look like templates and are often rough around the edges. For a small business just starting out, or when marketing budgets are extremely tight or nonexistent, one of these free or low cost websites is probably the best solution.
For the growing business looking to make a good impression on potential customers, a custom designed website is among the best, and certainly among the cheapest, marketing investments you can make.
Creating a great web design is a balancing act between many varied and sometime contradictory elements. A website needs to please different groups of people and accomplish several functions at the same time. It combines left-brain, logical thinking and right-brain, artistic thinking. The average user or even owners of websites have little knowledge of what all goes into a truly great website, therefore I have compiled a list of the different things a website must accomplish to be considered great. Compare this list to your website to see where it might need improvement.
- Look good – This goes without saying and is the part you probably already knew. A good looking website portrays a positive image for the business it represents.
- Work on a wide variety of screens – Every web browser will render a page slightly different, so will different operating systems, there are also mobile phones, tablets and other odd platforms to think about.
- Be easy to navigate – The end user must find the site easy to get around in and not confusing or they will go to the competition.
- Achieve it’s goals – Whatever the site was intended to do, be that getting potential clients to call or producing online sales, the site needs to be designed to naturally engage visitors and funnel them towards that goal.
- Play nice with search engines – Almost any site will benefit by better search engine ranking. So another thing the website must do is make it easy for the search engine spiders to index the content of that site.
- Be easily maintainable – At some point every site will need updates, a well put together site will be created with updates in mind using includes, comments in the code and clean, easily readable HTML.
- Load quickly – Obviously, yet it is often not made a priority in web design. With the rise in mobile web browsing this element is more important than ever, yet still often neglected.
There are many other things a website needs to do, but these are the big ones. These are the items that separate the men from the boys in web design, the lowest bidder is most likely not going to nail these points. Likewise a person trained in traditional graphic design will not have all the skills necessary to create a great web design, it takes someone who understands the intricacy of website design, someone who understands things like:
- graphic design
- cross-browser and cross-platform website compatibility
- information architecture and web usability principles
- search engine optimization techniques
- W3C HTML and CSS standards
- server side scripting languages
- image optimization
A really great web design has to look good, work across all browsers and platforms, be easy to navigate, achieve it’s goals, be fully indexable by search engines, be easy to maintain and load quickly, among other things. Creating a website that can do all these things requires a wide variety of skills that you won’t find at every business offering web design services. So how does your website stack up?
A web site is one of those things that a business often puts off until the last, and then only after pondering whether they would rather have a website or a second fax machine. Yet some of these same companies will spend the price of a website on marketing every month, all the while doing without the most powerful marketing tool they could have, a website. I’m here to tell you that a truly profitable and successful website is within your grasp. Does your business need a website? Any business can profit from a well thought out, professional website, some types of businesses more than others, but all can profit from a good website.
Set your skepticism aside for a moment as we lay out 10 reasons why a business needs a website.
- It will promote your business to new prospects 24 hours a day.
- It present a professional business image.
- It allows you to quickly and inexpensively communicate with customers and business prospects.
- It can provide 24/7 customer service and support.
- It will allow your business to reach out to customers around the world.
- It will help build your brand.
- It can provide product information to interested ones anywhere, anytime.
- It can sell product or services for you while you’re asleep, or playing golf or whatever.
- It will save you time and money; no printing and mailing out information, instead direct them to your website, fewer phone calls for orders or trivial information when these things are available on your website.
- It will give you and edge on your competition.
These are just the basics though, the possibilities are endless, what could your business do with online collaboration, event management or online data management applications? Think about showcasing your best work on your website, or having an email newsletter to keep customers and prospects informed on your latest sales and services offered.
So why does a business need a website? Well, does a business need more customers, does a business need happier customers, does a business need to save money on marketing materials and mailings?