Are you thinking of getting a new website for your practice? If so, then have you asked the right questions? Like, what type of website should you go for? An off-the-shelf template or a custom-made (bespoke) website? Well, it all goes down to what you want. Which option would suit that unique plan you have for your practice. However, there are pros and cons to whichever you choose.
Therefore, you should take out time to weigh your options.
What is an off-the-shelf website?
An off-the-shelf website allows purchasing a pre-built template with some ability to customise. It’s a drag and drop process. Therefore, you can drag and drop elements onto pre-built pages. A pre-built template works well if you are a start-up, mainly because it is very cost-effective. Hence you can access it with a tiny budget.
Advantages of an off-the-shelf website
No skills necessary
Generally, you can’t build a website if you are not a web developer. However, with a pre-built template, you don’t necessarily need developer skills. Because it is a drag and drop process. All the design and coding you need is made available. You just have to drag and drop.
All you need to get started on an off-the-shelf template is to make the purchase. After this, you can have a site up in no time. We’re talking about minutes! So, if you want an instant website, an off-the shelf-template is your go-to.
if you look at what it takes to get a custom-built website cost-wise, you’ll no doubt realise that a pre-built template is cheaper.
Although you don’t need skills to have a pre-built template, you’ll probably have some questions. As a result, some premium themes provide developer support for a while (1 year after purchase) to help you. Theme support team comes in handy, particularly for a non-developer.
Off-the-shelf solutions such as WordPress and more come with basic SEO. As a result, you have that aspect covered from the start.
At this point, the question of why go for a custom website will arise. I mean, if you have all these made available, why extra stress, right? It is not until you give it a go and delve into it that you realise its limitations and hidden fees. It’s not free after all.
Disadvantages of off-the-shelf
Limited design flexibility
When using an off-the-shelf template, you are restricted to a particular structured theme. You are allowed to make specific changes such as colours, fonts and logos. However, outside these changes, there’s a lot you can do, which a pre-built template doesn’t give you room for. Therefore, there’s no room for unique credibility. As your business grows, there may be a need for specific changes and rebranding. A pre-built template can’t guarantee that.
The template is available to you as it is to every other person out there. So, going for it makes you part of the flock. Chances are 1000 people out there are using the same template as you. Thus, making it difficult to stand out. Naturally, themes use similar layouts. As a result, it’ll be no secret that your website is using a pre-built template.
Generally, templates are created solely for the public. So, they are designed to suit the needs of many users and not your specific needs. As a result, many functions will not be available. So you are forced to work around the general template. But the fact is, your preferred template cannot offer everything you want. So, are you ready to compromise?
These templates you see online are created using codes. Therefore, there’s a possibility they can come with several codes and functions. Also, you will purchase plugins and features to meet your needs. This brings us to the next point.
Although a pre-built template would appear cheaper at a glance, there are hidden costs to it. You need additional plugins, and these don’t come for free. Besides the admin cost, some upgrades will cost you time.
79% of online shoppers say they won’t go back to a website if they’ve had trouble with load speed. Adding too many apps and functions to your site can lessen site speed.
Usability and SEO
While some off-the-shelf solutions cover basic SEO, many functions can affect usability and SEO. Too many functions call for extra navigation by users.
So what option is there other than the pre-built template?
A Custom-made website
A bespoke website is a unique website, designed and built from scratch by a professional and 100% tailored around your brand, customers and goals. Here you can be unique and creative, with no constraints whatsoever. As a result, you can have a one-of-a-kind website, making you stand out.
Advantages of bespoke website design
With a custom-made solution, your goals are outlined from the start. So, your site is built specifically around your needs with no compromise at all. As a result, meeting your business goals and requirements.
With a bespoke site, you don’t have to worry about your business growing in size. Whether or not it can handle extra content or traffic. A pre-built template requires an additional fee for higher levels of traffic.
A bespoke website solution gives room for flexibility. You can add a design or functionality to your site as you see fit.
As earlier mentioned, a bespoke solution is built with specific goals from the start. Your SEO optimisation needs are not exempted. Also, the content populated for launch. As a result, the need for additional plugins or functionality doesn’t arise.
Unlike a pre-built template, a custom-made website isn’t built with the masses in mind. It is built solely to suit your needs. Therefore, your website can be built with granular control. Thus, even the tiniest item can be handled by an administrator without developer involvement.
Yes, a custom-made website is cost-effective. The amount involve at first could appear large. However, the features it comes with make it worth it. Also, there are no later or hidden charges. You know all the charges involved from the get-go. Moreso, because they are more flexible, scalable and secure, they provide a more cost-effective solution over time when compared to their off-the-shelf counterparts.
Web designers cater for all improvements and updates. Also, there’s an expert team for support, maintenance, advice and even training.
Because web developers write the codes themselves, it gives you, the owner, complete control of it. Thus, removing the need for 3rd party plugins and open-source codes (both favoured by hackers).
So does a custom-made website have a downside to it?
Disadvantages of bespoke website design
Okay! So we are not talking about a drag and drop website or simply making a couple of installations. Everything is built from scratch and to spec as well. Also, the uniqueness with which it comes. Of course, this can be time-consuming, configuring everything plus SEO optimisation. The continuing maintenance time to keep the site running and secure. But, in the end, it will all be worth it.
“A bespoke website design will more than pay for itself in the long run. You will experience a return on investment as the quality of the site will ensure that people stick around to purchase.”
Longer delivery time
You can’t possibly compare the time you use in purchasing an item to the time you use in building that item. Naturally, constructing something from scratch takes relatively longer.
Particular custom solutions, such as booking engines, e-commerce platforms or content management systems, are built specifically to suit your needs. Often, this restricts the support to the original developers. Therefore, you are locked in a relationship with these developers. Although this may not be bad for your business, it shouldn’t be overlooked.
Which option is best for you?
While we can’t tell you which website to go for, we want you to know beforehand what each has to offer. Both custom-made websites and off-the-shelf come in handy depending on what works for you. At the end of the day, the question is, are you able to achieve your goals?