More and more we’re seeing template websites being sold these days. You know those deals you see, “£200 FIVE PAGE WEBSITE, BUY NOW”, kind of thing? We’re often asked by clients what benefits a bespoke website has for their business. As in, why should they pay more money for something tailored to them as opposed to the cheaper template option.
This question, I suppose, is similar to asking why should I buy a tailored suit as opposed to one off the shelf. When putting it that way, the answers seem a little more common sense, but I thought I’d take some time to dive into the detail on why you should always go bespoke.
Firstly, and most importantly in my opinion, is how often having a strategy is overlooked. What’s your website supposed to do? Collect email addresses? Convert online sales? Act as a brochure? Encourage engagement on social media? The list goes on. Your web designer should first gain an understanding of what you’re trying to achieve, then design and code something that’s made specifically for that job. Therefore, a bespoke build is the only way to properly implement your strategy because a template can’t understand what you’re trying to achieve.
The design of your website should perfectly represent your brand. Consistent branding throughout all marketing channels is critical to creating awareness. There are design limitations with templates. Sure, you’ll be able to change a few colours and add your logo, but that’s it. Your brand is more than your logo and a colour though – it’s a visual and readable interpretation of your company’s values. A template can’t deliver that; a designer creating a bespoke website can.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is used to to get your website as high as possible on Google’s search listings for a specific set of key phrases or keywords. Several factors are taken into consideration when Google calculates your websites ranking, including:
– Keyword frequency (how many times your keyword is in the copy)
– Keywords in headings and page title
– Ratio of text to code (How many characters of copy the website has VS how many characters of HTML)
– Alt text on images (What the browser displays when an image doesn’t load)
– Code quality (Yep, there’s such a thing as bad code. No joke!)
… and that’s just a few of them. When choosing your template, ask it if it will be sure to achieve greatness on all of the above. Oh yeah, you can’t talk to a template. Go bespoke!
We use analytics to track our website use. You’ll probably want to as well. There’s more to analytics than just seeing how many people have viewed your website though. You can track user journeys and check off goal completions (such as playing a video, completing an enquiry form or downloading a PDF). This is all critical to understanding your website’s funnel and learning where users drop-off. Your template website won’t allow for this advanced tracking and you miss out on having a greater understanding of what makes your customers tick. Go bespoke!
Maintenance & Future proofing
So, last year you purchased a template website for your business. If your business is growing, your marketing challenges are significantly different now, right? What we can say for sure, is that technology is different now compared to 1 year ago. Your website will need updating as new browsers and devices are released and as your business evolves. But, you’ve got a template – you’ve already got what you paid for and they’re not made for updating. If you’d have gone bespoke, you’d have your web designer (who made the website adaptable to your businesses growth) at the other end of the telephone ready to implement the inevitable changes that will need to occur. He already knows your business. He already knows the technology. The job’s pretty much already done. Go bespoke!
Now, I don’t want to say completely steer clear of templates (despite having given that impression) – I think there may be some reasonable cases where it’s worth going the cheaper route. For example if someone released a template saying “This template is perfect for, let’s say Hotels looking to achieve X, Y and Z”. Whoever’s made the template has already done the research for those specific goals in that industry and you’ll probably get your money’s worth. That’s not to say you won’t want to go bespoke eventually. You will – your business deserves the best of all of the above. But as a short term solution on that basis, it seems reasonable to me.
Ultimately, it all comes down to your ROI. Does the website deliver the goods? Does it do what you wanted it to when you parted with your money? Your chances of saying “yes” to those questions are far higher when you go bespoke.
If you’ve had a good or bad experience with using template websites, leave a comment below. I’d like to hear about it.