Custom Websites vs. Website Builders: What Should I Use?

You know your company needs a website. It’s 2017, and you must have an online presence to be successful. But when you’re starting a business, you may fall into the trap of wanting to save money now, and cutting corners on your website to do it.

There are two basic ways of building a website: You can use a template in a website builder and do it yourself, or you can use a web designer to create a custom website for your business and your needs.

There are pros and cons to both, and it’s important to understand them so you can choose the option that’s going to best meet your business’s needs.

DIY Website Builders:

Pros:

  • DIY. If you can make it yourself, then you know exactly what you’re getting.
  • Themes can help you get a website up quickly and easily, although there’s definitely a learning curve and if you want to get into more complex features such as forms or e-commerce, and there can be limitations on the options that are available.
  • There are a ton of themes out there, many of which are beautiful, that you can have access to right away.
  • You can find some awesome inspiration for colors, layouts, and features.
  • Very low budget, when you need to get up and running ASAP.
  • Shorter development time.
  • Less expensive from the outset, even if you have to purchase your domain, hosting services, and/or a template from the website builder site.

Cons:

  • Many themes have built-in features and functionality you might not use and ultimately may slow your website down or leave you with unnecessary bits.
  • You may have to put up with designs or features that don’t fit your business or brand, or pay someone to change it.
  • If you change the underlying coding of a set theme, it can be difficult or even impossible to upgrade the site when updates are released.
  • If it’s an appealing/good looking template, there is probably going to be a ton of other people and businesses using the same or similar template.
  • And unless you pay the “Exclusive” price for that specific template, the website is going to keep selling that same template to anyone that wants it. Even if you pay the extra exclusive price, there are others who bought that template before you and they still have the right to use it.
  • You will be limited on the customization options of the template.
  • Without web page coding/building skills, you are still going to have to either spend the time and money to learn how to code a web page or hire someone to help you, or just use the basic options.
  • Some templates are laid out very specifically, meaning if you incorporate your own graphics or have extensive content, the template could break, or you might not be able to load you own graphics at all.
  • Some templates are not built to be search engine friendly, or just aren’t.
  • Antiquated coding: If the template uses non-current coding and techniques, it might not work in all browsers.

 

Custom Websites:

Pros:

  • Good web designers will have a consultation with you to find out more about your specific business and how you want your site to work, the features, etc.
  • SEO best practices and the ROI you’re looking for from your site and business will be taken into consideration when building your site, so that your goals can be met.
  • You are in control of the process and can get custom or specific features built into the design.
  • Unique design, stand out from the crowd, and fit your company’s branding.
  • How the background coding of your website is done will influence your success in the search engines, and designers understand that and can do it correctly.
  • The website will be more adaptable to your company’s specific needs, without random features or pages you don’t need taking up space.
  • By doing your own website planning and with the help of experts, you’ll end up with a list of features you want, which will give the web designer an idea of what to accomodate for in the future if your current budget doesn’t allow all the features to be implemented right away. They can leave room for more later!
  • Also, if you have planned out what you want in the future for your site, your web designer will take this into consideration as they select the technologies to use while building the website, as well, leaving the door open for upgrades.
  • Scalability and adaptability.
  • A Content Management System (CMS) can be built into the site to make it easy for you,  the owner, to manage the content of the site from anywhere.
  • Custom designs can save time in the long run, because website does just what you want it to do, and won’t be running a bunch of things you don’t need or want.

Cons:

  • The entire process takes longer, will include consultations, building time, maintenance, edits, revisions, etc.
  • More expensive to build.

Conclusion

Deciding how to build your website is just part of building a business, though an important piece. You want your website to be fresh and interesting, compel prospective customers to buy your product or service, you need it to be memorable and also look good on different devices.

If you have experience and the time, DIY website builders can be a great option for you! You can choose the template, add pictures and the content, and have it up very quickly, but it will be limited in its capabilities and options for customization.

If you are looking for something custom and to fit your branding, and have a bit extra time, then using a web design company is a great option, in order to get exactly what you want and not have anything extraneous, get the expertise in terms of SEO and coding, and have people who know how to maintain and upgrade your site over time. There aren’t really a lot of negatives to having a custom built website, over the upfront cost, which will pay for itself over time.
Either way, good luck in your new business!

 

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