Bespoke web design or template web design?

10 Feb 2016Greg read

When it comes to building a website for your business, there are plenty of options. From DIY sites and pre-designed templates to one-size-fits-all approaches and tailored solutions, there’s such a lot of choice that it can be hard to see the wood for the trees.

This means we like to approach each and every project on it’s own merits and provide a tailored solution.

We think it is important to consider all aspects of a project in detail and create a site that meets these requirements fully. From a design and coding point of view this means we start with a blank canvas each time.

Sure, there are basic fundamentals and best practices which we replicate that underpin all sites, but having the freedom to design and create solutions allows us to meet requirements specifically.

This means that the end result for both the owner of the site and the user is a 100 times better than utilising something generic which has been “hacked about a bit” in an attempt to fit your requirements.


Good design is often undervalued

We believe the rise of online “build it yourself” website services and cheap pre-made templates is leading to a culture of good website design being undervalued.
By referencing the word “design”, I am not just talking about how a website looks either.

In fact, it goes much deeper than that.

Design combines the visuals with site structure and usability – all of which should come together to present the user with a seamless, enjoyable experience.

Equally, the owner of the site should have something that engages with its users and delivers leads and sales. It should also stay the course for the foreseeable future. As with many other things in life, things that work well and look simple don’t just happen by accident.

More often than not they are the culmination of a long process, powered by experience, skill and knowledge. Sure, as with other marketing activities, it’s easy to think you can have a go at web design. However in reality you should leave it to the professionals. After all, a bespoke website project is hundreds hours of work.


So let’s talk money

One of the key factors for any marketing activity is budget.

Sure, these online DIY services are initially attractive price wise – and template sites can save a lot of time and therefore money – but are either of them actually providing a good, long-term solution?

Are they going to give you and your users a good representation of your company?


Template shortcomings

The styling of the template won’t be “on brand”
It won’t be unique, and if keeping your company image on brand matters to you then a template won’t offer the best solution. With a bespoke solution all brand identity elements and guidelines can be considered and implemented with greater effect.

You can’t influence the structure
Think about the fundamental small details about navigation such as faceted menus and filters. Do you have an idea of how these should work? If so the template may not have the flexibility you need.

It won’t understand your goals
To get a bespoke design and bespoke build solution you need to have a conversation. A template won’t adapt to your goals easily but a tailored design can. A bespoke solution will take into account all the goals and technical requirements you need. These requirements will then influence the design choices we make. Knowing from the start that a user of your site needs to perform “cost savings calculations” on a product in real time or needs to use a “bulk order form”, or has to navigate through a complex product/service structure means we can create something that is visually appealing and at the same time provides a excellent user experience. It will also mean the process is simpler, quicker, and easier to understand.

It won’t evolve as you do
A company’s website needs to grow and evolve much like the company itself grows and evolves over time. You need to know that the website you start with has room to mature and advance.  If it can’t then you would be looking to start the process of a new website all over again way too quickly. The way the template has been built by the third party could well be coded badly, which is time consuming to unravel and therefore expensive to edit or add new features to.


Good design is a wise investment

To be honest, the template route is not a wise investment in the long run.

And as a company you need to consider what you are willing to invest at the outset, because a website is an investment, unlike most other marketing services.

A website lives. It evolves. It gives your company a presence in what is now, largely the only go-to place for company info and sales: the web. In today’s world your website is arguably the most important piece of marketing you will ever do, so invest wisely.

Our advice would be to spend the time to do it right.

Consider your goals and your customer base in depth and think about what your long-term objectives really are. Then give us a call!