When you start or expand a business, you have a million questions to answer. You need a business plan and a digital marketing plan. Of course, you also need a website. The question is, what kind? Which type of website will do your brand the most good for the least money? Can you get away with an inexpensive web template? Or do you need to find an experienced web designer to craft your bespoke website? The answer is not the same for all businesses.
If you have a singular bricks and mortar business that you want to customers to visit, a single page, brochure website is probably right for you. If you are selling over the internet with a range of products or services, you will need a more complicated e-commerce site. But even if you are starting with a very basic brochure website, you have to answer the question of whether a template will provide what your brand needs or not.
The obvious advantage of template is price. In general, buying a website template will be cheaper than hiring a web designer to create a custom site. It is also faster, and time is money. Getting a site up and running quickly means you start earning sooner. So what’s not to love about website templates? You do run a risk of picking a design that your customers have seen before. Yes, you can customize it a bit, but it is not going to be as distinctive as a site created just for your brand. That hurts in a subtle way. Your brand simply does not stand out as much as it could.
A bigger problem is search engine optimization. Templates have a big disadvantage here because optimizing them for search engines is all on you. That undercuts the time saving advantage. You need to have the knowledge and the skill to do this well. It is not a matter of slapping a few popular keywords into your content.
A bespoke site does take longer, but really you should be working on this early on in the process of developing your business and marketing plans. Your business website should not be an after-thought. When you hire web design professionals early in the process, you have the time for them to get to know your brand and your audience.
They can flesh out exactly what your site needs to be able to do – and they will probably have ideas you hadn’t considered that will benefit your brand and increase your sales. You know your business well, and web designers know theirs. They will be up to date on current trends with SEO and design, and your company will reap the benefits.
Bespoke web design is an investment in your company like any other. If you skimp, it can hurt you long term. But investing in the right expertise can mean your brand gets up and running – and selling – faster.
Templates can work very well for side-line businesses when the proprietor also knows how to customize them and is able to put the time into doing it right. But when you want to go big and launch a successful brand, having a team of experienced professionals to craft a unique, distinctive, bespoke website is going to pay off.
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