Our Take on Custom Web Design vs the One-Size-Fits All Approach
Your business—and its branding—isn't meant to be put in a box.
In 2013, Moz claimed custom websites were dying. Half a decade later, custom websites are not only defying that statement by becoming more and more ubiquitous, they're increasingly crucial to all sorts of businesses. From Forbes to Business2Community, business experts are taking note of the importance of investing in a custom website.
Let's be clear: there are times when a templated website will work just fine. Are you just starting out and have a tight budget? A non-custom website is much better than nothing. But by using a template, you're putting your business's branding and online marketing efforts into a predesigned box. It may be a cheap box, but remember, you get what you pay for. You’ve put a lot of work into your business—your website should reflect that.
As we often tell our clients, a big part of our strategy is working with you to build up your business—and your revenue. Investing in a custom site may seem intimidating at first glance, but it's more likely to improve your key performance indicators—unique visits, click-to-converts and click-to-buys. A well-maintained custom site can end up paying for itself in little time and must be considered in your business's cost-benefit analysis.
Read on for more reasons why we're so obsessed with custom-designed websites.
Going Custom Allows You to Actively Collaborate with Industry-Leading Designers
Our process involves a lot of listening—our designers ask smart questions to get to the heart of the client's brand, business and team culture. Using this insight, they then create an intentional design built on strategy and client collaboration. Each website design has a unique personality with a clear brand story tailored to that business's target audience, needs, values and goals.
In addition, our designers ensure there's harmony between the site's required functionality and its visual appeal—no need to compromise on style vs function. And style, in particular, is paramount in online marketing. As a recent Google study explained, "people are able to form stable attractiveness judgments of website screenshots within 50 milliseconds." Like it or not, people care about the look of any business's website. Go with the pros to ensure your business's online branding gets noticed for the right reasons!
Your Website is Often the First Impression Your Business Makes on a Potential Customer—Make it Count!
Sites using a template often get lost in the ocean of other businesses using templates to promote their own products and services. Do you really want to make your website look just like those of your competitors? Studies suggest 81% of shoppers conduct online research before buying. If a prospective buyer is considering your products or services, there's a good chance they're going to check out your website before making a decision on how they'll spend their money. An uninspiring site may turn them away before you even have the chance to personally pitch how awesome your products are or how friendly your customer service team is.
SEO, SEO, SEO
Straight out the gate, templates often restrict the ability to capitalize on search engine optimization practices. As SEO fanatics, we can tell you that open-source templates often lack the differentiating factors that send your SEO soaring. You may get stuck with poor coding that fails to account for modern SEO strategies and that causes slower load times (which is increasingly critical as Google continues to adjust its algorithm to penalize slow loading). Sure, your open-source website can still be ranked, but you'll likely have to put in a greater effort on a day-to-day basis to move your site up on target results pages—this is time that could be spent elsewhere advancing your business's primary objectives.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Templates, by nature, are designed as marketing "catch alls"—they must be generic enough to fit the basic design and functionality needs of many businesses. Inevitably, you'll hit a wall when trying to establish required functionality unique to your business's needs simply because your site wasn't designed for you—it was designed for as many people as possible.
The efelle team works in many verticals—this multi-industry familiarity allows us to stay creative, cross boundaries and think up out-of-the-box solutions for our one-of-a-kind clients. We work as a team and approach new challenges collaboratively. Being a mid-size creative agency is one of greatest assets—this "sweet spot" size of ours means we're large enough to have experts across multiple industries just a few desks away at all times, but we're small enough to give your team the personalized focus you need to ensure your specific goals and needs are met.
At efelle, we don’t just cash checks, pump out websites and walk away. We value the importance of custom websites—they're our driving passion—and think you should too.
We'll say it again: your business—and its branding—isn't meant to be put in a box.