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Custom Website Or WordPress Template?

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Generic website built from templates


On the surface it would appear that premade WordPress website templates are an excellent choice. They are cheap (some are even free) and are marketed by their creators as visually attractive, easy to use and filled with useful features. What’s not to like? However, appearances can often be deceiving and while some templates may look great, there are definite drawbacks to using this method.


Do I Need A Custom Built Website?

Another option is to use a web design agency or commission a freelance web designer to create a new website with new page layouts, fonts, effects, forms and other elements needed for your site. You can make your website as specific as you would like. Your developers can also work on the user experience, “UX”, of your website as well as adapting it for mobile devices. Custom built websites will often cost more than your average WordPress template, which are often free, but they will offer a completely bespoke service and create a blank canvas for you to meet your specific business goals.

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Do I Need To Hire A Web Developer?

The main problem with off-the-shelf themes is their ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Unfortunately, web design isn’t that simple. In order to reach the widest possible audience, WordPress theme authors must sell high volumes of their product. They’re built to sell, rather than to promote your business.

Website design templates are publicly available and created to sell in mass volumes. Their very purpose is to be reproduced for the mass market. WordPress designs its templates with trends at the forefront of its mind because, ultimately, we’re all subconsciously attracted to similar things and styles. That’s why its templates are so popular. Unfortunately, these design trends can pass very quickly. When a style has been in the public eye for long enough, it quickly becomes stale and loses its original appeal.

This means that your website will look like every other website (potentially like your competitor’s) and it won’t be individually tailored to your business’s needs. Your website is the shop window to your business or company. It generates traffic, awareness and sales, so when it comes to your website, making compromises or allowances shouldn’t be on your agenda. If you want to give your business the best possible chance to succeed and flourish, approach a web designer to create a custom website that stands out from the crowd.

It’s rare that a WordPress template can fulfill every need of your business’s website as they won’t offer any exclusive features. This is the opposite of what your website design needs. Custom websites will be designed with longevity and will appeal to a wider audience for a longer period of time, because they won’t be targeted towards millions of WordPress website users.

Unique websites stand out for this reason – they’re different. They can give a brand a fresh, professional feel and can be associated with bespoke quality.


What Are The Drawbacks Of Using Templates?

WordPress themes are often only as good as their homepage. When you download them and click through to the other pages within your website, they often won’t work as well and are a lot more basic. Sometimes you can often feel as though you’ve been tricked, because your website just won’t look like the demo site you judged the theme on originally.


Are Website Templates Bad For SEO?

Pre-made templates often sacrifice website optimisation for design. Given many template authors are not skilled in SEO, these websites may not have been designed with optimisation and conversion principles in mind. This means less traffic to your website and, in turn, reduced business.

If you want to improve the SEO performance of your website and increase traffic, optimisation is key. At its essence, optimisation focuses on the techniques used to gain traffic, engage visitors and convert them into sales. Optimisation is a large topic, covering a wide variety of approaches and methods, but some key techniques are: SEO, technical performance factors such as site speed and display on mobiles and tablets, optimising conversion experience and user experience (UX). Custom built sites are created to enable search engine bots to read each page properly.


Are Website Templates Scaleable Or Adaptable?

Customising your website is vital to ensure it fits your brand, target audience and specific needs. If your site is focused on ecommerce this becomes even more important. Working with a specialist web design agency or designer lets you customise your website from the ground up. The cookie-cutter approach of pre-made templates often means the features you need for your business won’t be available immediately. Whether you need a specific font, colour scheme, a booking form or another feature specific to your business, pre-made templates may restrict the potential of your website and its overall appeal. It might mean having to shoe-horn your content to fit into the template.

By customising your website, can make your business stand out from your competition, show site visitors that you take pride in the appearance of your business and enhance user experience.


Will A Website Template Be Slow To Load?

Because a WordPress template isn’t built specifically for your business, there will be elements within it that you don’t need. This means that there’ll be a lot of excess code in the back-end of your website that is totally redundant. This will slow down your page speed and affect your SEO.

It can also be tricky if you use a WordPress template to start with and then employ a web developer to fix it. Cheap or free templates often have badly written code and it rarely has comments within it, something web developers often do to help others to understand it if and when it needs adapting.

Because of their one-size-fits-all premise, WordPress templates often require a lot of different plug-ins for your website to simply function and sometimes they can be very large, which will, again, slow down your site speed.


What if I Need Help With my Website After It’s Been Built?

Custom built sites are very adaptable and are great for scalable businesses.

If you work with a specialist web designer or agency you will usually be given aftercare, allowing you to keep your website up to date and ensure it remains high in Google and search engine rankings. Developers will make sure up-to-date plugins and the latest coding versions are used, while also making amendments to or editing existing content. A WordPress template developer can easily decide not to update that specific theme once they’ve finished it. There won’t be any latest versions of the theme and the plugins could become incompatible.

With pre-made templates, help and aftercare is rarely available. There is no relationship to build and no one to ring when you need some advice. This means either paying a freelance developer to troubleshoot, customise and optimise your website at a later date, or attempt to do the work yourself.

As soon as you meet your website designer, they’ll start from the ground up by getting to grips with your business and understanding how it works. These are essential components for the basis of good website design.

If you start to scale your business up and expand, you can get back in touch with your web designer to develop it further. If you are busy running a business, having to amend, code and adapt your website is not always an ideal solution.
Having a point of contact to reach out to for assistance is vital and though the initial cost outlay for a web developer is higher than buying a pre-made template, the individual aftercare and help you receive makes it a sound investment.

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