Generic products can sometimes do the job — assuming the ingredients are comparable at a lower price point. But is what's true for sunscreen also true for websites?
In a time where the number of "template" website providers seems endless (Wix, Squarespace, Jimdo, Weebly, Shopify, Godaddy, Wordpress, Moonfruit, Pixpa, MoPro...the list goes on), it’s tempting to wade into the world of web design the same way you’d shop at Wal-Mart. After all, these services claim to offer the convenience of creating a website without the need for design or programming knowledge.
Website templates often sound great and can sometimes be a passable solution when starting out. But once your brand has matured, it’s time to invest in your web presence in a way that communicates the same pride you would when speaking about the venture you’ve built. Your website is your brand's public "face." It's often the first interaction people will have with your company and your first shot at making a good impression.
So the question to ask is this: do you want to leave that critical moment to a generic template?
People often ask us why a custom-designed website is more valuable than one created using an off-the-shelf template, and our answer is frequently the house analogy. The difference between a pre-designed home and one designed specifically for you is immense. With the former, you’re trying to fit your needs into someone else’s vision (hoping that maybe, just maybe, the layout will work with your lifestyle and needs), often experiencing all the frustrations that doing it backward entails. But with a custom-designed home, all of your needs and desires are considered first, and the design, layout, structure, and materials are then chosen to fit those needs perfectly (presuming you’re working with a great architect!).
The same can be said of a template website vs. a custom design. With a pre-designed site, you are taking design and functionality that is seemingly generic enough to work for your needs (and everyone else’s), but almost always results in limitations where you aren’t able to create what you need. You also get lost in the sea of other websites on the internet (presently over 1 billion and counting), with no lasting impact or distinguishing factors to separate you from your competition. So while this option is initially "cheaper," costly support and a shorter lifespan regularly result in a limited return on investment.
When it comes to the ever-evolving WWW, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. Everyone’s needs are unique, so every website should be too. If you genuinely believe in your brand, then your site and all its details should be just as considered as the products/services you offer. And the people building it should be thoughtful humans, not faceless robots.
While the website builder list will likely continue to grow and may serve a certain purpose, in the end, it is not the answer, because good design never comes from a mold — it must be carefully crafted with the goal of solving specific, real-world problems. Considering every detail and making all decisions based on the needs, desires, personality, and audience at hand. Where the result is a website experience of lasting value.