You Are Not A Template

Custom websites VS templates

Generic products can sometimes do the job — assuming the ingredients are comparable at a lower price point. But is what's true for consumer goods also true for your brand's digital presence?

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 Target. After all, these services claim to offer the convenience of creating a digital presence without the need of a design agency and programming team, all at a low-cost.

Templates can be a passable solution when you're just 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. Now more than ever, your website is your brand's public "face." It's often the first interaction people will have with your company and your one shot at making a lasting impression.

So the question is, do you want to leave that critical moment to a generic template?

People often ask us about what the differences between custom web design and website templates – why a custom-designed website is more valuable than one created using an off-the-shelf solution. Our answer is frequently the house analogy. A custom website vs. a template is similar to the difference between a pre-designed home and one designed specifically for you. 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-designed solution. With a pre-designed site, you are taking a user experience and interface that is seemingly generic enough to work for your needs (and everyone else’s), but almost always results in limitations and frustrations. 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 digital landscape, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. Everyone’s needs are unique, so every digital property 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.

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