Turn off things you don’t need
September 4th, 2018
Published: February 4th, 2019
When it comes to web design there are 2 camps – there is the off-the-shelf-template camp and the custom design camp, and each one has its benefits and drawbacks, and not everyone understands the differences so I thought I’d write this post to highlight some key points.
In my mind this isn’t really “web design” because you’re using a layout that someone else has designed and adding your logo, images and content to it. I lean towards calling this “web customisation”.
Benefits of templates:
They’re cheap, often less than $100 to purchase a template.
Often you can do it yourself (worth checking out this blog over at Mity about DIY websites).
They provide a reasonable amount of flexibility in the layout.
Drawbacks of templates:
Your website will look like a bunch of other peoples. After many years of designing and building websites I can pick a template a mile away.
You need to “shoehorn” your branding into a look that wasn’t designed for your brand with the result often being disappointing.
Because of their flexibility they are bloated with code and can slow down your site.
Some time ago I was reading an article about using off-the-shelf templates and one quote has stuck with me, and that is:
Templates are designed to sell themselves, not your business or brand.
I thought this was the perfect quote because it’s true. Template shops spend a lot of time designing their templates to look good. They design a “brand” to go with it and select the perfect images that will grab your attention, BUT how is it going to look when you add your logo, change the colours to your branding and add your own images? Most of the time the result is not what you are expecting, and can sometimes damage your brand in the eyes of your customers.
The other side of the fence is custom design, and this is where you work with a professional web designer (different to a graphic designer) who understands the web and how websites need to be structured and work to make your business look the best it can online.
Your site is designed to showcase your brand, products and services
You’re not trying to shoehorn your business into a look that wasn’t designed for it
Starting with a blank sheet gives you a lot of flexibility in design choices
No one else is going to have a site that looks the same
You have the opportunity to collaborate with the designer and share ideas
Custom design is more expensive because of the design process required
Typically, the customer can’t modify the design themselves
Definitely not a DIY project (is this really a bad thing?)
I’m sure you’ve already gathered but I’m firmly in the Custom Design camp, and it’s one of our core values over at Mity Digital. We love to work with our clients to understand their business, products/services and their target market so that we can design the best site possible for them.
So, when you’re looking to get yourself a new website consider the points above and work out what’s important to you and your business, and what is going to give you the best online presence.