There are many available tools, such as templated websites, designed to make it easy for anyone to create a website – regardless of coding experience. But how do you know if a templated website will still be as good as a professionally custom-designed one? And how will your financial and time contributions compare? Here’s a quick rundown of some key differentiators to help you decide between ‘Professional’ and ‘Build-Your-Own.’
What’s the Difference?
Web template platforms and services like Squarespace, WordPress, and Wix provide templates for you to start with. Adding content to your website can be as simple as clicking-and-dragging. If you take your time, you can get your site looking how you want without ever touching code. However, the website will only be as good as you are at building it and will reflect how much time you invest in it. In addition to doing the work yourself, these template platforms also require a monthly payment. Fees are typically minimal, but something to still consider.
The amount of time that you are willing to put into building and managing a templated website is a large factor when it comes to deciding if you should make it yourself. If you don’t have the time to learn the nuances of a template website platform (i.e. Squarespace), then it will be hard to give it the attention it needs. Even with these services, getting a website to appear a certain way can be difficult at times. Getting the website to do something that seems relatively simple could be difficult (or impossible) to figure out on your own, especially if you’re not familiar with the platform you’re using.
It’s also important to remember that your website is never ‘done.’ It will (or should) constantly be changing. Websites are a living, breathing tool that connects people to your current information. You must keep the site fresh so your audience isn’t staring at outdated information. Make sure you have time to manage your website and make necessary changes as well, whether you are having it built for you or not. And if you are having the website built for you, make sure you have a plan for updates by someone in the future.
Unfortunately, drag and drop template platforms can only get you so far without knowing how to program. Sometimes your website may not respond properly on a mobile device, or your images may look too big on some screen sizes and too small on others. You might be finding yourself confused about how to safely and securely add a store to your site.
It’s common to hit dead ends when it comes to making your website look finished. But don’t let that stop you; an unfinished or unpolished site can be a large deterrent to customers looking for a modern and professional site that works on any screen they use. If you do go down the web template route, you may find yourself hiring someone to help fix the website for you anyway.
When it comes to developing and designing a website, it’s best to leave it to the professionals, especially if your website purpose is for business. Your website is your link to the world showcasing the level of quality and professionalism you and your company represent. You want to ensure no corners are cut and every aspect is well thought out, even if the upfront costs are higher. It may save you money over long term and should be a huge tool for increasing brand awareness and driving revenue.
But if you’re a scrappy go-getter, ready to put in the time, with faith in your own design, marketing, SEO, digital and branding skills, and a willingness to learn, build, and manage your site on your own, a template service may be what you’re looking for.