Last week a client asked us if there was any real benefit in paying for a custom-designed website when she could use one of the ready-made themes available. After all, it would be a fraction of the cost and looks OK.

A time and place

If you’re on a small budget, an off-the-shelf website theme definitely has a place. They are a low cost option, there are thousands of ready-to-use themes that cater to a range of businesses and users and are generally quick to implement. You can customise them to some extent with various extensions and plugins that add functionality to your website. Sounds great so far, right?

Hmm, but consider this.....

The downside is that if you want a robust website that will serve you well in the long term there can be problems. Not all themes will provide you with a responsive design, which adjusts automatically to smartphone, tablets, laptops and desktops, which affects user friendliness. Most significantly, you won’t have your own look and visual identity – anyone else who fancies the same theme can use it for their website too. This is not great when a key principle of business is to differentiate yourself.

You get what you pay for

By default, we build sites that are responsive which means they have in-built flexibility to fit any device being used to access your website. The viewer sees your website exactly as you want them to. Our approach means you can commission your website to fit your evolving business exactly so it will look great when it launches and won’t degrade over time with bolted on extra tabs and features. Because we are skilled and trained experts our websites will have better content security and fewer glitches, which is especially valuable if you want to integrate 3rd party apps such as payment gateways. Your website will be in a far better position to scale upwards and grow with your business in the future, for example if you want to accommodate advanced website functionality. Best of all, it will be exclusively your design, for your business only.

Buy cheap, buy twice

If you decide to start off with an off the shelf template website and realise after some time that it’s not serving you well you may have to take it to a professional agency to finish off or switch to a custom design website – which means abandoning your previous look and identity. You will certainly pay more for a custom designed website but, provided you use a quality designer, you will gain a high quality, unique website which will invariably prove better value in the long term.