Like a shirt that fits you just right and makes you look your absolute best, going fully custom on your website has some serious advantages. I’ll try to keep my clothing metaphors sparing today, but they are just so apt!
Custom Websites Look the Best
In a sea of “ready to wear” themes and layout systems you’ll have to decide between standing out from the crowd and the cheap cost savings of purchasing a template. But don’t you want to leave a memorable impact on your customers? How are they going to react if the page is not completely on-message, or if you and another competitor are using the same design? The horror! For certain industries there are very few layouts for purchase, and the likelihood that you’ll be in a sea of “me-too” websites rachets up even higher. Why not build your graphics from scratch and slice them up into a CMS or HTML site?
If you’ve never seen your message professionally branded (like a custom ad, stationary set, or email campaign) then I highly recommend it. For new and smaller companies, this can be the lift you need to get portrayed as a real player in your area (or industry). There’s nothing quite like staring your own compelling marketing message in the face and being highly impressed by yourself!
When you have a very new offering, a very specific offer, or a totally unique message to convey then a crafted-just-for-you custom website design is going to be the best choice. Everything is configurable and you won’t be hampered by restrictions when to comes to explaining your product or service. It will allow you to plan from the top down (the most important things to the least), avoiding the critical mistake of majoring on the wrong details. There is so much time to be wasted going down pointless rabbit holes, let your web designer or developer spare you from that.
Custom Websites Are Highly Effective
Your message has to be perfect, right? The way to get there is to design it from the ground up with your (and your customers) needs in mind. It all begins at ground zero with organizing your information and designing the site’s flow so that users are called to action and can find the information they need.
Since we’re all starting with your content, the focus is in tight and make the critical decisions based on what already IS and what NEEDS TO BE. I can’t tell the number of businesses who think they have to have a blog (but no one is going to actually update it), or a live chat box, or a social media tie-in on the homepage, and they are only choosing those features because it seemed like something more to add or “because they look so good on this design I found.” No! That is a recipe for a website that quickly goes stale, or doesn’t make any sense because the last Facebook status update was six months ago. No, no, no!
My favorite and highest converting projects are always custom, because as a team my clients and I are so dialed in on how we are serving people. The actions we want users to take become the guiding lights, and we pull the rich features to the forefront. Calculate a custom order? Run your potential ROI? Show distinctly how this product or service solves a problem? Let’s get that on top.
Sometimes we try to squeeze too hard to make things work that weren’t the right solution in the first place. There is a time to shoehorn, but your entire website shouldn’t be riddled with asterisks to make it work for your organization.
Custom Websites Outperform Consistently
Flashiness sells, but fast sites keep people coming back. At this point I see more slow and sluggy themes and plugins popping up every day, and then site owners upgrade their web hosting packages to try and boost their performance. Ouch!
The thing to remember here is that those third party developers selling their stuff for $30 and $50 bucks a pop (often from across the globe in countries where US dollar goes a long way) do not necessarily have an incentive to make efficient software. I’m not saying that they malicious or inept, just that when you take into account all the work they are putting into their digital products and all the support they have to provide, their “time to launch” of each product is critical. The codebases are often messy at best, and straight up inefficient or buggy at worse. The quality control varies widely.
The biggest players know that every bit counts. We’re looking at page load time (measured in milliseconds), bandwidth used to serve the site (megabytes per month), and the dollars that it costs every month for the servers. There is a reason that Walmart and Facebook wrote entire new platforms from scratch – efficiency saves on the bottom line, and speed is dazzling to users.
Your web design and development provider should be able to work with you to come up with a wonderfully targeted design that loads nicely across a variety of devices. With a foundation-up approach you will be able to optimize your website on a visual and technological level. Fast and beautiful folks, those are the targets to hit.
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