10th March 2022

Bespoke vs templated websites: Pros and cons.

by Jonny

Introduction.

For the past eight years, we have consistently positioned clients as standout leaders in their industries, whilst giving their marketing teams the flexibility to take the business to the next level. We believe this cannot be done by looking the same as everyone else, with rigid websites made from ‘off the shelf’ templates that don’t give you the power to evolve your business.

As with any decision in your marketing strategy, your website should be viewed as an investment, not an expense. A full end-to-end digital transformation should be seen as a five-year investment that will pay dividends, unlike going through the same difficult process every 18 months, when the website no longer serves your business needs.

When time is crucial, we understand that using a templated approach is tempting. In such cases, where possible, we always suggest looking into a phased option instead. In our experience, templates will never meet the business goals strategically, visually and technically.

If you’re still unsure about the route you want to take, read our comparison of templated and bespoke websites below.

 

 

Bespoke websites.

With a bespoke website, you are investing not ‘just’ in a website but in the full process through in-depth strategy and discovery, user experience, design and development, ending in a website that is unique to your business. To do it right, you need an experienced team of digital experts.

If you want to stand out from your competition, a bespoke website will help you to not only look good but provide a return on your investment (ROI) over the years.

 

Pros:

  • Unique design: Completely unique design tailored to your business needs that will bring your brand to life online.
  • User-centred: Research-backed design crafted with your customers in mind.
  • Tech expertise: Complex functionality and technical possibilities. Best in class development, allowing you to integrate your other tools seamlessly.
  • Future proof: Modular build approach allowing for your website to grow and develop alongside your business.
  • User-friendly backend: Simple and intuitive, designed with the exact functionalities your team needs.
  • Consideration of SEO: Don’t risk losing your search engine rankings. A website redesign can cause big disruptions and good agencies will work with you to minimise it.
  • Return on investment: A website built specifically to your business needs, positions your company alongside the top competitors, and attracts your target audience more efficiently.

 

Cons:

  • Long process: An average digital transformation project can last 12–14 weeks.
  • Higher budget: You will need to invest significantly more than a templated approach.
  • Collaboration: Time must be set aside to review the project at milestones throughout the project duration.

 

 

Templated ‘off the shelf’ websites.

Website themes or templates are pre-built websites that can be purchased ‘off the shelf’. In theory, the project can be turned around in just a few days. The templates integrate with most CMS and rarely require any development knowledge. Templates can come pre-populated with layouts, content and imagery leaving you to tweak and launch.

Budget website design agencies often use website templates as well, which facilitates a quick turnaround. They allow some customisation without the bespoke design or consideration of the target audience and user journeys.

 

Pros:

  • Cheap: From as little as $50 and you will have a presence online.
  • Fast process: Just a few days from buying a domain to launching.

 

Cons:

  • Rigid design: Lack of flexibility to adapt the website. No consideration for your unique business needs and brand identity.
  • Code bloat: Templates that allow a lot of flexibility usually come with a huge amount of excess code that goes unused and slows the CMS and website down.
  • Generic: No consideration of the needs and online behaviour of your users.
  • Poor SEO: Sites that contain outdated code can harm Google’s ranking algorithms. Core web vitals focus on speed and UX which are two aspects that templates can struggle with.

 

Conclusions.

Templated websites are a good option for small businesses with little resources to invest in building their digital image. There are many good-looking template options to choose from on the market too! If you don’t have enough expertise, there are budget-friendly agencies that can help with the setup.

However, if you run an established company or a high-growth start-up, it’s worth exploring the bespoke web design route. At this point, you need a digital agency that can act as your trusted business partner and support your growth over the years. When you really set aside resources and time to get it right, it will continue to bring you a return on the investment, as we’ve seen so many times with our clients!


Interested in working with us? Call the KOTA studio on +44(0)20 3951 0562.

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