Your website can be one of the most powerful assets your business has to generate leads and reach your target audience. However, your website needs to leave a lasting impression and show the best side of your business if you want it to work magic in your favour – something that generic or template-based websites just can’t do the way a custom website can.
In the age of website templates and DIY website builders, many businesses are questioning if custom web design is still worth it – but having a website that reflects your unique brand identity through seamless, bespoke design delivers a higher conversion rate than template-based websites. In this article, we’ll explain why.
What Is A Website Template?
A website template is a pre-designed and pre-coded framework for creating a website. All a user has to do to get a templated website launched and live is change the wording to suit their business, add some content, and they’re ready to go. Popular providers of templated websites are:
These pre-built websites require no technical skill for business owners to set up themselves, making them an attractive option for the less-tech-savvy business owners out there with a limited budget, as there’s no need to hire a professional web design team. All you need to do is find the one template you like for your site and begin promoting your products or services on it that same day. However, pre-built websites come with downsides – they often offer limited customisation options, features, and lower performance metrics than well-built custom websites. This hurts your business’s online presence in the long term.
Why Go With A Custom Designed Website?
Custom websites are designed and developed from scratch, either by a freelance web designer or a web development company who have control of everything from your website’s landing pages to the back-end interface. While using a template to create your website might have a quicker development time and a lower cost in the short term, the time and extra expense that come with custom website development often pay off significantly in the long term. Building your website from scratch using custom design means:
- The chance to create a more memorable first impression
- Design tailored to your branding
- Better user experience
- Higher Search Engine Optimisation
- Better mobile responsiveness
- More scalability as your business needs change
Want A Professional Website? First Impressions Matter
Attention spans online are fleeting, so the importance of a positive first impression can’t be overstated – especially for small businesses where every chance counts. Websites often serve as the initial point of contact between a brand and its audience, and within seconds, users form judgments that can influence their entire perception of your business. A custom-designed website from a reputable development agency gives you a much higher chance of making that impression a positive one that sticks with users even after they click off your site.
Ensure Your Website Stands Out With Bespoke Website Design
Establishing clear branding is integral to the long-term success of your online marketing strategy. It helps differentiate you from your competitors and clearly convey your business’s unique value proposition to potential customers. This is especially important for new businesses that don’t already have a loyal customer base and online businesses that need to stand out as much as possible in the digital landscape. Branding includes things like your:
- Style choices
- Messaging and language
- Overall ‘vibe’
Choosing to go with a custom website design allows the web designers and web development team you choose to work with to tailor every single one of these elements to match your branding during the design stage. On the other hand, most templates and themes have been downloaded by other businesses hundreds or even thousands of times. Additionally, most ‘pre-made’ website designs significantly limit the ability of your design agency to customise and personalise your website during the design process. This means a website without distinct graphic designs, colour schemes and navigation menus.
A Custom-Designed Website Means A Seamless User Experience
A successful website is about so much more than just visual appeal – it’s vital that a new website for your business effectively engages people through positive User Experience (UX) as well. UX is all about designing a website that caters to the needs of users, including ease of use, fast loading times and a clear navigation menu. The better user experience your website provides to users, the better ability it’ll have to convert them into customers. This is why it’s one of the key principles of good web design.
Professional custom web design and development always places UX at the forefront when creating a website by keeping in mind accessibility, functionality, and logical visual hierarchy. This attention to detail, combined with flexibility and custom designs, contributes to a better UX compared to template-built websites.
Choosing to go the custom route for your web design project rather than using a pre-built template also means website designers can add personalised features to your site to suit your user’s needs, improving UX. Examples of this might be a store locator, seamless checkout processes, or tailored search functionality.
Responsive Website Design Agency
Responsive web design means your website looks, loads and functions perfectly no matter what device your users are browsing on, be it on mobile, tablet or desktop. All these devices have drastically different screen sizes, meaning your website design needs to be able to adapt accordingly without losing any functionality to be considered responsive.
Optimising your website for mobile devices might be more important than you realise: According to DataReportal, over 55% of all website visitors are browsing on a mobile device as of November 2023, up from only 30% in 2015. Most template website options are much less responsive than what you’d expect from a high-quality web design. This means you risk alienating over half your website traffic with a buggy layout and slow loading times if you use an unresponsive template.
Experienced web designers, on the other hand, are able to make sure your website is optimised for all devices using fluid grids, breakpoints, and media queries. You can read our article defining responsive design and its importance if you want to know more.
Better Optimise Your Website For Search Engines
Search engine optimisation (SEO) means tailoring your website to Google’s 240+ search engine ranking programs, which affects how high your website ranks on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS). Most of these factors are to analyse the quality of the UX your website provides. The better UX your website provides, the higher it will rank on SERPs, driving significantly more organic traffic to your website without the need for paid ads.
Your website’s design can affect SEO significantly, and the only way to ensure your website follows SEO best practices is by hiring a reputable web development agency to create a custom web design rather than creating a DIY website with a basic website builder. Here’s why:
- Clean code and better crawling: Many template websites are built using bloated and out-of-date code. This makes it harder for Google to understand your web pages and rank them accordingly.
- Better website performance: Custom web design from an experienced web developer means you can guarantee your website is as fast as possible, providing a better UX.
- More responsive design: Mobile optimisation is one of Google’s key ranking factors, and custom web design ensures this.
- Reduced bounce rate: Bounce rate is how many users only see the landing page of your website before clicking off. Websites with a better UX have a lower bounce rate, indicating to Google that your website provides value to users.
- SEO plugins: Custom websites built on Content management platforms like WordPress and Drupal allow you to access 1000s of free plugins to manage your website, many of which provide more SEO control to improve your online presence.
eCommerce Web Development
If you’re hoping to use your website for eCommerce, a premade website running on Shopify with limited functionality and customisation options won’t cut it the majority of the time. Instead, consider going with a custom web development agency with eCommerce web design experience. This will allow you to customise a smooth checkout process for your online store, product sorting, and specific search parameters for your users. Running your custom-built website on WordPress.org also means you’ll be able to use the powerful WooCommerce plugin to upload, update and sell products with ease on your website.
Custom Web Design Services for Canberrans
Futuretheory is a full-service website design, development, and digital marketing agency. Although we’re Canberra-based, we offer some of the best custom web design Melbourne, Sydney, and Australia as a whole has to offer. The websites we build are always unique, fast, secure and beautifully designed. Our team of experienced web developers and web designers will work closely with you every step of the way to ensure that your website is tailored to the specific needs and branding of your business.
We also offer web services, including website hosting, maintenance, and search engine marketing. Our marketing team, web designers and developers have all the expertise necessary to help you grow forward online. If we sound like the agency for you, get in touch today.