You’ve built your business from scratch, so why not build your website? With limitless information on hand and the Do-It-Yourself attitude most of us have, many business owners are tempted to build their own site based off of preexisting templates. For small businesses with small marketing budgets, this may seem like your best option. It’s time consuming and cumbersome, but it can be done free or cheap. And recently services like Wix and Weebly have made it fairly easy to create a simple site, but it comes with many negatives. Before spending hours of frustration trying to create your website using a template, consider the following and how it can affect your business.

Custom websites provide better SEO. A skilled web developer will know how to include the proper content in your website to get your business found when consumers do an internet search for your type of product or service. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is crucial for businesses, as it is often the only way your business will be found online. A website built with SEO in mind will help to get your business listed above your competitors on search results. Most template options are not geared to drive search engines towards them, making it more difficult for interested consumers to find your site.

Many templates are not mobile friendly. Mobile friendliness is a must. While the higher grade and expensive templates may be responsive on mobile browsers, many of the free or cheap templates are not, which drastically diminishes the reach of potential customers. Business owners considering templates must make sure they are coded to be responsive on all devices.

Custom websites are more adaptable. As your business evolves, the look and content on your website will change as well. A custom built site will make it much easier for you to update, as well as adding additional pages and content. Oftentimes with templates, the user must scrap what they have and start from the beginning.

Templates constrict creativity. A professional web designer has the ability to create a completely custom designed website. With a personal, unique site, you’ll know your site looks like no other. Sites built using templates will often look very similar to countless other websites that have also used templates. Templates are easy to spot; they look generic and unprofessional. Many services (like Wix) will include an advertisement on your site, as well as their name in your URL, which takes the focus off of your business.  A generic website can turn-off potential clients and leave a negative image of your brand.

Templates aren’t designed for your brand. Templates cannot match the look and style of your brand identity. Your brand should be easily recognized, and your website is another extension of your overall marketing efforts. Keeping the design on point with the rest of your branding strategy is crucial (use the same fonts, color schemes, etc.), and this is very difficult to do with most templates. All of your marketing materials need to have a consistent voice and style to be effective.

Templates are a security risk. Templates are a beacon for hackers who write malicious code because they can attack multiple websites at the same time. All of your customers’ personal information collected through a template site is potentially more at risk of being hacked.

With web design, just like everything else, you get what you pay for. Professional designers and developers know the best methods for website functionality, usability and design. When deciding if a template or custom web design is right for you, think about what will make you stand out from your competition, as well as the ease of use for your viewers. Oftentimes, your website is the fist impression you give to your customers, so having a unique and well functioning site is one of your most important business tools. Templates may seem like a convenient and easy way to create a site for your company, but in the long-run, a custom built site is usually more cost-effective and leaves a better impression on your viewers, helping to strengthen your brand identity and remain memorable.

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