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Template or Custom? What Kind of Web Design Is Right for You?

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Lucy

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There are over 2 billion websites on the Internet, according to some estimations. We’re way past the point where a business can stand a chance without having an online presence. So with 2 billion sites and counting, your brand should be focused on web design that will get you noticed for all the right reasons.

75% of opinions on website credibility come from web design so, yeah, it’s important.

Good Web Design = Credibility

According to WebFX, “75% of opinions on website credibility come from web design.” That means that when users go to your website, they are relying on the design and usability of your website to determine whether your business is real, and whether they should buy from you. The crazy part is: a lot of this happens subconsciously and within seconds of landing on a site.

38% of people will stop engaging with a website if they find it unattractive. Web design is not just about creating something pretty and fun — it’s about converting leads! In 2021, web design for small business boils down to 2 options:

  1. Using a template web-building tool (a DIY site such as Wix, Squarespace, and others)
  2. Working with a web design team (like ours!) to build a custom website from the ground up

 

So, Template or Team Ardent?
Well, it really depends.

Several things distinguish these two approaches. If you’re someone who is just getting started with your small business or non-profit, you may only need a couple of basic informational pages. In that case, a DIY site may be a great temporary option. But if you’re looking for robust features and unique design, a DIY site may fall short.

We could go on, but we’ll keep it simple.

Below are 5 key things to think about if you’re considering a template vs. custom website:

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Quality of the Finished Product

eb design tools like WordPress, Weebly, Squarespace, or Wix are continuously improving their ability to make quality websites. However, design options are still a bit limited. To begin building your site, you’ll have to choose a basic design format that determines things like color scheme, spacing, the design of the navigation menu, header, and footer, and more. (Also, these tools offer lots of “add-on” services, so while it may seem pretty cheap to begin with, it’s important to factor in the additional costs you’ll have to pay including security and your domain name.)

Typically these sites work just fine, but lack the “pizzazz” you would find on custom websites. And when it comes to quality assurance and testing, that’s you! You’ll need to run tests to make sure your site works across different browsers and devices.

Level of Sophistication

features you need are a simple contact form and maybe a calendar of events, this could work well for you.

When you customize your website through Ardent, we take the ideas floating in your head and find a way to make them look great and perform even better on a powerful, personalized website. This often includes custom applications like infographics, web-based software programs, or a password-protected portal for your clients or employees. If you have specific, unique features you’re looking for in your website, it’s unlikely you will find those features with one of the free website tools.

If you decide to have Ardent customize your website, you can describe what you are looking for in normal English terms, and our tech experts will be able to convert those instructions into computer coding language. This option allows you to do a lot more with your website, whereas choosing a template will give you a pretty basic layout with typical features.

Templates from DIY web design tools keep it simple. No animated bells or interactive whistles here.

Learning Curve of Web Design

We acknowledge the value of template websites, but also know they aren’t for everyone for this reason especially: it is difficult to tackle web design. Even with the drag-and-drop features many of these tools offer, designing something that works and looks beautiful just isn’t everyone’s strength. And when you’re trying to run a business, you may not want to invest the time and energy it takes to get there.

If this is the case, it might be worth it to offload these services to Ardent’s talented staff. That way you can focus on what you’re best at while we take care of graphic design and back-end development (because, you know, that’s what we’re best at.)

Analytics and Ongoing Maintenance

Building a site is one thing and maintaining it is quite another. The on-going maintenance and support your site needs is a major component of your website that we haven’t even touched on yet! Optimizing your website for search traffic doesn’t happen overnight. You need the right data and a long-game strategy to boost your Google search results so your website can work for you 24/7.

With DIY web design tools like Weebly or Wix, this is where it can get complicated and time-consuming. To do it right, you’ll need to commit time each month to monitoring your website and looking through your reports. Plus, staying on top of current SEO best practices will be up to you. For the digital marketing nerd, this is probably exciting! For the average Joe, this probably sounds like homework you’ll more than likely put off.

Website analytics can be hard to interpret — but it’s even harder strategizing how to improve your site’s performance.

With Ardent Creative, we make sure your new site is optimized for search traffic before it goes live. And by working with our digital marketing team, we can provide ongoing SEO maintenance and improvements to grow your site’s credibility and increase the number of visitors who land on it. The best part is you don’t have to go searching for the results — we send them each month in a report that highlights the key performance indicators.

Branding and Logo Design

For you entrepreneurs who are a little green, branding and logo design for your new business may still be on the to-do list. If that’s the case, you should know that many of these DIY web design tools don’t offer these services, or if they do, they are often built around fairly generic templates.

You could seek out branding services from a creative agency like Ardent, and then build the site yourself. But we find that branding is most effective when it’s built into every feature of a site. From top to bottom, you want your site to feel perfectly aligned with the look and feel of your logo. With a custom website, we do just that. Fonts, colors, spacing, and icons are all chosen based on your unique brand identity. Not only does it make a site look much more cohesive, it offers visitors a better feeling of who you are and what they can expect from you.

When Could a DIY Website Be the Right Choice?

Custom websites sound pretty awesome, right? We sure hope so! It’s kind of like our job and passion, or whatever…

But, we want to be honest with you and give you a good picture of when it might be a smarter decision to make your own website with a free template. If your business is just starting out, you may not have the right amount of capital to invest a bunch of money or time into your website. You may just want to get a simple site set up and get your business off the ground. If you find yourself in the position where you’ve spent too many resources on your website and you don’t have the resources to make your product or run your business, that’s a big problem.

Additionally, if your main business is something that doesn’t necessarily rely on the website for much more than basic information, like a small restaurant or food truck, it might be a good idea to go with a template. When you only need a resource that shows customers where you’re located or what’s on your menu, a template may work just fine.

Remember, you can always build something better a few months or more down the road — once the timing and situation are right.

When the Choice is Custom, Choose Ardent

If a custom website seems like the right choice for you, good news: you’re in the right spot. Our talented team of creators can design and build the site that’s completely custom to you — and one you’re psyched to start using.

Call us today. Let’s get the ball rolling on your new custom website. Contact Ardent

Have a Question?

An ardent representative will gladly help answer your questions. 

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Table of Contents

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Informational Brochure
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Press Media Kit
Marketing Postcard
Door Hanger
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PowerPoint Template (6 pages)
Social Media Skins (3 platforms)
Instagram Cover Stories (6)
Animated Logo Intro
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Informational Brochure
Wholesale Line Sheet
Press Media Kit
Marketing Postcard
Door Hanger
Apparel items (2)
PowerPoint Template (6 pages)
Social Media Skins (3 platforms)
Instagram Cover Stories (6)
Animated Logo Intro
Basic MailChimp Template