Website building tools vs. custom design

posted in Design, Websites,

If you need a website and you need it quickly and cheaply, there are literally hundreds of not thousands of different online tools and platforms you can use to create one. These tools usually use web design templates to help you whip up a website in no time, but could using one be a mistake? Should you instead be taking the time and effort to create a custom site, using a professional website designer?

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each…

Website building tools

As we’ve mentioned, these tools are a good option for those who don’t have a website at all and need an online presence fast. If all you need is a site with your branding, logo and contact details, this will do the trick perfectly. It’s quick, relatively easy even if you don’t have much technical ability and also quite cheap – some services are free.

However, there are also quite a few drawbacks with DIY web design using these tools and templates. For example:

  • Your site will look very basic and could affect your brand’s professional image and credibility
  • You’re likely to end up with snags, issues and problems that you don’t have the ability to fix
  • Many other businesses could end up using the same templates as you
  • There will always be limitations on how you customise and adapt your website to suit you
  • You are likely to be left behind your competitors, who may have beautiful custom websites and may even be moving into mobile-adapted sites

This said, web design templates are vastly improved now compared to just a few years ago. As Moz.com points out in an article on the topic, the industry has been revolutionised and templates are now designed by expert designers so that both aesthetics and function have been perfected.

Custom web design

The benefits of working alongside a professional web designer are obvious. You get a tremendously skilled and experienced designer working on your project, creating your website based on your exact specifications and needs. You get to have an input into the project, to ensure that the website works for your business and its customers. As for the aesthetics, it’s like having a professional architect design a new building for you – it’s always going to look more unique and distinctive, and just better in terms of quality, than if you chose a design from a book or copied an existing one.

However, custom web design does undoubtedly cost more than using web design templates and tools you find on the internet – after all, you’re paying for the time and skill of an expert. It will also take longer to complete.

Most brands who use professional web designers find that the extra time and money spent on the project turns out to be a sound investment – as their new website doesn’t need anything but the occasional tweak or update every now and again. It is perfectly tailored to the needs of the business, it’s user friendly, future-proofed and looks amazing, as well as reinforcing the branding efforts of the digital marketing team.

Do you think that templates and free web design tools have had their day? Please feel free to share your thoughts.

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