In order to reach out to a geographically boundary-free audience and remain competitive, almost every modern business needs a website. Consequently, there are myriad platforms, templates and tools available to help businesses and individuals create a website.
Naturally, it’s within every business owner’s interest to produce a professional-looking website, in a timely and cost-effective manner. Web templates and tools may be able to help you craft a website quickly and relatively inexpensively – but are they up to scratch? Or does it make more sense to use a professional web designer or digital agency who can craft a bespoke, custom-made site to your exact specifications?

Tools and templates

We’ve all seen the adverts: create a great-looking website and get your business online in a few simple steps. It’s certainly true that there are plenty of web templates available that have been designed for people with little or no technical or design skills, giving them the opportunity to produce their own website – but it’s important to bear in mind that the style, features and functionality of the site will be limited.
The main advantages of DIY website tools and templates are as follows:

  • A lower budget option
  • Development time may be much shorter
  • Little technical knowledge required
  • No need to engage with an outside party
  • Layouts, features and colours are already there to inspire you

These are all clear advantages for some businesses, and as more people are relying on website design templates, such tools have improved significantly in recent years and many of the templates today look considerably less basic than they did not so long ago.
However, it should also be noted that if it’s an inspiring, professional and bespoke website that you’re after – one which is tailored specifically to your company’s brand, personality and requirements – shopping around to find a quality professional web designer to create a custom site might prove to be a better investment.

If you do choose the template route, you also need to recognise that while many look pretty easy to follow on your own, once you start the process, you can soon find that you still need someone with more knowledge to step in and pull things together – especially if you realise that the template as it stands simply doesn’t offer the options you need. They can be of genuine value, but be wary of ‘false economy’!

Custom website design

While templates can be a good idea for very basic needs, there’s no denying that employing the services of an experienced and skilled web designer to create your own website can bring much greater advantages, such as:

  • You can plan the user experience so it caters exactly for your requirements
  • The site is tailored to your specific brand and target audience
  • The website will be unique and therefore help you stand out over competitors
  • It’s likely to have a much more professional design, look and feel
  • Often being a higher quality and more professional-looking site, a custom design is likely to be a long-lasting website and therefore offer better value in the long-term
  • Some custom design sites give the end-user control of the site, meaning that you’re able to update pages at your leisure and add valuable features for boosting SEO and online presence purposes such as blogs

So is a tailored or template site the best option for you?

The choice of whether to opt for tried and tested tools and templates or to invest in a custom design site is entirely up to you, and will largely be driven by your budget, timescales and own expertise in web design.

However, one of the key factors in making your decision has to be your plans for the future. While a template can be sufficient for smaller businesses and sole traders who just want a simple, static presence online, with limited capacity to evolve the site, it may not be so for those who want to grow and expand.

If you’re intending on further development down the line, you may find that a template website, such as those offered by 1&1, may prove difficult to adapt and evolve when you want to add increased functionality to the site – making a bespoke solution more suitable for your needs.

If you do opt for a custom designed website, don’t hesitate to get in touch with AMA’s talented, experienced and professional web designers and developers. Call 0113 322 6211 and we’ll be more than happy to chat with you about any element of web design and development – and even if you do choose a template, we can help you to get the very best out of the experience.