Your company is unique, your website should be too.

Shouldn’t it? It’s a question that we answer a lot and we know that it’s a topic that is wrestled with in many internal meetings across companies of all different shapes and sizes.

See, website templates can be a great solution as it enables you to rapidly build out an inexpensive website with plenty of theme appearances to choose from.

The website template approach is a no-brainer for startups or companies where the funds are extremely limited.

Yes, there are a variety of other reasons why taking the template approach may make sense but, in our experience, a custom design is what allows users to have unique experiences that resonate long after that browser tab is closed out.

Truth is, custom website design that is both thoughtful and creative is the right choice for an established company that wants to stand out and beat the competition both online and off.

But, why? In this article, we’ll explore…

  1. The reasoning for choosing a custom web design as well as what to expect from the web design process.
  2. Real life examples of custom website design compared to website templates in my short explainer video below.

The Value of a Custom Website Design Compared to a Template-based Solution

Stand Out, Look & Feel Great, and Most of All, Be Yourself.

Working with a creative agency allows you to stand out while being true to your company’s brand and values.

By ensuring that the website experience is tightly aligned to your target user, it has the ability to tell your story and be a reflection of who you are.

Your site should be a living and breathing digital version of your company. It should speak in your tone and portray your culture without proclaiming it. Your traits and personality should come through in the design and messaging strategy.

We’ve seen our own clients really enjoy this creative process because they can see first-hand how a thoughtful team can take what they’ve learned about a brand and layer that knowledge into every aspect of a digital experience that is both captivating and compelling.

Validation and Confidence.

When users visit your site they should enjoy the experience.

Meaning that not only should the website look great aesthetically,  but it should function  properly and according to the specific needs of the user’s journey.

Your prospects may already be coming to you for help, to purchase your products or to enlist your services but when your web design is notches above the rest it gives them the confidence to crossover from being a user to being a customer. 

A custom-designed website is tight and built right; meaning that there is no janky movement and it flawlessly displays across the myriad of devices, browsers and screen sizes.

If you are a company that is great at what you do and you look at your current site and think, “This isn’t us!”, then I urge you to consider a custom redesign. Don’t be ashamed! You deserve to be proud of your website when it looks great, works perfectly, and reflects your expertise, ethos and personality!
– Niall Durkan

Let’s Be a Bit Forward-Facing, Shall We?

Whether you are a manufacturer, professional services company, do B2B or B2C…whatever your business may be, technology plays a key role in your operations, services, and products that you deliver.

In 2018, every company is a digital company and your website needs to position you as a forward-facing organization that leverages technology.

Design Consistency Across All Channels is Key

The usefulness of the website redesign process extends well beyond the website itself. When done with care, the result of the process should lift the brand as a whole by establishing a Visual Design Language.

This Visual Design Language, which may include logo refinements, updated typography or even image and photography styles needs to be consistently reflected across all channels from social media accounts to presentation decks, to printed materials and everything else in-between. 

Custom Website Features & Functionality.

Your website may or may not need advanced custom functionality.  Custom functionality goes hand in hand with custom design as you want the users to have a positive interaction with your website and allow them to achieve their goals for visiting.

Here are a few examples of this that we have encountered:

  • Product Configurators: Tools that allow site visitors to build, configure and customize a product or service to their exact needs before purchasing.
  • Service Explainers:  You may have a product or service that is complex. Your website is an ideal vehicle to explain the complexities in a simple manner. Your agency should be able to work with you to  storyboard a captivating and informative solution that will educate prospects.
  • Workflows, Data Integrations and Third-Party Services: There is a lot that can fall under this category, and every company has different needs from custom ecommerce payflows, marketing automation workflows, conversion funnel tracking and any other sort of integration with an external system.

Partner, Platform & Strategy to Grow.

Your new site should be on a Content Management System (CMS) that empowers you to constantly add and update content regularly. Throughout the website design process you should have a digital strategy for your company outlined or refined. Ideally, you want to be positioned as a thought leader; constantly updating the site and offering fresh, valuable content to your users that nurture them to conversion or purchase.

We encounter companies in different stages with regards to sophistication and content creation capabilities:

  • Some are all-in and are already producing topical content and distributing it with powerful marketing automation tools.
  • Others just want to tell their story and look better than the competition.
  • Then there are companies where regular production of content is too overwhelming.

Regardless of your situation, you should establish a blueprint for your digital strategy. Be sure the firm you choose to redesign the site is with you for the long haul. You want a partner that can be there for you beyond the redesign project. Someone who is an extension of your team and can be your on-demand digital agency.

Now, armed with the  understanding of the reasoning, deliverables and process behind a custom website redesign and how it compares to a template-based approach, let’s take a look at a few examples comparing the two in the explainer video below.