We live in the information age with answers to our questions at the tips of our fingers, empowering customers more than ever to research and assess their brand choices. In the ever-growing competitive market, consumers are spoilt for choice and the brands that do well are the ones that can cater best and appeal to their customer’s needs.
Over the past 12 years, we have built many templated and custom websites and we have learned so much along the way. The most successful websites have been the ones that have immersed the customer in their brand experience visually and functionally through custom builds. Although template-based sites can be cheaper upfront, we have found through experience that they have many limitations that can often end up being more costly to overcome.
All things considered, the brand experience provided through these custom builds, and the engagement they generate, far exceed the initial ‘savings’ made on a template build. To help illustrate our point we have put together 8 reasons why you should invest in a custom build.
Templates are designed to serve many needs but none of your specific needs. They have limited functionality and capabilities and follow a cookie-cutter approach. This leads to even bigger problems when you want to scale. The result is a less than ideal or watered down experience for the customer.
Tailored to your audience.
Your customers are a unique subset of people with specific needs. They need to feel understood and catered to. Certain visuals, styles, language and functionality is going to appeal to them and greatly enhance their brand experience with you. The design style, use of images and colours will also convey the appropriate feelings associated with a brand of your type.
Credible and professional.
A polished, well-designed web experience is clear to the customer and conveys to the customer a lot of information on how you conduct your business. Poor web experience in this day and age reflects to the customer that your brand isn’t on top of its game and they can expect a lacklustre service or experience when dealing with you. A well put together experience that's thoughtful and polished builds a lot of credibility upfront.
Optimised for Conversion.
We’ve built a fair amount of sales funnel landing pages at Platinum Seed and we can tell you that there is a science to converting a customer to action a specific goal. Whether they are buying, getting in touch or even parting with their personal information, they need to be guided through a carefully curated journey before trust is earned. You don’t want to be bogged down by limitations when optimising and testing the ultimate journey that hits the conversion sweet spot.
Unique Look and Feel.
Templates have a lot of variety but you’re very limited to colour, images and text changes. Although that sounds like a lot, the most unique and immersive websites offer far more customization. There is a lot more you can do besides changing the basics. These templates get sold over and over again and there is a good chance that a competitor, or anyone else for that matter, will be using the same theme from a theme category such as ‘Finance’ or ‘Real Estate’. You want to take full advantage of letting your brand come to life on your website, especially from a brand recall point of view.
Many of our clients realise how many things they didn’t think of when we went through our research and workshop sessions interrogating their business, needs and audiences. Planning the hierarchy of information and customer journeys allows you to curate the ideal customer experience for your brand and a custom design allows you to bring this to life in the best way possible.
Custom Features and Functionality.
The artwork for this article was inspired by our client, Cities with Nature; an international NGO that promotes and stimulates green initiatives for Cities. We created a Facebook-style profile page for each participating city whereby they can share the initiatives they have taken on and share their progress and learnings with other cities who visit their page. This level of functionality is unique and impossible to find on a template site.
Search Engine Optimization.
Last, but certainly not least, SEO remains an important aspect of website building. Ensuring Google loves your site can be instrumental in gaining exposure when your potential customers are exploring their options. Taking a custom approach allows you to maximise this opportunity otherwise limited by templates. We’ve worked closely with our client, Skin Renewal, over the last 10 years as they continue to rank number 1 for a few of their websites.
Considering the competitive landscape out there, it’s important to ask yourself how many opportunities you're losing out on compared to the competition because you’re not willing to invest a little more on a website that is essentially your 24/7 brand representative.