When you think about it…REALLY think about it…the only potential benefit of a templated website is lower cost. And while saving money can certainly be enticing, eCommerce websites built with cookie cutter designs are rarely the best alternative for any business actually looking to make money.
Here are three of the most important reasons your business should develop an original site.
You Deserve To Stand Apart From Your Competition
Think about this—If you were building an actual store, would you be happy if everyone else (for just a few dollars) could duplicate your store’s look, feel and functionality? It seems ludicrous, right? You would never be happy with that decision. But that’s exactly what’s happening when you choose a web template. You’re sharing the exact same site design with other businesses.
Some will argue that branding can set a site apart. While that’s an interesting viewpoint, it focuses only on one aspect of a business. “It’s always intrigued me how a business owner could put so much effort into building their brand or developing a unique culture and identity, and then choose a website design that could quite literally have the same layout and functionality as a competitor,” explains Amit Bhaiya, founder and CEO of DotcomWeavers. “If a business owner wants to stand apart from their competition, there’s little chance of that happening with a template.”
You Deserve Control Of Your Business
One of the primary reasons templates are used for eCommerce sites is the simplicity of the set up. Ironically, though, the same simplicity that makes the template so appealing might be the same reason a site fails to meet client expectations.
Here’s why. With services like Web.com, Wix.com or Weebly.com, you never truly own your site because all of the data, software and schematics it takes to run your site are typically stored on their server. What’s worse is that all of the files (HTML, JPG, PHP, etc.) used to create your site are rarely provided to you. As a result, if the site builder service ceases to exist in the future so does your website. Imagine how devastating it would be to your business if one day you lost everything that actually ran your website.
With a quality web developer, that won’t happen because you actually own the files and coding used to build your site. Further, with a templated site you often can’t customize, even if the changes will improve your website and your business.
“Let’s say you need a modified checkout flow or would like to offer promotions,” explains Bhaiya. “With a templated eCommerce site, it’s often impossible to change the core logic to satisfy your business requirements. Professional web developers are the exact opposite—their goal is to build and manage your site so it meets or adjusts to your business needs. Respectable web companies build custom websites with clean, well-organized code.”
Your Customers Deserve A Superior Shopping Experience
Consider this extremely important question—Who will you call when you have a problem with your templated website? Most likely you’ll dial the provider’s 800-number. And then what? You will probably be routed to customer service where an unknown representative will walk you through possible solutions. If those solutions don’t work, the rep will need to submit a ticket for additional help. You get the point, right? You are just one customer in a long line of other customers who need help.
Now think about this scenario from a customer’s viewpoint. They come to your site looking to make a purchase, but your site (or maybe just a portion of your site) is down. They decide to come back later in the day, but the same problem still exists. If you’re extremely lucky, they’ll come back the next day. If your site still isn’t working, there’s not much you can do to win that person’s business. They’re likely gone to a competitor forever.
On the flip side, with a professional web developer you have a partner that views and treats you as a unique customer. In most cases, you will have an account representative to personally help when you have an issue. And you should have direct access to a team of professional techies whose sole goal is to build, maintain and service your site.
One last question to consider. How do you think companies that provide templates are able to offer such low prices? It’s fairly obvious—each template is built once but sold many times. If your organization is strong enough to find success without a superior online presence—and can withstand limited customer service—then a template might be right for you. But if you think a quality website that is flexible, adaptable and protected against potential failures will improve your success, choose a professional web development company.
To speak with a professional about building a custom website that matches your organization’s wants and needs, contact DotcomWeavers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888.315.6518.