The Advantages of Custom Website Design

Building your website using custom website design is a cost-effective way to reach customers while differentiating yourself from competitors. From ecommerce businesses to B2B brands, bespoke web design is a way for companies of all sizes in all industries to increase brand recognition, customer acquisition, and, ultimately, profitability.

But with so many website builders offering easy-to-use templated designs, is there really a reason to choose custom web work over something you might be able to build yourself? 

Of course there is. But just because we know the reasons doesn’t mean you do. Good thing we’re in the business of sharing our insider knowledge so you can make the best decision for your business. 

What is custom website design?

Custom website design means creating a totally unique site built to meet your (and your customers’) needs and expectations regarding both aesthetics and functionality. As templated websites have limitations in terms of look and layout, a custom site produces entirely different results than a template from a builder like Wix or Squarespace. However, this isn’t where the difference ends. 

Some of the biggest benefits of unique website design go well beyond what you and your customers can see. 

  • Custom work is developed with both on-page and technical SEO (search engine optimization) that helps you reach more visitors organically. 
  • Well-done custom sites also load in seconds (more on how much this matters below!) and are universally functional on any device. 
  • The unlimited design possibilities of a custom website allow for intuitive navigation that naturally directs customer traffic for better conversions. 

Website Template vs Custom Design 

Website template companies often position their products as quick, easy, and inexpensive all-in-one options. But if building your own site takes up time that’s already in short supply and delivers an inferior product, is it really that easy, quick, and inexpensive?

Some of the biggest advantages of using a custom website design company over a DIY builder include: 

  1. Ability to create a unique design that reinforces brand identity
  2. Improved user experience and navigation
  3. Better functionality and faster load times 
  4. Increased visibility and search engine rankings
  5. Enhanced security and lower maintenance costs for greater ROI

Designers who use custom WordPress development have the knowledge and skills to create a look and layout you’ll love while prioritizing technical aspects that help you reach more customers. 

As we detail the benefits of choosing custom website designs, keep the following in mind:

The goal of your website is to

Meet the needs of your target audience: You must convey what you do and how you do it, answer basic questions, create a feeling in line with your brand identity, and tell your audience what you want them to do (make an appointment, reach out for more information, buy a product, etc.).

Capture the attention of search engines: You must write quality content that makes your company both noticeable and authoritative among a sea of competitors. This requires both on-page and back-end efforts that increase visitors to your site over time. 

Ultimately, you must create a site that’s user-friendly and informative for customers and gets you recognized amongst the 1 billion-plus websites out there. Custom WordPress website design allows you to stand out in a competitive digital landscape in a way one-size-fits-all website builders don’t.

Unique Design

Pay attention the next time you’re on a new site or, ideally, the next time you’re switching back and forth between a couple. Are you having an unconscious reaction (either positive or negative)? Can you find what you’re looking for? Are the design’s colors, layout, or overall feel encouraging you to keep looking or close the tab and never come back? 

Like many things in life, design may not be something you notice unless it’s bad. When a page design doesn’t fit on your phone, won’t load, or the copy was clearly written by a bot, it doesn’t reflect well on the company. 

With custom web design, you can create a unique look and feel with the features and functionality you need to ensure your website provides a positive experience. 

UX & UI Design

User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design are all about creating easy-to-use and relevant websites that are aesthetically pleasing and well laid out. UX and UI aren’t the same thing, but when used together, they account for all sorts of features: overall look and feel, intuitive navigation, responsiveness, helpful content, quality images, and cohesive branding. 

Custom sites designed for UX and UI are the sites you actually enjoy (or at least don’t mind) using. You can absolutely design for UX and UI when using a template, but you’ll need some expertise to understand their nuances and fine-tune their features.

Effective Website Navigation

Every website has a menu, but a custom design lets you create a more intuitive browsing experience. Effective navigation structures help users quickly find the information they’re looking for, which improves the experience and increases conversions. 

However, website navigation is about much more than finding the item you came to buy or knowing where to look for open appointments. Effective website navigation also has the following outcomes:

  • It impacts how users view your brand
  • It impacts how search engines crawl your page, which influences search rankings
  • It impacts lead generation via functionality and conversion rates
  • It impacts how accessible your site is
  • It impacts analytics like time on page 

Custom designs also use navigation to direct focus to pages with high-intent traffic. A good web designer will account for this in the menu, but they’ll also do this throughout each page using various layouts and features. Pay attention next time you’re on a favorite site — your journey is likely clearly laid out in the structure of each page.

Increased Functionality

Functionality is one of the biggest differentiators between a custom website and a templated one. Some basic aspects of functionality services include navigation, search bars, event calendars, engaging content, and clear calls to action (CTAs). Depending on your needs, you might also employ live chat, custom analytics features, or integrated third-party applications.

However, two of the most influential measures of a site’s functionality (and therefore usefulness, ratings, and impact) are page load times and responsive web design. Page load time is how many seconds it takes for a site’s content to show up on a screen. Responsive web design is designing websites to deliver the same high-quality experience regardless of device (desktop, mobile, tablet, etc.). 

Have you ever heard yourself say, “My phone is so slow,” while you wait for a site to load? In addition to your device and network connection, internal factors like code efficiency, file sizes, page elements, and plugins/widgets impact site speed. 

According to a recent study, a load time of 0 to 4 seconds delivers the best conversion rates. The farther away your site is from that number, the less likely a user is to wait. But load time isn’t the same across all devices. 

In 2023, the average load time for desktops was 2.5 seconds, but for mobile devices, it was 8.6 seconds. To bring mobile speed into the desired range, you need a developer to optimize your site for mobile. So not only must they ensure your site looks great on every device, but they must also ensure it loads before your potential customers bail.  

If you do decide to go with a website builder, make sure you do your research. The average mobile load time for sites on website builders is 11.48 seconds — well outside the ideal range. With smartphone use constantly on the rise, the importance of mobile optimization and responsive design cannot be overlooked. 

Increased Visibility in Search Engine Positioning

If you read our post on Squarespace vs. WordPress, you know website builders include some basic SEO components in their software. However, with custom work done by a team that understands the latest shifts in ever-changing SEO ranking factors, the possibility for higher positioning in organic search results is much greater. 

Custom design services can boost your site’s placement in SERPs (search engine results pages) by leveraging quality content, search engine-friendly URLs and titles, appropriate alt tags, and other accessibility considerations. You must also use keywords and internal and external linking properly in pages and content, which requires attention to the CMS’s front-end and back-end.

Custom designs done by an expert are also better than templates in technical SEO. Technical SEO means optimizing your site for search engines by making it faster, easier to crawl, and more understandable—and it can make or break your site’s performance. If search engines can’t access your site, it doesn’t matter how well-written your content is or how much you like your design.  

To see how your site is performing, sign up for our free website SEO Audit & Report.

Brand Recognition

Creating a consistent image is how brands build recognition. Branding considers your logo, fonts, and colors, and it’s also about the tone and image your site conveys. 

For example, if your business matches job candidates with companies for career placement, you’ll want to maintain a clear and professional look and voice. If you offer unique outdoor guided adventures, you likely want a fun, photo-rich site that also conveys you’re reliable and experienced.  

Good SEO copywriting helps you establish authority among readers and search engines. It addresses the needs and concerns of your target audience while using the right words to attract search engine attention. Over time, this increases your brand’s visibility.

Increased Security, Lower Maintenance Cost, and Greater ROI

If you decide to use a website builder, be sure to research its security measures and the safety of any plugins you add. With a little looking, you’ll quickly see that built-in security levels among website templates differ between companies. 

A custom website designer delivers optimal security by using specific coding to control who has access to your site. They also add additional measures to protect your and your customers’ data. If they’re also dedicated developers (like we are at Spigot), they know how to quickly catch and fix potential vulnerabilities, which is part of custom website design cost.

Because we do our builds correctly from the start, they’re less likely than templated sites to have major security vulnerabilities. This lowers maintenance costs and increases ROI for much more affordable custom website design. However, any website can be compromised, which is why we highly recommend our clients rely on the dedicated support and hosting services from our sister company, Cinch Web Services.  

With a custom site, it’s also easier to tweak your content or add new features after you’ve launched a new website. This allows you to adapt to changing customer expectations and demands, ultimately decreasing long-term maintenance costs while increasing ranking. 

Custom Website Design with Spigot 

With customized design and functionality, you’ll be better at reaching your target audience and getting noticed by search engines. You can ensure you meet customer and SEO needs and expectations, translating into more leads, better conversion rates, and, ultimately, a greater ROI. 

Wondering how custom website design and development from Spigot can help your business grow? Drop us a line today.

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