Bespoke vs. off-the-shelf web design

Bespoke website design

A quality website tells people who you are, what you do and how you stand out from your competitors. Without one, you’ll struggle to drive traffic, generate leads and grow your business.

Customers often ask us about the pros and cons of an off-the-shelf or bespoke design for their website. After all, both have their place. Here, we look at these options in more detail.

What is an off-the-shelf website solution?

This typically comprises a pre-built theme incorporating various page layouts – e.g. Home, About, Contact us etc.

These themes come with everything included, slideshows, galleries, blogs and layouts for all sorts of page designs. Usually, they also come with demo content, so all you need to do is replace the demo content with your own, and you’re ready to go live. 

There are large numbers of organisations building these themes, many of whom are reputable providers striving to offer a high-quality end product. And start-up can be swift, plus sometimes you will have the support of a developer, typically for up to a year from launch.

Additionally, you don’t need any specific skills to get going with your site, while a basic level of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) frequently comes as standard.

What about the downsides of website themes?

Unfortunately, there can be a few of these since your site won’t be tailored to your needs or do everything you want it to do:

Limited flexibility
Having a pre-made theme can restrict flexibility and, therefore, your ability to be unique and creative. Your site could not only look like many others, it may even be glaringly obvious that it’s built from a theme.

Reduced security
Some off-the-shelf options can be more vulnerable to malware and hackers. They often include a large number of plugins you may never need and which can quickly become outdated. The level of security is often lower, too, unless you know how to install and set up security software on your site, the theme won’t include this.

A shorter shelf life
As your business expands, you may well find you quickly outgrow your theme and that you soon require greater functionality.

Prevent ‘bloating’
Often, off-the-shelf solutions can be rather unwieldy or ‘bloated’ with numerous plugins (features) you don’t need but which add load to the website even if you’re not using them. This will slow your website down, a bespoke site only provides you with those elements that you actually need and thus will perform faster.

What is a bespoke website solution?

This is a custom-designed and built site following your own branding guidelines and your business needs. It can cost a little more initially and will take a little longer to build, however, you can look forward to a myriad of benefits, including:

A bespoke site can grow to handle more traffic and content. It’s also far more flexible in terms of adding new design or functionality, often meaning a longer shelf life than the alternatives.

Optimised website for SEO and social media
Incorporate your SEO requirements from the word go with a custom-made website. It’s all there, ready from the start, with no need to buy extra plug-ins.

Greater value
Off-the-shelf versions have a seemingly attractive lower initial outlay. But bespoke models tend to last longer over time, meaning you ultimately get more for your money.

Have more control
If you have a bespoke site and content management system (CMS), these can be constructed with granular control, so an administrator handles everything and should provide training and aftercare support on using, securing and updating the site.

Bespoke sites are designed to integrate with their unique databases, CRMs and other applications.

Extra website security
Web developers write the code themselves so that the site owner has total control over it. A reduction in third-party plug-ins and open-source codes, which hackers love, enhances security. And most design agencies would include extra security included in the cost of the website.

Additional website support
Your business will have far more in the way of support and advice from an expert team to help with issues from training to maintenance and more. With these solutions, designers handle all improvements and upgrades.

Bespoke or off-the-shelf website for your business

At SWSweb, we offer complete website management, including design and development of bespoke solutions, with fast UK web hosting, daily backups and security updates.

Let us help your business’s website be the best it can be – get in touch for an informal chat today.