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Kate Gingold
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I’m Not Gonna Pay a Lot for this Website!

Custom vs. Template – and all points in between

Thinking through what your needs are BEFORE you make your decision will make all the difference when choosing between the varying levels of custom web design and template-based options. Things to keep in mind include:

Upfront Costs

A truly custom project will cost you since you are paying for a developer’s time. Template-based sites tend to be less expensive. In either case, find out what you get for your money.

You should own your own domain name, regardless of the type of site. Some cheap site builders make money by marking up the domain name price. Shop around.

Hosting fees vary widely. Some cheap site-builders waive hosting fees but require ads on your site. Some complicated websites require special hosting that costs more than usual. If in doubt, ask for an explanation.

Some functions like online sales can be tricky or expensive in order to get the web site, hosting company and merchant account all working seamlessly. Rather than trying to patch things together, you will save aggravation as well as money by going with a tried-and-true package.

Down-the-Road Costs

You may be tempted when someone offers you a bargain on their custom design, but if you lose contact with your designer and need to update your pages, it can get very expensive to pay someone else to figure out what’s already been done.

On the other hand, you may quickly outgrow the limited functions of a budget-priced template site and wind up having to start from scratch because you are unable to transfer over the content you spent hours building.

To keep your site fresh, someone needs to update the pages. That could be you, your designer, or someone on your staff, depending on your needs and budget. It costs the most – in lost business – when you let the pages get stale.

Trade-Offs to Consider

The easiest tools to use may have the most limited capabilities. There’s no right or wrong – it just depends on your needs.

Semi-custom solutions may give you nearly everything you need at an reasonable price so take the time to research those options.

Many popular Content Management Systems like Joomla, Drupal, etc. fall in the semi-custom category. You can get impressive functionality and good support at modest prices. We like DNN and we’ll tell you why if you contact us.

Modular systems let you do incredibly complex functions at a fraction of custom coding, but maybe not exactly the way you envisioned. Only you can say whether you’d rather pay extra for the perfect solution or adjust your vision. Just be aware that you may have to choose.

If your functional needs are met by a template-based system, you can splurge instead on a great graphic designer to create a unique custom look. Make sure your template supports graphic upgrades before deciding.

Here at Sprocket Websites we work with the local start-up as well as the nation-wide presence. For clients with very specific requirements we write custom code while we also offer a template website builder. The majority of our work, however, is with the clients who fall in between. What’s most important to us is giving you the right website for your particular needs. Contact us today to explore the options that will meet your website needs. We’re happy to help!

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Kate Gingold

Kate GingoldKate Gingold

I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

Other posts by Kate Gingold
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Full biography

I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.


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