Building a great looking website nowadays doesn’t necessarily require much technical expertise. With WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) website building platforms such as Squarespace, Wix or Weebly, you can pretty much create a website in a couple of hours. You just need to pick a template, drag and drop the design elements you wish to use, add your website copy, and publish it on the web.
So why should you pay a professional web designer if it really is that simple? Well, just like everything else in life, if it sounds too good to be true there must be a catch.
Website building platforms have to make compromises to make their products easy-to-use. Websites that are built on these platforms come with a rather long list of limitations, compared to those that are built from scratch.
If you’re just starting out, these simple websites may seem like the best option. But as your business grows, you’ll also need to update your online presence and add more features that these website building platforms simply don’t offer.
Once you reach this point, you can’t just ask a web designer to copy your existing files over to a new site and customize it to your liking. They’ll have to redesign everything from scratch because the templates that website builders use are proprietary.
In many cases, it will be much cheaper and easier for a developer to create a custom website from the ground up with all the features you want, rather than copy the template design over to a new framework. Your web developer will also be able to recommend essential features you might not even be aware of.
With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of the advantages a custom website has to offer.
Obviously, when you hire a web developer, you have free reign to design your website exactly how you want it to look. They don’t have to code everything from scratch either. You can use an open source CMS platform (Content Management System), like WordPress (not WordPress.com), pick a premade theme, then have your developer customize it. They can still code anything you desire into the theme, which isn’t at all possible with a website builder template.
Even though a website made from a template may look great, there’s still a pretty good chance that it will end up closely resembling other websites that use the same template. And while these website builders may offer dozens, if not hundreds, of different templates, they all eventually start looking alike.
If you want to keep up with your competitors, your website has to stand out. A professional web designer can not only help you come up with a unique website, but also make your brand more memorable.
A custom website can be easily upgraded to adjust to your needs as you require them. Want to have a client portal where clients can log in to their accounts, or integrate third party services to your website? A competent developer can add new features to your existing site and find solutions to any problems that may arise.
With a website building platform, you’ll be locked in to whatever features and pre-packaged services the company offers. This can severely hamper your growth especially if all your major competitors’ websites are able to serve their clients better using features you don’t have.
Many SEO professionals will simply refuse to work with you if you’re using a website building platform. Compared to a custom website, they don’t have much freedom when it comes to editing or streamlining the code, changing scripts, or measuring SEO performance using their preferred tools. Simply put, optimizing a website that’s built on a page builder platform is going to take a lot more work and the end result will most likely be not as good.
With a custom website, you can choose any web hosting provider you want. If you find that your site is loading pages too slowly, you can upgrade your plan or switch providers easily. You just need to move your data over to the new web host. This is not possible with a website building platform since the hosting is also provided by the company as part of a package.
You can also significantly improve your website performance simply by tweaking and optimizing its code. Obviously, this is not possible with a website that’s made using a proprietary template. In addition, most website builders incorporate a lot of unnecessary code that slows down pages that should be relatively simple.
Security should be a top priority for a financial website especially if you store sensitive client data. Your reputation is at stake if it ever falls into the wrong hands. While website builder platforms typically have good security measures built-in, hackers can still exploit vulnerabilities on the entire platform that could potentially affect all the websites it manages.
With a custom website, you have full control over your cybersecurity. In case the site goes down, your developer can simply deploy a backup in no time at all. This immediately gets rid of any security problems and minimizes your potential for downtime.
If any problems come up or if you wish to make any changes to your site, all you have to do is contact your developer and tell him/her what you need. They can tell you upfront if what you’re proposing is feasible.
With a website building platform, you’ll have to go through customer support and deal with a bunch of canned responses. At the very least, there will likely be a lot of back and forth before you find a suitable answer.
If any issues come up, you’ll have to spend a significant amount of time looking for the right answer. In some cases, there might not even be an acceptable solution for your issue. You’re basically at the mercy of whatever the company is able to provide.
Paying the extra cost for a custom financial website gives you a lot more options that website building platforms simply cannot offer. You’ll also have full control over your website and web hosting. As your business grows, you’ll be able to update your custom website easily without any limitations. You’ll be able to easily keep up with the market and your competitors and implement any changes whenever you want.