An OpenLetter to Wix (a free website builder) – Custom Websites Vs. Template Websites

Dear Wix,

I’ve been impressed by the beauty of your site. You have an enviable array of stylish templates. I can see that they are made by expert designers. Some of them are out of this world.

You even offer Artificial Design Intelligence, which is an exciting new development, though I can’t help getting stuck on the first words: ‘Artificial Design.’

For many people, a template site is going to be just what they need to get started. If they have a hobby or a journey that they want to share with friends and family, then a template site is a great way to go. But if they want to do business, offering something in exchange for people’s time and money, they really should do more for their customers and for themselves.

While business owners are tweaking their templates, who is running their businesses? If you’re a professional photographer, you wouldn’t hire someone to take photos for you while you edit your website. Surely, you’d hire someone to edit your website while you take photos.

Whether site owners are seeking meaning or seeking money, they will achieve their goal by spending their time creating quality content or looking after their customers, not by losing hours to DIY web design.

And I know that I’m not alone in seeing the strings behind websites that were constructed from templates. These sites have been around long enough, now, that the same styles come up again and again.

“Insert image A into placeholder B.” It’s the IKEA of web design: attractive on the surface, affordable for many, fulfilling a relevant demand. But the results are still imitations of higher quality products.

Visitors to sites based on low-cost templates might be justified in asking themselves:

‘How much does this organization value what it is offering?’

It is possible to make a website from a template and have your site online within 15 minutes. Investing in a dedicated web design team might mean that it is days or even weeks before your site is uploaded to the web (although once it’s there it will be a solid presence).

It is also theoretically possible to make dinosaurs in a lab and then let them loose in a theme park, where they pick off your customers one by one. I agree with Jeff Goldblum’s sentiment, however, that just because you can do something, it doesn’t mean that you should.

These days, many websites are slick and attractive, but they are also instantly forgettable. If you’re running a website for your business, your first impression also needs to be a lasting one.

Graphic designers spend years studying their trade. They know that projects are as different from each other as their clients are. Clients have characters. So do their businesses. I think that their websites should be individual too.

Anyone needing a website for their business should think about the benefits of unique design over designer templates.

  • Customers get a website that is designed not only for their industry but for their business.
  • A web designer will construct and code the site so that it is search engine friendly. If a site is to rank high for relevant keywords – and what business doesn’t want that? – this is a major consideration.
  • A web designer can adapt a website over time. If a business grows, a designer can increase the scope of a site. Templates, however, are relatively limited in their functionality. Changing a template or adding functionality to an existing template can cause significant problems.
  • Web design services can also include website maintenance, which saves site owners time. If a client wants more control, they can work with the designer to get the content management system that is perfect for their needs, not a generic, one-size-fits-all CMS.

An excellent web design firm can create or source tailored, high-quality images, rather than widely-available stock photography.

The internet used to be an exciting place in terms of design. My team and I have been working with websites since the late 90s, so we’ve seen trends come and go. We know what works and what doesn’t. We know that thoughtful, intelligent, custom design, allows businesses to connect with their customers in an authentic way.

Through consultation, a custom website design firm will get all the information needed to achieve a look that is just right for the client; a look that fits their branding and values. Custom designers can even provide marketing and branding advice, since the launch of a new website might be the perfect time to sharpen up branding and mission statements.

When people go with a custom-designed site, they get more than web pages. They benefit from the expertise of specialist designers and managers who take on the project and give it life. Designers will not only talk with clients about colors and fonts and images, but they will want to know about them and their businesses, what they value most, and their visions for the future.

The uninitiated may not appreciate the level of artistry involved in creating a custom website, nor how much fun the process is. It is profoundly rewarding work that results in the creation of something unique, with integrity and personality.

Congratulations on what you do. You are making the internet accessible to whole groups of people that would not otherwise have a platform to share their creations.

Although I agree with the idea that it doesn’t take long to create a beautiful-looking website using pre-made templates, I would respectfully argue that we need custom design now more than ever.

The internet is constantly expanding and evolving. There is plenty of room for both of our business models. From our corner of the internet, we’ll keep pushing to make each design thoughtful, individual, relevant, and ideal for our clients.

AltaStreet has built over 900 Custom Websites for the Financial Vertical. Click this link to see our Portfolio

Dan Stark is the Director of Business Development and a Partner at AltaStreet Financial Websites and Marketing.  He is known as a Financial & Corporate Website expert. Before he became a Marketing Expert he was in the world of Finance for over a decade. He has developed a proprietary Discovery Process which helps him understand his clients unique needs. His websites ultimately boost Credibility in the Marketplace. The ROI is staggering.

  To talk to Dan, simply shoot him an email to: dan@altastreet.com

This Is Who Dan Helps:

✔ Financial Advisors

✔ Real Estate, Insurance & Finance Companies

✔ Hedge Fund Managers

✔ Broker Dealers

✔ RIA’s

✔ Banks & Credit Unions

✔ Corporate Businesses

✔ Law Firms

AltaStreet’s Custom Websites exude credibility. They help their clients gain more customers, have more visibility and boost revenues. They also have proprietary solutions that make compliance a breeze.

Check out our Website here: altastreet.staging.wpengine.com

Technology, Mobile, Design

 To talk to Dan, simply shoot him an email to: dan@altastreet.com