As a business owner in 2015 you should already know the benefits of having a website. But now that you know you need a website, how do you whether or not you should sit down with a web design company and get a custom website or try to save a few dollars by building it yourself with one of those “super easy” template web design services you saw advertised on TV? Well we’ve broken down a few reasons you should save your business from yourself and go with a custom website.

1) Unique custom design
Well if we are going to start comparing custom built websites vs. template websites the first thing we need to address is the most obvious. – What your website design actually looks like. That’s the point of your website right? Creating a professional online representation of your business. When you use a template you take the personality out of your website. Your law-firm’s template website could looks just like the hair salon down the street that used the same template. Perhaps it will looks like another attorney’s website that also used the same template. How are you differentiating your business and showcasing your company’s personality by using an out of the box run-of-the-mill look? With a custom website you can deliver a powerful presence and message by making your business website your own. It lets potential customers know that you’re serious about your business and they should be too.

2) SEO friendly
Having a great website is only half the battle. As we’ve said many times before, you can have the best looking website in the world but if nobody can find it online it’s not going to do you any good. When you use a template website you are very limited in the amount of search engine optimization you can actually do to your website. By hiring the right web designer your website will be constructed to properly enhance your search engine ranking. How the backend coding of your website is done will influence your success in the search engines. When you use a template, there is no custom coding to utilize the SEO needed for your particular business. If you closely examine the top websites that rank highly, you’d notice that there are no free sites.

3) Your own brand consistency
A custom website can give you a unique design online and at the same time build your brand offline. Brand consistency is one of the most important parts of marketing and using a template handcuffs your ability to develop your own brand. Are you allowed to use the graphics the online template company provided for your website across other marketing platforms like your company’s print material? Is that the brand identity you want build for your company; A cheap out of the box design that any other company in the country can use as well? That’s not the impression I want my business to portray.

4) Your time and money
Newsflash: Time = money. You’re a business owner; your time should be spent running your business not trying to become a web designer. You leave other aspects of your business to professionals, so why are you going to try and become a web designer? I could go over to Home Depot and buy a bunch of tools and lumber and try to build my own patio deck at home to save a few bucks but I can tell you it would look and operate much better if I simply hired a professional to do what it is he is good at to build it for me.

Then you also have to consider the ongoing time you’ll spend dealing with the website. Because of the limitations set by the template provider, you may have to spend hours, if not days, to configure and update your site. Do you know how to operate a backend Content Management System? Are you going to be able to find some professional stock photography (that you had to pay for), go into Adobe Photoshop (that you had to buy) and be able to easily design up that new special you’re running for Christmas? What about updating your online photo gallery? That won’t take up much of your valuable time will it? Time = Money. Use yours wisely.

5) Face to Face
I’m sure I can go into 20 other reasons a custom designed website is better than a template from a purely functional standpoint, but one of the largest advantages of using a web design company rather than an online template service is the face to face service you get with an actual web company. We have constant meetings, both in office and via phone or Skype with our clients constantly. Like most services, the key to a good relationship is communication. Being able to call up or walk into a company and speak directly to the web designer is a huge advantage. We learn exactly who you’re targeting, what your goals are for the website and any future goals that we can plan for during the building process. You aren’t dealing with an 800 number talking to someone at a call center reading off their list of prewritten trouble shooting responses.

Just like anything else in life, when it comes to your business’s website you get what you pay for. To stand out from the crowd and save time, money and hassle in the long run, consult a web design company before falling into the trap of do-it-yourself template websites.