To a bystander, the word “custom” might look useless in that phrase. But custom website design is distinguished in many ways from other options for your website’s look and feel.
Here, we’ll talk about the several different ways that the word “custom” applies in the field of website design, and differentiate that from the alternatives.
Custom, As Opposed To … ?
Many companies on a strict budget will look to the cost of website design as a place to slash costs. For those buyers, there are website design warehouses which will offer pre-made template catalogs at low, low prices.
Often, these templates are already in use on hundreds of different websites, sometimes even thousands – which is the reason why they’re selling more than a thousand dollars worth of web design work, for only $15.
To change things up, those templates are often available in a variety of color choices, and to balance out the need for uniqueness vs the need for low prices, they’ll sometimes promise to sell each template only a limited number of times.
Another way in which website design can be done without invoking the word “custom,” is to do the design work with minimal consultation and minimal rights to request changes and improvements. In that case, the customer’s requests are thought of by the designer as “custom” design instructions.
Now, let’s move on to website design practices that involve customization in places ways you might not have thought of…
Custom Template Tweaks
This is an area where cost-cutting attempts to meet effective branding priorities, or unique needs for the individual website.
Clients sometimes want custom website design instructions to be applied to a $15 template so that the template allows for styles of content that weren’t intended for the original design. Clients usually also hope to distance the final product, from that feel of buying a design from a generic warehouse.
It sounds like a great option, potentially the best of both worlds… but it can be a risky practice.
The problem is that while a website design looks simple on the surface, it’s actually thousands of lines of code. While the finished product might look like a solid veneer, under the surface, things are sliced up in ways that can’t be rearranged. Changing someone else’s finished design, even a little bit, sometimes requires as much work as a fully original website design.
Certainly that’s not always the case, but, with many designs, each element is required to be what it is, where it is, or else the surrounding elements won’t work without significant retooling. Add to this the time required to read the underlying code and understand how the design was implemented, and a visually simple change can become a week’s worth of work.
Custom CMS Templates
This brings us to custom templates for content management systems, a somewhat under-appreciated service that website designers can provide.
Normally, people who are familiar with content management systems will automatically visit a template warehouse and purchase a cookie-cutter template. Doing so is a missed opportunity for businesses with specialty needs, as the results are exactly identical to the pitfalls described above.
A good content management system gives designers every tool they need to create powerful, fluid, and unique custom website designs for any individual business need. All you need to do is to know that, and approach a web designer that knows how to implement them.