Custom web design vs website template

Creating a website is a great step for many companies who want to be up to date with technology and present on the internet. During website development, many choices must be made. One of those choices is using custom web design vs website template created by other designers.

website design

There are many factors that should be considered when making this choice, and below is a brief guide on making the final choice.

Uniqueness

As explained above, website templates are used by several companies if they are any good. The design will only be unique if it is unattractive, and that itself is a bad choice. That is why many people get the feeling that they’ve seen websites have very similar, if not the same, website design look, even though they are from a totally different company. To leave a good first impression and please aesthetically the viewers, the design should be unique and custom made for the company. Everyone remembers that website that has amazing design even if he/she is not even remotely interested in what the website offers. It pleases one’s visual senses. Overused website templates cannot have the same effect.

Cost Difference

A custom web design costs significantly more than a website template. Website templates are cheap and even free such as WordPress Templates. ThemeForest has a great range of website templates and they cost on average less than $50. Compare that to custom web design that can easily pass 1,000s of dollars in cost. Website templates are meant to be reused by many companies, thus their prices are low. Custom web design on the other hand is only used for one company, i.e. it is made custom for that company, thus the prices are significantly higher.

website template

SEO Optimization

This is a quality that a great number of website templates have: a structure that follows the best practices of SEO optimization. This is not to say that custom web design does not have this quality, but the designer that curates the design must be told ahead of time that the site should be SEO friendly. Consequently, he/she should have the SEO skills to be able to do that. SEO friendly structure is basically using html structure to show where the main information is, where the title for each grouping is, how the content is grouped, etc. This helps google understand the content the page provides. Custom web design can be as or more advanced in SEO optimization than website templates in that the designer can easily follow all the tips/tricks that ordinary website templates have, and on top of that add unique characteristics that overused templates cannot have to rank the website higher in google. Writers at KissMetrics have done a great job explaining how to enhance a site structure.

Web Designer

To develop a custom design, a web designer is needed. This is an obvious one but remains a deal breaker for companies deciding on their website design. Most companies do not have a designer, let alone a web designer to do the work for them. They might not be interested in hiring a web designer who charges anywhere from $25 to $50 and more per hour for their work as opposed to using a template that is cheap and even free. Some companies hire a freelance web designer to develop the unique design on a fixed price, which is also a reasonable choice.

custom web design

Preview design before choosing

“I’ll know it when I see it” is an expression that designers hear more often than they want to admit. Often customers do not know how they want their website to look until they see it. This can lead to frustration and numerous revisions which costs designer’s time and company’s money. Designers often make a great choice that viewers will like, but the client will refuse it and want it to be overstuffed or use a bad combination of colors which results in a web design. This is a common issue in web design. On the other hand, if the client views many design templates, they can choose one that they like and find pleasing. There will be no room for surprises. A counter-effect to this might be that having many choices can cause analysis paralysis and the client will take a lot of time, if ever, to make the decision.

Power of choice in the design

If a website template is used, that means most likely the company does not have a designer and/or developer. Thus, any changes that the client will want to make to the template, no matter how small, will take time and effort because there is no one to do it. Freelance web designers will have to be hired and that costs. On the other hand, with a custom design the designer is constantly communicating with the client and can make changes on the spot without much effort. Freelance web designers usually have 2-4 free revision allowances to make changes after the design is done.

mobile-friendly design

Agile development

A case where templates rarely, if ever, fit in well is if the company follows an agile development for the website. This is often the case for large websites with business functionality. A website template is practically useless because in Agile, so many changes are requested that the final product almost never matches the initial design.

Custom business functionality

Templates are only front-end look. They do not have any functionality. If custom business functionality is needed, back-end must be added to the existing front-end. Often front-end requires changes in back-end and vice versa resulting in circulating changes that drastically change the existing template. A template that fits a niche’s functionality is hard to find. E-commerce is usually the easiest, but all other industries would require a custom web design.

custom business functionality

Now that you’ve read this article you should be more prepared to make this decision. The factors listed above should help a company decide on using custom web design vs website template for their online presence.

Our company, Ajroni Enterprises, is a Miami web design company that provides unique and aesthetically pleasing web design for our clients of any niche. If you have any questions or would like to contact us for any reason, use this link here or click the contact us link in the navigation bar. We have also written an article on helping companies choose the right web design company.

The key to restaurant web design

Web Restaurant niche has its own qualities and characteristics that when addressed properly make the difference between a website that customers bounce off and dislike, and one that customers come back to whenever they are feeling hungry. Below are few concepts that are key to restaurant web design.

The color pattern has immense value on the first impression viewers get when they view a web restaurant. Designers at Canva have done a great job displaying different palette types for inspiration as seen here. For web restaurant, odd colors dissatisfy the user, thus increasing the chances of bounce-off. Dark colors are also a no-go. The colors should be light, but not too bright as to cause discomfort. A combination of orange, white, and red color palette is the best choice to go for in restaurant website design.

The menu is of great importance. Customers want to see everything the website offers, including special dishes and premium food. The design of menu should fit best with what customers would be most likely looking for. For example, a restaurant known for its pizza should have pizzas menu listed higher.

Overstuffed information and detail is a red-flag. Web restaurant should not provide a stuffed menu because looking for a dish would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. If the menu is long, only key dishes should be included. The restaurant template must be divided into sections which customers can easily identify.

Addressing those key concepts will lead to a better restaurant website design which in turn attracts customers and increases the profits.

How does design interact with viewers?

Every design interacts with its viewers. This is what interaction design, a subdomain of user experience, studies. The design may provide information, give a good impression, delight customers, or influence the audience to perform an action, and it will interact with the audience in one way or another. But how does the design interact with its viewers? Below are few of the ways a design interacts with its viewers.

Highlight important concepts

A viewer should be able to immediately spot key concepts a design is intended to provide. Design choices are made to ensure that key concepts are highlighted, enlarged, and stand out from the rest of the product. Thus, the user will be able to quickly spot the part of the product they are interested in interacting with. A lack of separation of design by concept will confuse the viewer and overflow him with a great load of info, resulting in bad user experience.

Give direction to users

A product developed with interaction design will interact with viewers by directing them through the product. That could include reading information in order, performing a set of steps such as creating an account online, or reacting to feedback the product gives. A good design ensures that the viewer is aware of what must be done first or how the final product is supposed to be processed.

Provide useful feedback

Users need to be aware of the state of the state of the product. The design interacts with its viewers by providing useful feedback. This could include informing user that an action has been performed or failed, that there was an error in one entry, etc. Clear feedback ensures that the user knows what is happening and what he/she needs to do next.

A design is not a static object. It constantly interacts with the user in various ways. Interaction design explains that a design with clear interactions that give clarity to users, directions, separation of main areas, and feedback, results in a great user experience.

How to Choose The Right Web Design/Development Agency

 

choose your web design agency

The difference between a successful business and a failing one is often the right web design agency. Businesses with modern and high-end website and online presence will experience greater market share and competitive advantage over those that have outdated websites with little to no functionality. Thus, being able to choose the right web design agency that will design a website to impress a specific audience, be that geographical, demographical, or any other characteristic based, will make a key difference on how the business will survive in the fast-paced and technologically advanced 21st century. Some businesses choose to opt out of online presence, but this is suicide on this decade because the majority of the customers will have no way of reaching out or hearing about the company.

To help businesses and start-ups that are looking for a web design agency, we’ve build a list of key factors to look for when deciding on the right web design agency.

Portfolio

Portfolio is not the first on the list by randomization or chance, but because it is the most important factor in this process. Portfolio will showcase similar work the agency has done so that the businesses can get a good understanding of what website quality they expect from the agency. It shows the businesses that they can get the work done. An agency with no portfolio is a red alarm because it signifies that the agency has not done any similar work before, or worse, the work they have done is not worth showing. Alternatively, an agency with a large portfolio of high quality products ensures that building good websites is something they excel at and something the businesses can expect.

The agency’s website

Just like we judge a hairdresser by looking at their hair or a fashion designer by looking at what they dress, we can judge a web design agency by looking at their own website. If they cannot make a good website for themselves, how are they supposed to make a good one for others? The logic is simple and straightforward. Website aesthetics, design choices, color palette used, functionality available, and Search Engine Optimization are some of the things one must look in the website of the agency.

Reviews

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to hear from other customers of the agency and their experience with the web design agency? Well, that is what the reviews are for. One can easily find reviews for companies in Google Business, Bing Business, Yelp, Facebook, and other social media. Carefully reading the reviews will give one a picture of the quality of the work the agency does and what one can expect from them. A small percentage of bad reviews is expected for most companies, but larger number is a red flag. It could signal that the company is not able to do the work successfully, on time, or lacks in quality.

Employees

An agency with renowned employees is unlikely to deliver a bad product. Employees are the creators of the product, in this case the website. Many agencies have a list of employees in their website. Many other ones have LinkedIn and other social media where it is easy to access the list of their employees. From there, LinkedIn will be one’s best friend. Most professionals have a LinkedIn account with detailed profile. Reading through the accounts of employees of an agency will give on a good idea on how skilled and professional the employees are.

Professionalism

Another factor in determining whether an agency is fit to do the work is the professionalism of their employees. Professional employees with great experience will act professionally and accordingly. This also signifies seniority of employees. Agencies with employees who lack in skills are less professional in their interaction with customers because they do not have the experience to know how to act in such cases. A renowned agency will have at least a person whose job is to interact with the customer, and this is done in the most professional matter.

Businesses need to be present online to survive in the world dominated by internet. Choosing the right web design agency to curate and create a website of utmost quality is a process that must be done carefully. Portfolio, professionalism, reviews, agency’s website, and their employees are some of the factors one must look for in those agencies before starting a web design and development contract. The website the agency does will make an immense difference on the quality of the online presence of business.

What’s more important, aesthetic design or website functionality?

aesthetic design vs website functionality

A common dilemma that website designers and developers face when brainstorming new ideas on a project is whether they should focus their attention on making an aesthetic design to impress the audience using visuals, or on adding website functionality that users will use. Like many dilemmas that website designers face, the solution can vary depending on the project. However, there are few things that need to be taken into consideration.

The expected audience

Is the audience comprised of high skilled white-collar professionals or blue-collar employees? Is your audience more likely to be impressed in visuals and kinesthetic or by the functionality the website will provide? Each user is different, and the website design choices should be made while keeping in mind the type of audience the website is trying to reach. Professionals of a specific niche might enjoy a good touch of design, but they will most likely be looking for website functionality that allows them to perform actions they want. A good design might, however, make a difference if the functionalities of two different websites are similar. On the other hand, if aesthetics is an intrinsic part of an industry, then the looks will make the difference. For example, employees in art and entertainment industries will most likely expect compelling visuals and attractive design, i.e. aesthetic design will make the difference.

What is the goal of the website?

Every successful website was built with a goal and idea in mind. Every website without a goal or idea can be safely regarded as unsuccessful. The goals determine website design and functionality choices. Is the website intended to impress the audience visually? A web design agency with a bad website of their own is an immediate turn off for most customers, whereas one with visually compelling design will give good first impression. Is the website intended to give users power to do specific tasks? Then functionality is the key of the site. If users are unable to perform the actions they want to, looks will not matter.

Some websites will require a blend of exceptional aesthetic design and website functionality, but most will tilt towards one more than the other. The goal of website and the expected audience are some of the keys in deciding which side the website should tilt towards. Consider those things before you make your next website or webpage to increase the impressions of your customers.

Web Design Process

web design process steps
Web designers often thing about the web design process with a focus on technical matters such as wireframes, code, and content management. But great design is actually about creating a website that aligns with overarching strategy, and reaching the main goal of that particular website.

Well designed websites are way beyond aesthetics. They attract visitors and help people understand the particular product, company, through a variety of indicators, which means that every element on the website needs to work towards the websites goal.

1.Identify the goal

Work with the client in order to understand what goals the site needs to fullfil, what purpose it has.

2.Define the scope

Once you know the goal of the website, now you can define the scope of the project, I.e, what pages and features the site requires, timeline to build those out, in order to reach that particular goal.

goal setting

3.Wireframe

With the goal, and scope well defined, you can now start digging into the sitemap, defining how the content and features will work together.

4.Content

Now that you have a bigger picture of the site, you can start creating content for individual pages, always keeping in mind the search engine optimization to help the pages focus on a single topic.

5.Interface

By now, you have all the assets needed to start designing the real website, and its time to make sure it all works. Start designing page by page, in collaboration with the client. Its crucial to update your client on your progress.

5.Test and launch

Once the everything is working correctly, it’s time to plan and execute the site launch! This should include planning both the launch time and communication/marketing strategies.

After that, it’s time to have a break and enjoy a cup of coffee with your fellow team mates.

Effective Web Design Techniques

A professional web design is one that attracts more viewers and brings in new leads. There are web design techniques that when followed, lead to a professional web design.

 

SIMPLE AND PRECISE

Avoid overstuff and clutter in your web design as much as possible. Too much information provided will only confuse your viewers rather than inform them about your business. Overstuff and clutter has a high relation to bounce-off rate, the percentage of people who view one single page on your website and bounce-off to a different website. Provide as little information as possible while ensuring the message intended is still sent and the functionality is provided. It is not 2000s anymore, overstuff is seen as very unattractive, old, and rusty. It signifies that no web designer has touched the website in years.

 

SITEMAP FOR SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)

For optimal SEO, it is suggested to create sitemap for your website and submit it to search engines such as Google. You can submit the sitemap in google using Search Console as seen here. The sitemap will tell Google bot how the website is structured and the pages within the site. This will help your website gain organic traffic from SEO. Sitemap alone won’t do much, but combined with other factors, it can greatly enhance a website’s SEO.

TESTING FOR ALL POTENTIAL USERS

Regardless of industry or business, your users will likely be using all sorts of devices to access your website such as iPhone, Android Phones, Mac, Windows Laptop, Windows PC, etc. Furthermore, they will be using different browsers in each one of those devices, such as Safari, Firefox, Chrome, etc. Even further, they will be using different screen sizes. That is why testing is so important. It may look good in your 1600×1200 Windows Personal Computer but it could look very broken in an iPhone 7. There are numerous tools that allow you to test cross-browser and cross-device. One particular software is BrowserStack. It comes with a free trial for your convenience. Testing is one of the most important web design techniques.

UNDERSTANDABLE CONTENT

The content provided should be easy to read/view and understand. The use of elements such as infographics, images, and graphs will enhance your website to make it more understandable than just plain text. That makes for a good web design technique. Font size, family, color, boldness, and background color should be combined to make for an easy to read text that will not strain your eyes. Bad combination of those characteristics results in repulsive content and viewers will bounce-off the website.

SUBSCRIPTION

You want the users to come back to your website regularly and not just use it as a one-time stop. That is why subscription is useful. Your customers will receive notifications every time there is new content in the website and the subscribers will come back.

WEB HOSTING SOLUTION

Web hosting solution is a necessary part of any website. In order for the website to be up 24/7 and to handle all the traffic and requests, it needs a strong web host that can handle the traffic. Some of the best web host solutions are GoDaddy and HostGator. Before proceeding to choose the right package, ensure that the host supports your code and framework.

Above are just a few of many web design techniques that conceive a professional web design. Although not required, it is recommended that web designers follow all those techniques to provide good quality products.

Elements of a professional web design

Professional web design is an art on its own. To become a master in this art, there are a few elements that all professional web designers must understand and integrate in their work.

 

Failure to meet those key elements will result in a website design that came straight out of 2000s. We all know those repulsive websites that look old and rusty. We want to navigate away from those websites as soon as possible. A website that is not professionally designed will fail the credibility test and viewers will most likely not trust anything the website claims, regardless if it is related to web design.

A professional web design should at least encompass all those elements listed below.

Visual Hierarchy to Direct the User

Where is the user supposed to start reading/looking at? What should he/she do next? Should this content be read before the other one? These are questions that web designers must be able to answer. The web design is the key element that navigates the user through the webpage. Through the power of visual hierarchy, the user will know what he/she is supposed to do next. The content acquisition will feel natural and clear for the user. Compare that to websites that have no structure. Users get lost in loads of useless information.

Clear and Clutter-free – Not Overstuffed

One thing you will notice when you compare websites from before and after 2010 is that web design after 2010 strives for clear and clutter-free design and content by providing as little text, images, videos, and other webpage elements to the user as possible while giving the same message. Websites before 2010 have loads of text and images all over the place and it was hard to read all of it. Web designers found out that users find this very repulsive, and, gradually, they started implementing new techniques to make the webpages more attractive and give better impression. This included showing less content without losing meaning and structuring the page concisely.

Easy to read and understand

The user should have no issues reading and understanding the content the webpage is providing. This includes using the right font color, font family, font size, background color, etc. Content that is hard to read is likely to be overlooked at. This has been tested and proven frequently by researchers.

Right color pattern for the industry

Each industry uses different color patterns based on the type of work they do. For example, fast food uses bright and flashy colors because they want their customers to grab what they want and leave as fast as possible. This is done to increase profits. On the other hand, high-level and fancy restaurants use dark colors because they want their customers to spend as much time as possible there and as a result, buy more items. This is done for profit as well. There should not be much color variation in a webpage. The use of colors that do not combine well cause repulsion and bounce-off. Canva has a great list of amazing color palettes that will fit nearly any industry.

Clear navigation

A professional web design includes a clear navigation. It is placed at the top of the page, also known as header. The main pages within the website are listed there, and user can access the rest of the website from there. Pressing the logo goes to the homepage. There should be a navigation page for contacting the company.

The key of professional web design is to give the right message to the user in the best manner possible. A user that is visually pleased and impressed can likely turn into a future customer.

The importance of long tail keywords in SEO

Keywords are the heart of a SEO campaign. They are the main building blocks of marketing decisions and SEO strategies. They are of great importance when it comes to increasing the conversion rate and generating new traffic.

It is very hard to compete against large companies with short tail keywords because there is tremendous competition and a great number of those companies have a team of SEO and marketing experts who work on SEO content creation and keyword generation 9 to 5. A better choice is to target middle range keywords (3 words an above) that have medium search volume but a much lower amount of competition than short range keywords (one to two words). Those middle range keywords are known as long tail keywords.

It is easier for a business to start generating traffic from those keywords and then moving towards ones with larger volume when the domain authority is strong. Below are key reasons why long tail keywords are of great importance in SEO.

Less competition

There will always be significantly less competition the longer the keywords are. For example, there are people who search for web design, web software, web application, and many more that have the keyword “web” in it. Thus, it is not much of a surprise mathematically that the keyword “web” has far more competition than “web design.” Consequently, there are many longer keywords that include the “web design” keywords compared to “web design process.” The competition of the last keyword is very low and a good SEO article can easily rank high in Google and generate views whereas the keyword “web” will be lost in between thousands of websites that are competing for it.

High conversion rate

When people search in Google, or any other search engine for that matter, using more than three keywords known as long tail keywords, they are very specific in what they are looking for and Google will generate the answer they are expecting. The search results displayed will match what they are looking for far better than using one or two words. If you search for “web design,” you could be interested in the process, an agency near you, elements of design, and numerous other topics that are related to it. However, if you search “web design process,” google knows exactly what you are looking for.

But how to find long tail keywords? There are many tools available online to find long tail keywords. One of the best tools is Google Adwords Keywords Planner. The planner will help you do long tail keyword research by providing you with relevant keywords and the competition for each one of them. Another great tool is AnswerThePublic, which generates questions and ideas for your keywords. You can think of this tool as long tail keyword generator. Below is a picture of the ideas and keywords that AnswerThePublic generated from the key input “web design.” Combine those resources and find other ones online and you are guaranteed to get good results.

How to create a small business website

Creating a small business website is a skill of great importance. The web design characteristics, business priorities, and the competition is vastly different from big businesses, and that is why it requires special attention.

Every business, small or big, must have a website. However, small businesses lack money and resources to develop a website on their own. Web designers and developers are a costly resource. Small businesses simply cannot afford to pay such a high toll for a business website. But fear not, there are huge number of resources that are particularly curated to help create a small business business site with little resources spent.

Small business web design is different

Small business web design has factors that differ from bigger businesses. First, much of small business websites have little to no business functionality and their site is simply an extension of the business that aims to generate new customers and leads, be that through SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or advertising. Second, the websites must give a good first impression to first time viewers so they turn into potential new customers and leads. Third, SEO content must be added to the website to generate organic traffic, and it has to be different from bigger businesses. Remember, you are competing with big businesses who have a marketing team and SEO experts. Targeting keywords with large volume is nearly impossible for a small business website that has little to no domain authority. That is why it is recommended for SEO to be targeted locally to the business audience.

Now we will delve into the good part, creating the business site. One of the easiest ways for non-tech people to create a website is to use website builders. These tools allow you to drag-drop items and/or choose website template for your business. They will even host it for you and give you technical support should you have any issues or questions. Two of the main website builders which we will talk about are Wix and SquareSpace. We will also discuss Shopify, an e-commerce platform, and Content Management Platforms.

Website Builders

Wix provides website templates that can be customized through the use of drag and drop tool it provides. The tool can add images, galleries, sliders, fonts, graphs, charts, apps, menu and many more items. Wix even allows you to create a website design on your own, but that can take more time. Wix offers support for mobile viewing and responsive web design. Wix has a price, but it is well within the range small businesses can afford, a few hundred dollars per year.

SquareSpace is an all-in-one solution to create websites, be that business or individual, that includes analytics, domain registration, hosting, SEO, and beautiful website templates to choose from. Like Wix, SquareSpace has a drag and drop tool integrated that allows users to edit the content and the look of the template. The templates they offer have HTML5 code and web design that is optimized for bots to crawl so their clients can rank higher in search engines like google. SquareSpace also has a price similar to Wix, well within the range a small business can afford.

Shopify is an e-commerce platform that provides custom online stores and retail systems for businesses of any size. No technical knowledge is needed, although it can be helpful. If your company sells products, Shopify is an excellent choice. It is very easy to add/edit products, online store, and site theme. Shopify experts are available and will help you create your website and set up your store for a good price. Shopify is quite affordable as well.

Content Management System (CMS) such as WordPress is another way to create business site, but it does require some technical knowledge. It has over 50,000 plugins that provide nearly any functionality you could want in your website including payment and e-commerce, and thousands of themes to choose from. Technical support is available at a very cheap price for you to set up the website and maintain it. It is best one reads a tutorial on WordPress before starting.

Hiring a web design company

There are other options as well that allow you to create a small business website without having to know web development, however they do require work to be done on your behalf such as drag and drop to curate the website the way you want. If you lack design skills, that can be an issue. One solution to this issue is to hire a web design company that creates, designs, and hosts the website for you. We have written an article on choosing the right web design agency that provides factors and key characteristics to look for when choosing between different agencies.

Our company, Ajroni Enterprises, is a Miami web design company that provides design, development, hosting, search engine optimization, mobile-friendliness, and much more for our customers. If you would like to contact us or get to know us, do not hesitate to do so by using the links or the navigation bar.