Call of the wild or of the season: “Can you help me with my template website?”

It used to be that we would get frantic calls: “My web designer has gone out of business … help!”

Ape at laptopThe seasons have changed and the current call of the wild, from those business owners that like to live dangerously, seems to be like this:  “My free (or purchased) website theme isn't working for me. Can you help me with it?”

We don't work with template themes (free or purchased) for a variety of reasons.  In the past, we have tried to work with themes that include excess code and plugins that cause security issues. Hacking to work around the excess code often creates (you got it) more excess code.  In the end, we end up rebuilding from scratch so the client gets what they really need.

Why are template sites like that? Templates are trying to offer as many options to as many businesses as they can.  They have to be generic in order to appeal to a wide audience. But it's not easy to do well.  Having all the bells and whistles can make your website slow to load and can compromise security. Worse still, it leads to business owners saying my “website isn't working for me”.

Custom Website vs. a Pre-existing Theme/Templated Website:

The table below will outline why a custom website is the right answer for your business. It you think you will ever need to change something in your website, or add some functionality to it, you are looking at a custom site. It will turn out to be the least expensive option in the long run and it will “work for you” and the needs of your unique business.

What's included … Custom Built Website vs. Theme
Custom Built Website Pre-Existing Template/Theme
WordPress Platform Yes – Custom built – designed and coded from scratch (a blank canvas) Yes – Uses pre-defined theme (like paint by number)
Analyze past website data Yes – We will analyze your google analytics (if available) to use as a guide for your site. Extra Cost
Plug-ins Yes – Established, supported plug-ins that have a good history of security and support. Custom coding allows for limited plug-in use. No – Plug in’s are often used as shortcuts vs code. Not all plug-in’s are supported and many have security issues.
Monitoring & Updating Yes – Your website is constantly monitored for any version or plug-in security updates. If one is released, we will update your site at no extra charge plus there is less chance of your site ever going down. Extra Cost – Typically monitoring and updating is available at a monthly cost. Should issues arise due to conicts between updated themes and plug-ins you will be charged again to determine and resolve the issue(s).
Built with no excess code Yes – We build custom sites to have no excess code resulting in a website that loads faster with minimal issues down the road. And, search engines and mobile data plans LOVE fast loading sites. No – Pre-existing templates have excess code making a website slower to load and causing potential problems down the road as plug-ins, themes and technology evolve.
Responsive Yes – We create our own responsive frameworks which allows for a custom solution to be created specifically for your websites requirements. ? – Themes quite often do not respond or “morph” down to mobile devices correctly, requiring extra development time and cost to x the problem.
Support Yes – Issues do arise but if it’s because of our code we fix it. Extra Cost – When issues arise with templates and themes it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack at your time and cost.
Mock-Up Yes – Every business is unique. We start with a blank canvas and together we build the “look” (a Mock-up) of your site. No – A template would be chosen based on the look of that theme and then it’s a matter of squeezing your business into that “look”.
Training Yes – up to 2hrs Extra Cost
Testing Yes – Our custom websites are built to web standards and tested on modern browsers and devices. ? – Unknown.
Hosting $25/mo – Your hosting needs to be reliable, secure and fast. Which is why your website will be hosted on special state-of-the-art WordPress only servers and if for any reason your site is compromised, we will make sure your site is cleaned and corrected at no extra charge. Extra Cost – With themes and templates you typically are charged extra should any issues arise.
Backup Yes – Your hosting includes daily backups. If you messed up a file, or your whole site, never fear, we offer a full or file based restore feature. ? – Depends on your hosting package.
Service Yes – We answer the phone, we are local, friendly and here to support you. ? – Depends on your support team and where in the world they are located.
SEO Yes – We build all websites to be search engine friendly. Included with each site is a robust SEO tool which will assist you with SEO on an ongoing basis. **We can certainly optimize your web pages at an added cost based on your needs and budget. ? – Every theme/template is different