Custom B2B Web Design Vs. Template Websites (Pros Vs. Cons)
There is a slew of questions that needs to be answered when building a new B2B website. One of the major questions that needs to be addressed before starting the web design process is whether you will have a custom website built or whether you will be using an existing template design.
In this article, I examine the pros and cons of custom B2B web design vs. template websites.
Custom Web Design
Whether you are a marketing driven organization or not, a professional custom B2B website design is a must-have for any company looking to preserve or improve their brand credibility and is focused on closing new client deals.
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- Customization– The sky is the limit with custom built websites. Fonts, imagery, video, content, graphics, layout, animation, motion, number of pages, layout, sitemap – with a custom B2B website design you are able to customize every aspect of your website. This ability to customize ensures your brand is being showcased accurately and in the best light. Rather than trying to fit a square peg into a round hole with a template, a custom website enables flexibility, adaptability, and the ability to achieve the goals of the website.
- Great for SEO– Search engine optimization (SEO) is more than just picking the right keywords for a page. Great SEO impacts nearly every aspect of a website. A custom website design allows you to plan, write, design, code, and analyze according to SEO best practices.
- Functionality – With the right tools and web development team, you can attain any type of functionality you need to appeal to your target audience. Maybe your website requires an integrated candidate tracking system, or a product gallery a website visitor can sort through, or even personalized, location-based home pages. The desired functionality can be achieved through a custom B2B web design.
- Control + Ownership – One of the major benefits, although not initially obvious, is that your company can control your website’s hosting and can choose your preferred hosting provider. You own the domain, design, any custom videos, graphics, and imagery. Having control over those design assets and intellectual property enables your firm to protect your brand.
- Time– Building a custom website can take anywhere from a couple of months to a year depending on the size of the website. Find out why great web design takes so long.
- Cost – Custom B2B web design and development can be a significant investment for a business. However, when you weigh the benefits of a having a website that is a professional 24/7 sales tool and the revenue generated from website leads, it’s often well worth the cost.
- People – Building an effective brand-building, lead-generating website requires many professional disciplines including design, marketing, writing, SEO, development, project management, etc. Due to the cost and time investment, many companies decide to hire a B2B web design agency to handle a custom website project.
Perform a quick 5-minute B2B website audit.
Businesses that are at their infancy or in the start-up stage, don’t have the people/time/resources, or haven’t completely defined their service/product offering yet are the best candidates to take advantage of a website template solution. A template website is a pre-designed web page(s) that a user can add their text and images to. Templates are often available for download and use by multiple individuals or brands.
- Time – A template website can be created and launched very quickly. As the commercials show, it’s a plug-and-play solution so you simply select the template and plug in the necessary content and information.
- Cost – It’s affordable since the designed template exists in a library. Template website designers make their money on repeated purchases of their template.
- People – Many people can figure out how to create a website by themselves using tools like Wix or Square Space.
- Customization – There are certain customization options, but often you are limited in the customization of the website. Template websites may allow for choosing from various color schemes or layouts, but you won’t be able to dictate exactly how the website looks.
- Bad for SEO – These solutions aren’t built for SEO, they are built so all users can easily update a template. The template may include a few SEO options, but without hiring a web development expert, there is no guarantee that the architecture of the website (which has a large impact on SEO) follows current SEO best practices.
- Control + Ownership – Many website template solutions don’t allow you to control your own hosting. Rather, they require you to pay an ongoing subscription fee and when you stop making payments, your website is taken down. Additionally, you don’t own the website design since it is a template.
Building a new website for your brand is an exciting endeavor that comes with a number of decisions that need to be made. The first decision is whether to go with a custom B2B web design option or an off-the-shelf template website. It depends on your company’s resources and objectives.
Author: Kara Jensen
Kara Jensen is the Creative Principal of Bop Design, a B2B marketing and web design & development firm based in San Diego, CA. Dedicated to communicating each client’s unique business value, Kara forges connections with target markets through strategic design and high-impact marketing concepts. Kara has 10 years of… View full profile ›
Hands-on: Refreshed Material Design Is The Delightful Cornerstone Of The New, Smarter Gmail [Gallery]
After a midnight unveil, the new Gmail is beginning to launch for the first wave of users. We’ve managed to enable the new design on a personal Google Account, and are quickly finding that a refreshed Material Design is front and center in delivering this brand new experience with countless usability tweaks and streamlined features.
Getting the new Gmail
Like with other new and revamped Google services, the rollout is happening over the coming weeks, and it will likely be a long time before it becomes the default for all Gmail users. Google’s usual solution gives early adopters a chance to upgrade with a “Try the new Gmail” option hidden in the top-right Settings icon. Users will retain the ability to “Go back to classic Gmail” if the new version isn’t feature complete enough.
The old remains
With that said, it should be. Unlike Google Calendar a few years back, this new Gmail is doing a very good job of bringing over all the old features next to the newer smart ones. In my brief usage, features that I use everyday are already there in this new design. This includes every previous setting and even the “Labs” feature, which is now named “Advanced.”
…in with the new
During set up, users are asked to “Choose a view” or “Display density.” The new “Default” is the one Google is clearly pushing to users as it displays inline file and Drive attachments right in the inbox view.
Unfortunately, this view is not dense enough for my liking, with “Comfortable” and “Compact” more optimal. I might have to live with just the standard paperclip icon in the far-right to signify attachments.
On the right is also where my favorite features of the new Gmail resides. Hovering over any email surfaces controls to archive, delete, mark as read, or snooze. This is a great time saver compared to having to head into an email for just a quick action or first selecting a message to access the controls on the toolbar. After every action, a snackbar appears in the bottom-left corner that notes what Gmail just did, with the option to undo.
The new snooze control is a direct carryover from Inbox, with presets and the ability to select more fine-grained times. Directly tied with this is the new “Nudging” feature that reminds you of incoming and outgoing mail that you or a recipient has not responded to, with prompts like “Received 3 days ago. Reply?” and “Sent 5 days ago. Follow up?”
Google is pushing a new widget-like side panel that provides quick access to Calendar, Keep, and the just launched Tasks. It will take a while to see whether this becomes an adopted behavior — versus just opening the full app — but I already like Keep’s similar feature in Google Docs.
On that note, I feel like the Keep widget is a bit underpowered, while I wish Google Calendar would allow more than a simple day view. Fortunately, each has a quick shortcut to open the full app.
All the small things
The new Gmail features a plethora of design changes that very much hint at the company’s future visual direction.
- Like we’ve seen in the Google app and Play services, highlight indicators throughout the new Gmail are rounded on one end.
- The compose button is prominent and oval in shape, while buttons and Smart Reply responses generally have rounded corners.
- The new rounded tab indicator is in use as seen by the side panel.
- When the navigation drawer is hidden, the hover over to reveal uses a very nifty animation that conveys movement and transformation. Meanwhile, this compact view is delightful with easy to recognize and color-coded labels.
It’s hard to emphasize how much I think design plays a big roll in this new Gmail experience. There are so many delightful touches that make Gmail feel very modern in a way that makes the old web design just feel ancient on second use. In comparison, the new design fits just right in — if not excelling — Google’s current suite of Android apps.
Meanwhile, these smart and convenient features should fit into every user’s current workflow and make it faster and easier to manage email.
As my colleague Stephen put it best, “I found myself not remembering what old Gmail looks like because new Gmail just feels that familiar. And yet, it’s indeed very different and much more powerful. This is excellent design.”