Custom Web Design vs Website Templates
By Oleg Donets
June 1st
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What Is The Difference Between a Custom-Designed Real Estate Website and a Templated One?

In order to answer this question, let’s first of all fully understand what a ‘Templated’ website design is. Templated websites are built using existing templates. Templates (also known as Themes) are pre-made designs that so-called ‘web designers’ use to build websites with.

There are many significant disadvantages with having a templated website in comparison to a custom-designed website. Below I listed some of the key disadvantages of having a site built on a template.

#1 Lack of Authenticity

If your website is built on an existing template, be aware that there are thousands of other people around the world who use the same exact design on their websites. There is nothing unique and authentic in having a templated website.

Why is it important?

This should be of a great importance for you if you are planning to develop your own brand identity to help you stand out among your competition. Branding is an extremely powerful marketing tool that makes your customers to choose you instead of your competitors.

However, to be effective, your branding must be consistent throughout all the communication channels that you use; and guess what, your website is one of them. With pre-made design of an existing template, it will be challenging to project your authentic brand identity.

On the contrary, custom website design allows you to think through every single aspect that will support your authentic messaging thereby reinforcing your overall brand identity.

#2 Poor Back-End Implementation

It may sound surprising but very few of the existing Themes on the market (including very popular ones) are coded by professionals who understand the importance of SEO-friendly and performance-oriented back-end code implementation.

A website may look nice and pretty to the eye but in reality be a convoluted mess on the back-end. Let’s take a look separately at each technical issue that I mentioned in my previous paragraph.

  • Not SEO-Friendly

Over the years we have witnessed a rapidly growing trend among theme developers to concentrate on building industry-specific templates rather than generic ones. The reason for that trend has been largely attributed to a rising demand in themes with builtin extra functionalities developed specifically for a particular industries.

Take for example templates built specifically for real estate industry. Majority of these themes include various handy features such: as IDX integration, property pages, property search, etc. that supposedly should help real estate professionals have engaging and functional websites.

In fact, when I first saw all those cool features that these themes offer, I was impressed. Unfortunately, this didn’t last long. When we started actually messing with these themes and realized how those ‘handy’ features have been implemented on the back-end as well as how all this was affecting the overall search engine optimization of the websites using those templates, we got seriously disturbed.

We realized that even though many of these real estate templates might have been designed by decent web designers, overwhelming majority of the developers who actually coded these themes, had little to none experience in real estate search engine optimization.

Frankly, it doesn’t surprise me because in order to be able to develop a real estate theme with an intelligently engineered back-end infrastructure, it requires a unique expertise. It is not enough to have a solid SEO background. It’s also required to fully understand all the technical SEO-related challenges of a typical real estate website to properly mitigate them.

Unfortunately, as I already mentioned above, vast majority of the programmers who developed those real estate templates, lack that key expertise of being able to properly optimize a real estate website for search engines, which explains why all of their products are useless and even damaging for your search engine visibility.

Why is it important?

This should be of a great importance for you if you are planning to get your site found in search engines. The back-end infrastructure of your real estate website is extremely important for your search engine visibility. Search engines can drive enormous amount of qualified visitors to your website.

When using an existing template, your website will inherit certain builtin functionalities of a used theme, which will directly affect your site’s back-end infrastructure. As a result, it will be quite challenging for your site to gain search visibility.

Therefore, if you’re serious about your website’s future search engine performance, make sure that you hire a professional real estate website design & development firm that works in conjunction with real estate SEO experts.

  • Poor Website Performance

When I say website performance, I refer to an ability of web pages to load quickly. If pages don’t load quickly, this will not only negatively affect website’s search engine ranking but it also will drive your visitors nuts. With constantly shrinking attention span among the internet users, every second matters.

In general, loading speed of a site depends on two main aspects:

  1. The server on which your website is hosted.
  2. The optimization of your website’s code.

Let’s assume that your site is already hosted on a robust real estate hosting, which is an easy fix. We’re left with a more complicated piece, which requires an expertise of professional front-end and back-end developers. Unfortunately, majority of existing themes are coded by developers that understand very little in performance-oriented code implementation.

Sounds surprising? But if you really think about it, it does make sense. They are motivated by different interests in contrast to companies like ours. Theme makers’ main objective is to sell their themes to as many customers as possible. They don’t care what happens after that. They just need to make a sale.

Therefore, first and foremost they want to ensure that their themes look visually appealing and include some cool features. Sadly enough customers don’t question the technical aspect of how all of that is implemented; and who has the time for that right?

Customers just blindly trust the perception that theme developers must be competent in what they do. Otherwise, who would let them sell those themes right? Well, let me tell you something. Anyone with a basic knowledge of development can put together a template and start selling it online.

It’s disturbing that largest marketplaces who sell vast majority of the themes online have no strict admission criteria for their sellers that could have guaranteed certain level of quality standard. On the contrary, company like ours has the right motivation that aliens with your interests.

Our direct interest is to create a quality product that will facilitate your further search visibility and user experience, Unlike theme makers, we provide ongoing web marketing services to our web design clients. Therefore, the websites that we build must support further ongoing marketing efforts that we provide.

Why is it important?

This should be of a great importance for you if you care about your visitors’ experience and ultimately your bottom line. Let me explain how these two connect to each other. As I already mentioned above, internet users have very little attention span; they won’t stay on a site that loads forever.

If visitors have bad experience on your website, they will simply leave and go to your competitors’ sites. This means you will receive less contact inquiries, which directly impacts your bottom line. So, if you’re serious about your bottom line, make sure you hire a professional website design & development team to create your real estate site.

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