Template Website vs Custom Website: Weighing Out The Pros And Cons
There are many reasons to redesign your website. Perhaps its design has worn its welcome. Maybe it lacks modern features that help with lead generation. Or it could be that you want a faster, more secure browsing experience for your visitors.
Fortunately, a redesign can give your old website a new lease on life. You will need to decide whether you get a template-based or a custom-built website. Which one should you choose?
Template vs. Custom: The Pros and Cons
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for web design since different agents have different needs. Knowing the pros and cons of the above-mentioned options, however, should help you decide which one to pick.
Should I Choose a Template-Based or Custom-Built Site?
On the surface, the options are self-explanatory. However, there are many factors that might lead you to choose one over the other. When deciding on a package, take these into consideration:
What’s your target launch date? If you want your website ready ASAP and you don’t have custom design requests, a theme-based package will be quicker to complete. On the other hand, if time is not an issue, you may want to choose a custom package even if it takes a little longer to complete.
Do you want specific features for your website? Even though templated websites are entry-level solutions, they still have useful features straight out of the gate, such as IDX compatibility, social media integration, lead capture forms, and financing calculators. However, some clients want features that are outside the scope of a theme-based package. For instance, you may want elements like interactive maps and home valuation tools. The more advanced the features you need, the more suited a custom website will be.
What is your budget? In many ways, commissioning a website is a lot like purchasing outfits. Want a great-looking dress but have a limited budget? Then a ready-to-wear piece will be your best bet. Are you attending an important event and want to make a statement? Then a custom-made dress is imperative. So it is with website development: theme-based sites cost less to develop as they require fewer man-hours compared to custom-built ones. Choosing a bespoke site, though more costly, grants you access to top-tier designers who are experts in user interface and user experience, so you get what you pay for.
Does your realty network have branding guidelines you must follow? Like most agents, you likely belong to one of the national brokerage networks. Should this be the case, you’ll have to comply with pre-existing branding guidelines that cover things like color palettes and font choices. If these guidelines are not overly restrictive, you can choose a theme-based design since it allows for minor adjustments to the overall appearance. However, if you need extensive design tweaks to comply with said guidelines, a custom package is recommended.
How important is uniqueness to you? Some agents just want a simple website that looks professional and does its job well. Other agents want a website that’s an expression of their unique approach to real estate. If you’re the former, a theme-based package will suit you well; if you’re the latter, it’s better to go with a custom plan.
How established are you as an agent? Perhaps you’re a new agent who’s still working your way to the pinnacle of your profession. As a neophyte, you’re simply looking to establish an online presence to kickstart your personal brand. If so, getting a website up and running quickly might matter more to you. However, if you’re an industry veteran with a strong brand already or a team that wants to take its business to the next level, a themed website might not be able to fulfill your objectives. As such, getting a bespoke site will be the smarter choice.
Which Package is Right for Me?
No two agents have the same needs, that’s why different packages exist to help you achieve your goals. Check out the options available to you:
Agent Image X This entry-level package delivers on both aesthetics and functionality. You can choose from among eight professionally designed themes, each of which has a beautiful homepage and inner pages. The themes are compatible with both iHomeFinder and IDX Broker™, and are optimized for mobile device viewing.
Who it’s for: Agent Image X is perfect for single realtors who want a sleek website that’s quick and easy to launch.
Agent Pro By choosing Agent Pro, you get access to 15 website themes that are compatible with your preferred IDX provider. Furthermore, they boast useful features such as amortization calculators and contact forms with customizable auto-responders. The biggest perk of going with Agent Pro, however, is the ability to integrate logos, videos, news feeds, reputation management apps, and more with your chosen theme.
Who it’s for: If you value swift execution and have no need for customization but want a robust feature set, Agent Pro is the way to go.
Semi-Custom Semi-Custom is the best-selling package for a good reason: it lets you enjoy the best of both worlds! Just choose a theme you love, and we’ll customize its homepage and inner page design to better reflect your brand. The result is a website that’s true to your vision but doesn’t take as long to build as a fully bespoke one.
Who it’s for: Realtors or teams who value flexibility and freedom will surely take a liking to this package.
Imagine Studio Need a higher level of customization to achieve the website of your dreams? Then Imagine Studio is the plan for you! Aside from a bespoke homepage, we’ll also create three unique inner page designs. Plus, you’ll get access to advanced features such as a custom-designed map.
Who it’s for: Imagine Studio is best suited for market-leading agents, teams, or brokers who want a website that’s a testament to their success.
True Custom When only bespoke will do, there’s no better choice than True Custom. As its name suggests, we will custom-build your website right down to the last pixel. As such, you have all the freedom you need to create a visionary website that embodies the prestige of your services.
Who it’s for: True Custom is ideal if you’re an agent, team, or brokerage who wants to stand out from the rest and truly make a stamp on your market.
Ready to make your choice?
Your website is a cornerstone of your digital marketing strategy, so it’s important to choose a trusted marketing agency. With over 20 years of experience in creating sites for the most respected realtors in the industry, Agent Image has the skills necessary to take your website to the next level.
After reading this piece, we hope you have a clearer idea of what our different packages offer. If you’d like to know more, we provide free and no-pressure design consultations. Just give our sales team a call at 800.979.5799 or fill out our contact form to get started!
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