Custom website design vs themes: When to invest

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One of the most difficult decisions to make when it comes to web design is if you want to do it yourself, purchase a pre-made theme, or invest in a custom design. Today I’m sharing when it’s the right time for each option.

When to go for DIY + pre-made themes

When you’re just starting out and getting the hang of things, still working out what your business is, who your ideal client is (and who isn’t) and what your unique selling point is, you probably don’t have the budget for a custom website nor do you need one. There are plenty of how-tos and tools out there to help you DIY your website. Webdesign + development may not be your zone of genius, and that’s OK. But spending a lot of money on a custom website is just money down the drain when you’re still figuring out your target market & offerings. Make a site you can be proud of, at least enough to make you want to promote yourself. Then you can grow your business to the point where you will be able to hire someone to do it for you.

Unless you like the DIY so much and want to learn all about design and development, keep things simple. When you’re just starting out, you don’t need the prettiest design – you just need one that isn’t so bad that it distracts from your content. Look for a theme (free or premium) with lots of white space. Focus on making your content super valuable and keep blog post images one width and all the same style.

Your site won’t necessarily look unique, but it will look professional so you – and your readers – can focus on the content.

If you want to make it just a little more unique than the pre-made theme you chose, pick just a few Google fonts and colors to use throughout your design.

When to go for custom design

What’s included in custom design varies widely from one designer to the next – and so does pricing. Before you invest in custom design, you should have a clear idea of what you want to achieve with your site. You also need to be clear on why you need a new design.

Design isn’t just about making things pretty. It’s about solving problems, so make sure your designer knows what problems you want to solve.

Maybe you want to be done struggling with code. To not have to worry about messing up the design when you just wanted to add a new course or service. Maybe you feel that your current site doesn’t reflect what your business is about. You need to be able to communicate what your business is about. Who is your ideal client? And what is your unique selling point? You should be able to answer these questions before you hire a designer, or you’re just wasting money.

Are you ready to start delegating?

Maybe you want to be done struggling with code – you know this tech stuff is not your cup of tea and you would rather spend your time doing what you do best. If so, I have just the solution for you: a custom-designed site that’s super easy to update. You shouldn’t have to bother with code every time you add a course, service or anything else to make it look good. I create custom-designed, easy-to-update WordPress websites. No more struggling with code and Canva.

If that sounds like something you’re interested in, check out my 1:1 services.


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