If you’ve looked into building a website for your organization, you’ve likely come across website development platforms like WordPress, Wix and Squarespace. These platforms allow you to choose a pre-made design, add images and copy to explain your organization and launch a website. They also allow you to log in and update the copy or replace images through the content management system, known as a CMS.
These are user-friendly to varying degrees and cost-effective; attributes that make them a great resource for a lot of businesses. However, they do have limitations, including restrictions on modifications and the potential for security issues. Additionally, a basic understanding of coding will be necessary to make any significant changes to a WordPress site. We always recommend investing in a custom website to create a truly effective solution. Below, we’ve outlined a few reasons why.
There is nothing worse than not being able to control your own website. A number of our clients have come to us out of frustration with their existing WordPress website. The most common issues are the functionality limitations of WordPress and their web vendor taking an unreasonable amount of time to implement changes and then charging exorbitant fees to make the changes.
These are issues we take very seriously. We believe in empowering our clients to take control of their website because they know best what’s happening within their organization, and they should be able to make updates as often and as quickly as they want. To make this feasible, we developed a custom CMS that allows our clients to make updates easily and quickly, without needing to know how to code.
A simple blog or informational website can be satisfactorily built with WordPress or the like, but a website with complex features or specific functionality is better served by a custom website. WordPress requires third-party plugins for most functionality, which means you’re at the mercy of not only what’s available, but also how well the original creator keeps it up to date.
A custom-built website allows you to specify exactly what you need the website to do, such as collect tuition payments through a secure parent portal, accept donations or engage the audience with an interactive game. All of which are examples of functionality we’ve built into websites for our clients, including the websites for Every Little Blessing Preschool, the El Paso Community Foundation and the Sun Bowl Association.
The reliance on plugins for functionality can lead to security issues, leaving websites vulnerable. Custom programming means you don’t have to use plugins and it results in a leaner website. Security issues with a custom website are less common, and the elimination of plugins streamlines the functionality and reduces load times. We currently host the El Paso County Elections Department website and during a recent election cycle, the website served over 120,000 pages with 100% uptime in a 24-hour period.
When you use a website builder, you’re largely relying on existing templates. This means you have to take your content and fit it into the available spaces. Developing a custom website gives you the flexibility to write your content first, and then design and program around the content. Content is the reason people will visit your website, so it should be created intentionally and not left as an afterthought to be tackled once you’ve picked a design direction.
Businesses and organizations grow over time, and a website that can scale with that growth is a crucial piece of the marketing strategy. A custom website should be designed with growth in mind, giving you the ability to add to the site as your organization grows.
Because people are visiting your site for the content, it’s imperative that the content be succinct and organized intuitively. Not only does it benefit website visitors, but relevant content also helps boost your SEO. However, most business owners don’t have the time to write content and the few that do have time usually don’t enjoy writing. Such an important component of building a website shouldn’t be an afterthought, nor should it be treated as a loathsome task no one wants to do.
Knowing this, we take on the responsibility of writing content for our clients. We start our web projects with a thorough content audit to write the copy and develop the content strategy. Not only does this allow us to create an effective design, it takes the pressure off the client and gives them an outside perspective of how to communicate about their business.
Finally, working with a vendor to develop a custom website means you should have access to better customer service. At Hello Amigo, we’re always available to answer questions and provide assistance. There’s no online service order requests or chatbots to work with, just real people here to answer your call and help you work through any challenges you face.
See what success looks like.