Graphic Design & Website Development Industry, Useful Advice, Tips, and Other Articles.
May 2014

Do you really need a custom designed website?

So you have decided you want a website for your company, whether you do consulting, real estate, recruitment, retail or anything else, then you would probably benefit from getting a website designed and developed, but you probably do not need a custom designed website.

If you are in Cambodia, then your customers are probably not doing much online shopping quite yet, but your website will still usually function as a sales (or conversion) tool – does a custom website benefit your sales, or will the functionality offered by a readymade theme be sufficient, and you can instead focus money and efforts on filling the website with quality content – photographs, design work, and customisations to bring the theme into your branding. For most people, this is more beneficial.

Why reinvent the wheel? You probably don’t need a fully custom designed website.

I like WordPress, it’s pretty solid and stable, and doesn’t try to do too much. It is easily extended with themes and plugins, and many premium plugins are pretty good. They won’t do exactly what you want, but they will often do 90% and you can adapt your plans to fit around what is available. There are specialist themes utilising different functionality such as social sites, real estate listings, consultancy, directories, review sites, and also themes suited to almost all industries. It is easy to change the colours and fonts to fit your brand, and once the photos and content are replaced with your own then it will look pretty slick.

Speaking of photos, most people can’t run to getting a professional photographer in, or their business is not easily photographed. For something like a restaurant, bar, hotel or retail product based business then I’d suggest getting a good photographer in to make it look great, this is what will stand out on the website and also be used for all your other marketing materials, people look at photos and content not the website itself. If you are in a less easily photographed industry, just get some generic stock photos from sites like Fotolia, iStockPhoto, etc. Theme the generic photos such as using close ups of Angkor Wat carvings, or plants or animals.

Most of the theme layouts are pretty cool, as a graphic designer and web developer in many cases it makes little sense to build completely custom sites to the same level, when a theme would do the job just fine. Since a custom websuite build means there are days or even weeks of work to do and most people prefer things done quickly and are unhappy waiting too long as often happens. You can buy these themes for under $50 and if you have content ready you can have them setup, customised and set live the same day.

All this only takes a few days to set up if you are flexible with website functionality, spend the time you save on graphic design and creating / organising content rather than a custom designed website.

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Joe Ogden
Website Design & Development
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
[email protected]