When building a new hotel website or redesigning your existing site, the first choice you’ll need to make is whether to hire a designer or use a template site. There are good reasons for each choice and the approach that works best for you will depend on your business needs.
Are you looking for a solution that is quick and cheap and can be implemented immediately? Or are you willing to pay more for someone who can help you craft a custom message? In this article we’ll look at the pros and cons of creating a template-based website or working with a web designer.
Using a website template
If you decide to use a hotel web design template, you’ll have many options, and more companies are joining the field all the time. The most popular platform for template-based sites is WordPress, which is used by more than 20 per cent of all the world’s websites. There are thousands of templates available, both free and paid.
Businesses such as SquareSpace, Weebly, and Wix offer another option. These companies use a subscription model where you pay a monthly fee for hosting and design and can easily switch templates to change the look of your site.
Template models are popular because they are inexpensive and simple to use. You’ll have thousands of templates to choose from, and easy access to popular features such as blogs and shopping carts. And because they are so simple to implement, you can set up a website in under an hour.
The downside of working with a hotel web design template is that you have a stock product that isn’t uniquely tailored to your business’ needs. Depending on the template you choose, you may have some degree of flexibility, but you probably won’t be able to vary the appearance and functionality too much without significantly altering the underlying code.
This can be a major drawback when you are trying to create a branded experience that makes your website stand out from your competition. You definitely don’t want your website to seem like a generic cookie cutter space. You want to impress potential customers with your professionalism and creativity.
Finally, out-of-the-box solutions may affect your SEO rankings. Not all templates make the most of SEO opportunities, so you’ll have to check out developer claims and customer reviews to find ones that work well. Regardless of what template you choose, it will be up to you to tag your content and images in a way that’s friendly to search engines.
Bringing in a pro
The other option is to hire a web designer or a design firm. While this is generally a more-expensive option, there are many reasons why you might choose to work with a professional designer.
The most obvious answer is that you’ll get a custom designed hotel website. A good web designer will walk you through the design process and ask questions to understand your business needs. Rather than trying to fit your existing content into a template that you’ve chosen, a professional designer will help you hone the image and message you want to convey to customers and then build a site that shows your business in the best possible light.
A custom site can boost SEO results. Web professionals understand how to code a site to make it highly visible. They’ll also optimize your site so that it loads fast and looks great on mobile devices. This is important, as Google’s new algorithms punish sites that are not mobile friendly.
You’ll also benefit from building a relationship with the designer or design team. A good custom site should be simple to update, but you always have the option of calling in support if you decide to rebrand your business or make other substantial changes.
The major downsides of working with a pro designer are that initial costs will be higher and the process will take longer. Instead of building a template site in an hour, it may take a few weeks of back and forth exchanges to get a site that meets your needs exactly. Also, you won’t be able to see the design up front. With a template, you know exactly what you are getting. A designer will use layout boards and mock-ups but it may take more negotiation for her to understand exactly what you want.
If you are just starting out or your budget is very low, a template-based website may make sense for your business at this moment. You can always decide to build a custom site later. But if you are trying to take your business to the next level, a custom site will really help you stand out from your competitors.
For more custom web design quote contact us for a preliminary chat. Our team of experts can help you decide what works best for your business and budget. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how cost effective a new website by hotelmarketingWorks can be.