Template or Custom Design?


GA Medicare Expert
5000 Post Club
I am thinking about making changes in my website. The site is functional as is, but I feel it needs more pop.

I can get a template for $40 - $80 and I know enough about HTML to personalize it.

I know nothing about SEO.

Or, I can pay someone $200+ (probably more in the $500 range) to redesign it and probably another $500 or so to optimize it.

Do you use a template or custom design?
Web designers will always tell you that you need something uniquely yours. Why? My advice is to get the template, get it online, and have someone optimize it for you.

Of course, usually for a custom website, you're probably looking more at $2000 for something equivalent to the style of a $50 template, but there are ways around that. I haven't done it in a while, but try going to templatemonster.com, and look at the prices for 'exclusive' use of a template. You quickly realize that someone else on the planet perhaps using the same starter template isn't such a bad deal :)

I bought a template, but customized it with my own touches. Check it out at Entre Nous Financial Services ... used pictures of local/Texas stuff. I like how it came out, but could probably stand to redo some of the content. If you're handy at tweaking code yourself, I say save the cabbage and do it yourself. Set up a domain with godaddy.com and the whole process is pretty straightforward...and inexpensive.
Optimizing the site is playing with key words & meta tags (and a whole bunch more I don't understand) to drive more traffic to your site.
Optimization consists of on-site aspects and off-site aspects. I believe that some templates will come with pre-populateable forms to get the correct title tags, meta description, h1 h2 etc.. to take care of most of the on site stuff.
Just looking for a snappier design. I have had complicated in the past. Now it is more straight forward. I think it could be easier to navigate. I put a lot of information (mostly non-rev) on the site but not sure it ever get's noticed.
If you install google analytics, you can see exactly how many people go to each page and how long they spend there... you can then move up or more prominently display those that get more interest. (It is free and very easy to install)

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