Templates are pre-designed websites that you can purchase or use, depending on a type of licence, and fill with your own content. So, for example, you are running a restaurant. You look up 'restaurant website template' in Google, you find one that looks best in your opinion and you purchase it. After obtaining the licence, you change graphics, write up some texts, upload your details and here it is. Your website is ready.
What is an issue with template-based websites? For starters, there is only so much you can customise. Templates usually have some options, you can change font size or type, maybe main colour, a size of the banner and number of items on the menu. Different templates are likely to have different options to go with them, not all of the templates would have the same possibilities.
So although template based design would far cheaper than bespoke one it is not always worth to get one. It is good for startup businesses that are just exploring the market and don't have a lot of budget for building an online presence.
Bespoke design, on the other hand, is a tailor-made design that was specially created for your business. It simply means, that you have put in writing all the things you expect your website to be and do, and you have hired professional web design agency (wink) to create it for you from scratch.
The bespoke design might be quite pricey, I'm not gonna lie, but when you run big, successful business you are most likely, at some point, to reach a conclusion that you need one. And when you do, make sure that website you are getting is going to do a good job for you.
Bespoke websites are an investment that should become your asset when building an online presence. So, make sure that what you're offered is up to latest trends, that the website is easy to navigate, and most of all that your details or means to contact you are always visible and easy to get.
Bespoke websites take more time to create than template based websites. First, you need to approve the wireframe, which is, in easy words, how your website is going to function. Once that settled, all of that functionality is getting dressed in beautiful, sparkly graphic design. Once that done, you need to approve it too. Whatever changes you want at this stage you should share with the designer, as once website moves to the development stage, it is going to be hard to change anything. Or at least expensive. In some cases very expensive, depending on the contract.
As you can see, there is a lot of things that need your say, so make sure to check your email frequently, as some agencies, if they don't hear from you within agreed period, are likely to put your project on hold. And trust me, it's not the only time you would be losing.
Now, when your website is finally ready, and it is going live, your work is not quite done yet. Many companies, (our included), are granting you two weeks warranty period to check that everything on your website is error-free. It's important to fix those within set period to avoid extra costs.
As you can see, there are many factors to consider when it comes to website design. You need to decide how much flexibility you desire, and also who is going to maintain your website for you after the process of development. Many web design agencies offer support and maintenance packages (wink), so be sure to check with yours. After all, developing the website is just a beginning.