Custom Websites vs. Template Websites

There are many misconceptions about the comparison between custom website designs and template websites. Hopefully by now most Real Estate professionals understand that branding themselves on the Internet is extremely beneficial as well as their business. Being active in social networking and having a website created to offer your clients tools and tips on buying and selling homes in your marketing area – you’ve shown that as a REALTOR® you are “on top” of the group of technologically savvy professionals in your business.

Take a moment and think about your website SEO for instance; when you run a web search the browser you are using looks through the sometimes millions of results that match your search criteria based on relevancy. The search engine will match websites with the highest SEO value first when pulling up search results based on the criteria, so having a template website is actually hurting the search engine optimization (SEO) of your site. You and possibly hundreds of Real Estate professionals may have the same website layout as well; excluding color choice and a possible photo (if you even have the option of including one!). Another problem is that template websites are not built very SEO friendly and are dynamically generated.  This will result in a website with very little to no SEO value. A website should be unique to you as REALTOR®, it defines your individuality.

Which ever website you choose make sure you have a robust CMS system.  RE/Advantage has a very user friendly, yet comprehensive back-end management system that allows you as a client to access ALL content pages of your website, meta data if you choose, lead management and capture system, form submission options (for the many contact and information forms that are built into your website), an online tutorial if you ever need help, plus much more!

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Here are some advantages and disadvantages of website templates and custom design websites.

Website Templates

Advantages:

  • Ready for immediate use
  • Low budget and cost
  • Shorter development time
  • Wide selection of pre-made designs
  • Ability to see what you’re getting

Disadvantages:

  • Web design isn’t unique
  • May be used on many other sites
  • Customization may be limited
  • Most likely not SEO friendly
  • Generic look of design

Custom Website Design

Advantages:

  • Customized and unique web design
  • More adaptable to your clients needs
  • Usually HTML / CSS validated (which helps out substantially with SEO)
  • Unique branding suited to client

Disadvantages:

  • Usually costs more than a template websites
  • Longer development time
  • Can not see website until design is finished or a time after development begins

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Using a website design company that uses template sites only shows a lack of marketing savvy and imagination on a REALTORS® part, in my opinion. Your website should be your silent salesperson. Do you want your silent salesperson dressed in the same uniform as your competition? Then what advantage do you have above the other REALTORS® in your area – what sets you apart from the rest?

RE/Advantage offers semi-custom and custom website designs to ALL clients. We allow clients to choose a layout and then they are able to customize their website based on THEIR specifications. Once a website is released and linked to its intended domain RE/Advantage clients then have access to their website content with a comprehensive “back end” management system.

All in all it comes down to the old saying “Time is money”, so if you are going to spend a little extra on a custom designed website it will benefit you in the long run. With access to your content at anytime, technical support and a lead management system creating and maintaining your website with RE/Advantage is a smart AND easy online marketing platform for the Real Estate professional.

There are many misconceptions about the comparison between custom website designs and template websites.
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5 thoughts on “Custom Websites vs. Template Websites

  1. Thank you for this info we were just discussing this today because we have a templated website which we have not gotten 1 lead from in 3 years. We thought it was us and were talking to a webmaster at our office today because we are sick of paying 35.00 per month and getting nothing but happy sellers who view their homes on our site in return.
    Our webmaster told us exactly what you just said which further convinced me to drop the templated site.
    I will do more research o who is best to go with before dumping it and will check out RE/Advantage for comparison.

    Like

  2. I agree with your pros and cons to a certain extent.

    You can certainly find SEO-friendly templates and systems (such as WordPress); and I think the idea of “not being unique” is overblown. There are thousands and thousands of web templates/themes available – the odds of two realtors in the same town, having the exact same template, being looked at by a prospect on the exact same day – are extremely small.

    Besides, many templates come in color schemes – and when you get your own photos and info in there, you may not even notice that one site is laid out very much like another.

    Perhaps a good “hybrid” idea is to create a custom theme for an agency and use that for individual realtors’s sites.

    Diana

    Like

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