TAMPA, FLORIDA-You might ask yourself why an Internet marketing company that focuses on search engine optimization to help increase traffic to clients’ websites and improve their Google site ranking is devoting a blog post to custom-designed websites.
There’s actually a good reason for it. With so many people turning to WordPress websites these days, people are increasingly interested in purchasing templates, tweaking them slightly to fit their own needs, and taking them live online.
On the surface, it’s an attractive option. You usually can spend $50 or less to purchase an attractive template. But saving money up front can end up costing you dearly in the long run.
He has found that one reason behind this is dirty code.
“We know by experience that the code included with template sites isn’t always clean,” Barrett says. “This means it might look satisfactory in your browser, but it can cause a lot of grief when trying to rank in search engines.”
The problem begins with trying to make a template fit your business’s unique needs.
“If you look at any template site, you’ll find that almost all of them are image driven,” Barrett says. “They have awesome photography on them, but once you take that out, the template almost automatically crashes.”
In diagnosing the problem behind one particular client’s website woes, Barrett discovered that when the template was installed, some of the images and/or links were still going back to the original template creator’s website. For whatever reason, the template creator’s site showed up on blacklisted sites. Because of this, not just Barrett’s client, but anyone with that template for their website would have problems getting their website found by Google.
The more junk search engine spiders must crawl through to locate your content, the less likely they are to rank you.
“Google is all about user experience,” says Millionairium Founder and CEO Ali Husayni. “A website needs to have original content, it needs to load quickly, and on the back-end, it needs to be clean and well-organized.”
When a site has code that directs to a blacklisted site, Google essentially punishes you for it. For all intents and purposes, your site essentially is blacklisted as well, Barrett says.
A customized website eliminates this issue. A designer who knows what he/she is doing only uses the necessary code. They aren’t putting a bunch of nonsense code behind the scenes, which means the sites are more easily indexed. Good designers also create a site map file they submit to Google that lets them know where to find your content. Templates don’t come with this.
Although this doesn’t have as much to do with a website’s ability to be indexed by search engines, there’s one more important reason to avoid a template for your website. It has to do with user experience and the potential to lose out on business, Barrett says.
When you have to force your information to fit into someone else’s template, you’re no longer considering the user’s experience. The user may not find your information easily, which can frustrate them and drive them back to Google to search for another – read, better – website.
“It becomes more difficult to clearly define and target what your business needs to do by backing yourself into someone else’s creation and strategy,” he says. “With a custom site, you’re starting with a white board. It can be built from the ground up to do exactly what you want it to do.”
So do yourself a favor and spend the extra money to get a customized website that addresses your needs. This added expense up front not only has the potential to save you money in the long run, but to increase business by giving visitors a reason to stick around.