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It is no doubt that websites are very effective marketing tools.  Compared to traditional forms of media – TV, radio and print, it is cost-effective and delivers measurable results when done right.

In the recent years, the advent of open source CMS (Content Management Systems) made it easier for businesses, organizations and even individuals to setup an online presence.  Furthermore, CMS that provide free ready-made templates became a 5-minute turn-key solution – it was an instant hit!  Now anyone who knows how to operate a word processor can have a decent website.  Who wouldn’t want a virtually free 24/7 viable means to tell the world what they got to offer?

Website Clones

Since publishing on the web became easy thanks to ready-made templates, a lot took this ‘easy’ route.  It wasn’t long before people realize their websites started to look a lot similar to other websites.  Worse theirs look similar to the competitor’s.
Some turned to premium ready-made templates that costs between $25-$50.  With minor tweaks here and there, they look more professional and offered additional features that free templates did not.  It lessened the risk for a website having a clone but a big risk still remained.  There’s just no exclusivity on a ready-made template.

Standing Out

In 2010, 21.4 million new websites came out and millions of new ones will keep coming out each month.  The challenge now is how to stand out.
In order to stand out, businesses have heavily relied on “Branding Strategies.”  Branding is about getting prospects to see you as the only provider of solution to their problem.  A big aspect of branding is the design of a marketing campaign.  All designs – layout, color schemes, and overall look and feel must be consistent and should compliment the message a company, product or organization wants to convey.  This is a huge requirement that ready-made website templates fail to deliver.

Custom Design

Just in about anything, custom built as oppose to mass-produce comes with a premium.  But this premium often provides quality, uniqueness, and solutions that are tailor-fitted to your needs.  In the same manner, websites that are custom designed according to its unique purpose are the most effective websites.  The major brands understand this fact and they go to great extents making sure that their website’s design exactly fits their goals.
Because websites are an interactive media, custom design is not just having a unique look.  The design should be user-centric – a balance of making it easy for a user to interact with while effectively conveying its message to the user.  Since target markets are not the same, user demographics won’t be the same either.  The user interface of a health website for senior citizens will be a lot different than that of a gaming website for 15 year olds.  The website’s custom design should always take into account who will use the website and how they will use it.