How to Decide if You Need a Custom Website

Brandi Bernoskie is the founder of Alchemy + Aim, a website development company specializing in helping entrepreneurs and creative businesses. She enjoys empowering people to follow their dreams, and her expertise in development and strategy allows her to provide the tools necessary to catapult any small idea into something big.


“Why would I spend money on a custom website when I can just do it myself?”It's a question I'm asked repeatedly in different settings.

Let's get two things straight. First, you may not need a custom website. I know! A website developer is actually telling you that. Custom websites are the cornerstone of my business. But I've told many of my clients precisely that in the past.

Second, until you have real clarity around your business or brand, you may not be ready for a custom website. That's why you'll see it as spending money rather than investing.

A custom website should be an investment at the right stage of your business. For some clients we've worked with, that means they need one from the beginning. Could you imagine an Italian luxury handbag maker that sells products for between $500 and $3000 to have the same sort of impact as a brand with a website built on a pre-made theme rather than a custom site that can truly showcase the quality and craftsmanship of their products, so their brand can stand apart in the market?

Not everyone needs that. Last summer, a talented recently graduated art student reached out to me to discuss a custom website for her work. More than anything, she simply needed to get started with a beautiful space that would showcase the art she was creating. She didn't need a custom website, but she did need guidance and strategy. We worked with her to understand her short-term and long-term goals to create a site for her that would last her for at least a year and a half while keeping her startup costs down.

But if you're beyond the startup phase, it may be time for you to start planning to invest in a custom website, as a custom site will have distinct advantages over sites built with pre-made themes or built on do-it-yourself platforms.

  1. A custom website allows you to create a customized and well-planned user experience. In some ways, a user's journey through a website is like a story unfolding: you provide them with information, education, and points where they can recognize their pain points or desires, all with the goal of getting them to self-select into your tribe. The right design and functionality for your business or brand allows a visitor to have a sense of the transformation they would experience by engaging with you.

  2. A custom website creates greater brand recognition and allows you to be seen as a leader in your field. One of my favorite examples of this is Marie Forleo's website. It was different than anything that was out there – and it perfectly fit her brand. Her website makes you feel like you are inside her world: it's simple to navigate and easy to use, but filled will fun, insightful moments.

  3. A custom website allows you to put better systems into place for your business. This is one of my favorite features to discuss with potential clients: how your custom site can make your life easier by automating some of the tasks and systems in your business so you have more time and space to do your genius work. That begins with a clear understanding of your business, to be able to identify the processes which could be automated via your website.

That's really just the beginning. Custom websites also allow a better SEO plan to be implemented, a more thorough conversion funnel to get people onto your list, and future flexibility and scalability for your business, which all translates long term into more recognition, trust, and profit. It's about creating an experience that serves your people and allows them to see what's possible in their life when they work with you or buy your products. 

Thank you for sharing your expertise, Brandi! 



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