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How To Convince Clients To Invest in a Custom Website

Eric Karkovack
Published: February 10, 2023

The web design marketplace is flooded with choices. And it’s especially tough for those of us in the mid-to-high pricing tiers. We’re competing with both discount designers and DIY services that promise the moon (all for one low monthly price).

Thus, convincing a client to invest in a custom website can be difficult. They may see the low-cost options as being just as good. Or they simply may not understand the difference.

It’s up to us to educate prospective clients about what we have to offer. We must demonstrate the advantages of a custom website and its long-term value. Here are some tips for making your case.

Explain the Differences

If you offer custom design and development, it’s getting more difficult to compete based on price. Popular services like Wix and Squarespace offer business owners an easy and cheap way to build a website.

As such, designers will lose out when the decision is based on initial cost. But prospective clients don’t always look at the fine print. It’s often the details that show the true value of a service.

Let’s look at a few key factors worth pointing out:

Limited Functionality vs. Custom Functionality

DIY services may offer functionality that a site owner is looking for…or not. They’re good at including features that users have come to expect. But they don’t offer everything. If what they have on hand doesn’t match your needs, you’re out of luck.

A custom website doesn’t necessarily run into these issues. If, for example, a WordPress plugin doesn’t exist for a desired feature, it’s possible to build one. You’ll pay more, but you’re also getting exactly what you want.

Nowhere is this more evident than in eCommerce. It seems that no matter how “simple” an online shop is supposed to be, there are always quirks. This often requires writing code or adding a niche plugin. That’s what puts the “custom” in a custom website.

Readymade vs. Original Design

Design should be an area where web professionals have the upper hand. A custom website is built around your business and the message you want to convey.

This differs from squeezing your logo into a readymade theme. The ability to have something unique that matches your specifications is also important.

There will always be those who are willing to sacrifice a unique look in exchange for a lower price. In that case, there are other worthy arguments to make.

Locked In vs. Freedom to Move

When buying into a DIY service, you’re usually working within the confines of a walled garden. You can’t take your website with you since the platform is proprietary. Closed systems do have some advantages, but they’re also a one-way street.

A custom site using an open-source CMS won’t lock you in. You’re free to host it just about anywhere. And there are usually tools available to help you switch to a different platform.

A custom website can help an organization stand out from competitors.

Web Designers Offer Experience and Expertise

A great website requires several ingredients. There needs to be a strategy behind its look, functionality, and content. Without such goals, it’s easy for a website to become inconsistent and aimless.

This is especially the case for small businesses. They may not have a team of experts on hand. It’s also an area where an experienced web designer can be an asset.

There is great value for clients in hiring someone who knows what they’re doing. A designer can pick up on those little details that would otherwise be missed.

An organization’s website is too important to be trusted by anyone less than an expert.

An experienced designer can spot details that improve a website.

Building Successful Long-Term Relationships

Web designers often build long-term relationships with clients. And we are there to provide expertise, support, and advice. Those things can’t be easily replicated or replaced.

It’s an important distinction and a key selling point. The ability to easily communicate with a designer is vital. It’s also an advantage over large conglomerates. It sure beats waiting on hold for a support representative (who may or may not be able to answer your question).

Plus, the personal relationships we develop with clients mean that we are invested in their success. They’re not just another number. They’re a person who can rely on you to provide great service.

A dependable partner is worth their weight in gold. It’s one less thing for a business owner to worry about.

It pays to work with a professional who is invested in your success.

An Investment in Growth

When speaking with a potential client, note that building a custom website is a long-term investment. It’s something that can evolve and grow along with their business. While budget is an understandable constraint, you get what you pay for.

Many of the low-cost site builders provide a respectable product and have a legitimate place in the market. But in general, they’re for those with either extremely low budgets or a real DIY spirit.

Frankly, most organizations don’t have the time to put things together themselves. Nor do they have the design or marketing expertise to create something impactful. Depending on the tool they use, some end up frustrated by the process and decide to hire a professional.

Business owners tasked with doing it all themselves on a limited platform may be wasting time. It also takes them away from their true strength – running their business. That can stall growth and negate any initial cost savings. That’s kind of a big deal.

Custom websites can evolve along with an organization.

Custom Websites Are Usually the Best Option

Indeed, freelancers and small agencies aren’t the only game in town when it comes to web design. But we still provide a level of service and expertise that isn’t easily matched.

Those who need a website are hearing mixed messages about which path to choose. Some site builder tools can afford huge ad campaigns to tout their services. The rest of us must rely on the quality of our portfolios and communication skills.

Thankfully, that more personal approach provides us with the opportunity to show our true value.

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