Choosing the Right Website Solution
Are you looking for a website solution to take your business to the next level but are unsure where to even start among all the different content management systems, frontends, and backends?
It’s important to find a solution that meets the needs of your business and provides the best return for your budget, but it can be overwhelming choosing between the myriad options available. There are many possible approaches, so let’s look at some of them.
We’ll break down some of the common solutions into 4 different categories:
- Turnkey Solution – Quick to deploy and can be very cost effective.
- Custom Themes – Not as quick as a turnkey solution, but more customizable to match your brand and still cost-effective.
- Enterprise Themes – Complete customization to match brand and additional integrations with third parties.
- Statically Generated Site – Complete customization and greater control over how the site is displayed.
Turnkey solutions are a popular choice for businesses that need a professional website quickly. These solutions allow you to choose a premade theme and make small modifications to match your brand’s style and feel. You can customize the color scheme, swap out images and logos, and customize all the written content to get a site live in no time. They usually include a limited number of page templates to deploy similar-looking pages with different content quickly.
Pros of turnkey solutions:
- Easy and convenient – Easy to swap out text content and images without technical knowledge.
- Quick Setup – Once a theme is chosen it can be customized and deployed to a live environment in as little time as it takes to edit the content.
- Support – Premade themes are well supported and well tested since they’re active on many live sites.
Cons of turnkey solutions:
- Limited customization – They may have a limited number of layouts, making the site look less unique.
- Limited integrations – Integrating with third-party services may not be possible or may be more difficult.
Customized themes offer a higher level of customization and flexibility over a turnkey solution. An extensible base theme is selected and then modified to match the goals and branding of the website. This makes them great for businesses that want a truly unique website to reflect their brand and values.
Pros of custom themes:
- More control – With a custom theme you have more control over the design’s layout and functionality. You can create a website that meets your specific needs without being limited by premade templates.
- Unique design – Custom themes allow you to create a website that stands out from your competitors. You can design a site that more perfectly represents your brand.
- Competitive advantage – A custom theme can help differentiate your site from others in your market. The design and user experience can be adjusted specifically for your target market.
Cons of custom themes:
- Extended development time – Custom themes take more time to develop than using a turnkey solution.
- Limited by base theme capabilities – If a base theme doesn’t support a design layout or needed function, it must be custom developed.
- Limited performance optimizations – The base theme may include more code than necessary for each individual site since it tries to accommodate many different site styles.
An Enterprise theme is a theme built completely from a blank slate. It offers complete control of the layout and functionality of a website. The theme can be built to follow the design of your brand and meet all the marketing needs of the business. This is great for businesses that want a unique site with custom functionality and integrations with other third-party services. They can also provide greater speed optimizations and security since all the code is written specifically for that theme. They have no unnecessary code or unused features that could affect site performance.
Pros of enterprise themes:
- High level of customization – Enterprise themes are built from the ground up to meet the specific needs of a large organization, including custom layouts, design elements and advanced functionality.
- Allows complex integrations – An enterprise theme can be customized at the lowest level to enable custom integrations to interact with third-party services, such as a custom CRM (Customer Relationship Management) or e-commerce service.
Cons of enterprise themes:
- Longer development time – An enterprise theme takes more planning up front and more development time in return for the higher level of customization. It’s important to discover all the requirements up front to create an architecture that will last.
- Higher cost – More development time and planning will initially cost more at the beginning of the project but can save costs overall once the site is launched and done.
Statically Generated Website
A statically generated site is a site that has pre-generated pages based on content from a headless CMS or other content repository. This comes with greater flexibility in customization and better load speed as the server hosting the site only needs to send along the static pages. A site running on a traditional CMS will often run many database queries, calls to external servers, and other backend logic to generate a page when a user visits the site. All this extra processing takes time and can affect the page load speed which in turn affects the overall user experience.
Pros of statically generated websites:
- Complete level of customization – Every piece of code and markup can be completely customized to represent the brand in a unique way.
- Better performance – The high level of customization allows developers to fine-tune and improve the site speed more easily than other solutions.
- Better SEO – Developers can tweak and adjust all the markup without having to work around a pre-existing theme or CMS limitations.
- Complete separation from content – Since the content is not intermingled with code, other sites, microsites, and campaign pages can be developed outside the site. Complete rebrands can be developed without changing the data or content source.
Cons of statically generated websites:
- Longer development time – Like enterprise themes, a statically generated site requires more time for planning and development. It’s important to build an architecture that works well with your content repository or headless CMS.
Choosing the right solution
There are many factors to consider when choosing the right website solution. It can be overwhelming with the number of solutions and types. At MBB we like to do a full discovery process to determine the best solution to reach your goals. A few questions you might consider:
- How quickly do you need a new site up and running?
- Do you need to stand out in a highly competitive market?
- Do you need any custom third-party integrations on your site?
- Is there an existing solution that may cover many of the goals you have for the site?
Choosing the right solution requires asking the right questions, and a thorough discovery process can help do that.
If you’re looking for a new website or need help with your existing site, drop us a line. We’d love to help.
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