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Bespoke VS off-the-shelf websites banner

Bespoke VS off-the-shelf websites

Your website is your online shop window, so it needs to be effective if you want to reach your business goals. However, when starting to think about creating a website, there are so many options out there. One of the main questions is, should you go DIY or should you choose a bespoke built website?

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While it may seem like good business sense to pay as little as possible for such a service, by doing it yourself, ask yourself this: Would you have a go at fixing your own electrical wiring, using YouTube videos?

The answer to this question is most likely, “no.” Whilst it might not be as life or death as attempting your own wiring, if you want a website that works well for your business and provides a great ROI, then it is worth investing in and trusting the experts.
Let’s explore the reasons.

Off-the-shelf solutions

There are many off-the-shelf website builders out there, and some of them work well for start-ups and micro businesses. However, if you are looking to grow and expand your business, or looking for your website to do a particular function, then a bespoke option could be better for you. Stick with us as we explore the differences between an off-the-shelf solution and a custom-built solution.

Generic – It is no secret that if you use a website builder, your website will look like thousands of others that have used the same template. Yes, you might be able to change the colours and fonts, and add in your logo, but it will never be unique. What this might mean for you is that the competitor business down the street has a website that looks just like yours. If you want to distinguish yourself from the competition, the DIY route may not be the best idea.

UI & UX – To follow up on the above, each business has a different target audience, and the way that audience navigates websites will vary. When a website is built with your users in mind, it will maximise the number of users getting to that end goal. Cookie-cutter sites are built to look nice, but they won’t always resonate with your customers, meaning you could potentially lose out on important sales, leads, and conversions.

SEO – The SEO functionality of many off-the-shelf solutions are limited, meaning you need a developer to be able to implement certain elements, which can be costly. Site speed is another factor to think about, as some solutions require regular updates, and if they aren't updated your website users will suffer a difficult browsing experience on your website, or worse – they won’t visit it at all.

Hidden Costs – While website builders are often the first choice because of price, many of these options have ongoing monthly costs. Think of them as “in-game purchases”. The kind of in-game purchases that become more pressing and essential as time goes on, as you can’t achieve desired outcomes without them.

Ownership – With off-the-shelf and website builder type offerings, you will never own them. This means that if you want to move away from the platform your website is hosted on – you can’t. You lose your website and all the hard work, time and money you invested in it.

Bespoke websites

A bespoke or custom e-Commerce website is one curated especially for a particular business and is built around its particular goals and objectives. Everything from the design to the e-commerce features is bespoke to your business needs and target audience.

Made with Your Audience in Mind – A big reason to go bespoke is for the user journey. UI and UX relevant to your business and target audience are researched in depth before designs are even touched, to ensure that the user journey is as streamlined as it can be. Not every business has the same target audience, so why would they all have websites that look and navigate the same?

Sustainable – A bespoke website can grow as your business does. The websites we create are not a “set it and forget it” project; they are designed so that they are easy to adapt and change with your business. 

Integrations – A custom-built website is made specifically for your business, meaning it can also be built with a bespoke CMS integration. This means that you will easily be able to change content, images, or more complex things like adding new accounts and users, easily and quickly. When creating a website from scratch you can get creative with added features and functionality.

Built with SEO In Mind – The developers code the website with search engines in mind, meaning it is mobile optimised and built with the latest techniques to maximise SEO performance for your business. Having better SEO can increase your Google rankings, meaning there is potential for more website visitors, and therefore more potential customers.

Support Before & After – When you build a bespoke website with a website development agency, you don’t just get the website, you get a whole team to use for advice and support. They will recommend features to add to your website that you may have never thought of, and the developers will take care of any necessary updates or security improvements. This minimises the chance of mistakes happening and things going wrong.

Security - Web developers write the code themselves, giving the owner complete control of it. This removes the need for third-party plugins and open-source codes, both of which are favoured by hackers. A bespoke website also comes with an SSL certificate, so you have peace of mind that customers are safe when visiting or shopping on your site.  

Ownership – When you build a website with an expert agency like Hydra, you own it, it’s yours to do whatever you want with. There are no per-user, or surprise unexpected costs.


Today, your website is one of your most important marketing assets. It’s the end destination from your digital marketing activity, so it needs to be hardworking, to ensure your customers get to their end goal as quickly and as easily as possible.

Many companies come to us with big ideas of what they want their website to do. As we have a team who are experts in website design and development, as well as online system developmentcloud software development, and UI and UX - we really can turn your big ideas into reality.

Have a look at the bespoke website and CPD system we designed and developed for ProDental – the UK’s largest provider of dental education online. The new website resulted in +102.72% more sessions YoY, +109.24% more individual users YoY, as well as +64.77% more individual page views YoY.

Think Hydra would be the solution for your next project?

Think Hydra would be the solution for your next project?

Then what are you waiting for, let's start a conversation

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