We receive a number of enquiries every week where customers have been sold an off-the-shelf package by a website design company and have either run in to issues when the off-the-shelf package is updated (to support the latest releases of code) or the program is not flexible enough to support what their business/website requires down the line. This is a major issue.
In many cases, they have to have the website redeveloped from the very beginning, which incurs greater costs and can be very frustrating for the customer. Whilst having an off-the-shelf package (in some cases) can seem a good and cheaper option, many do run into issues a few months in.
All of our websites are hand-coded, we do not use any off-the-shelf packages for the front end or for our
Content Management Systems, so you can be sure it has been written correctly, and when it needs to be updated, it is written in plain code (with no messy plug-in modules generating masses of wasted code etc) so can be done so easily. You can also be sure that because it is hand-written, there is not masses of code for Google to trawl through before finding your actual content, so in most cases, a Hand-Coded Website can perform better than one from an off-the-shelf package that is built to suit the masses.
Off-The-Shelf: The Problems and Risks
There are many types of off-the-shelf packages out there, many available to download for free, and plug in to any website which to many sounds great - but the truth is,
- Many of these can be very complicated to use when trying to create even a simple a website
- The code they render behind the scenes can be very messy and unnecessary (which means poor Google has to trawl through the unnecessary code to get to your actual content)
- They can be low in security (as anyone can download them, pick through the code to find security loopholes)
- They can also be very limiting, meaning you can only have the features the package offers (as when your site is 6 months old, and you want to add additional features, you can't)
- You can bet your Aunties Uncle there'll be a site just like yours (no unique selling points here!)
- Updating the System can be risky and complicated
- Some do need a level of technical knowledge
- Some Website Design Companies see you an Off-The-Shelf package without you knowing.
- Migrating your Data (so you have a backup) or if you wish to use another platform in future can sometimes be impossible
- Theres no one to turn to if it breaks (and trust us, this does happen!)
When is Off-The-Shelf OK
The only single reason a person should choose an Off-The-Shelf package is if they have no budget at all, and even then we would suggest waiting until you have some funds available, spend the time raising funds and doing your research - as using an off-the-shelf package will only take valuable time that will only be wasted. We have many requests for people wanting elements adding to their website, but because they originally opted for an Off-The-Shelf Website Design Package (through choice or not) they then have to pay to have the website constructed all over again from scratch, and also every single caller states they wish they had Contacted Us first. The only other reason Off-The-Shelf should be considered is if the website is for a hobby or a personal website - so it would not matter if anyone ever visited the website at all.