Standard CMS vs. Custom Developed Website: What’s best For You?

Vitec GmbH
By Marc Roset    |     06 Apr 2021   |    Development    |    Views 189
Vitec GmbH | Vitec GmbH | Standard CMS vs. Custom Developed Website: What’s best For You?

Content management systems (CMSs) have revolutionized website development for everyone, from bloggers to businesses. Fast, easy to use, and feature-rich CMS platforms like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal, allow anyone to create and launch a simple website in a matter of minutes.

You can even use CMS tools to create complex, inviting, and engaging websites with stunning designs in a matter of days. CMS websites are easier, cheaper, and faster to build. They let you create new pages, populate them with content, and edit them with ease. Naturally, the bulk of the websites on the internet are powered by CMS platforms. 

If you go by market share alone, CMS websites seem to dominate over the custom-made websites. So, you would be inclined to believe that CMS websites are winning.

The reality, however, could not be further from the truth!

Custom-made websites come with a variety of technological benefits that make them superior to CMS websites in every way. However, their biggest strength is not technical but psychological. While CMS websites use standard themes to create websites that look generic and copycats of other websites, custom-made websites are unique. They set you apart from the competition.

A custom-made website is a brand asset. It’s one of a kind, and embodies your brand values.

So, what’s best for you?

To answer the question, let’s consider what each of them has to offer you.

 
What is CMS?

A content management system (CMS) is a pre-coded and pre-configured platform that uses themes and built-in functionalities to create and run a website. Whatever you need for your website – page design, features, navigation, or something else – it’s all available within the CMS and its themes. 

If you need additional features, the CMS platforms come bundled with their ecosystem of plugins. These plugins help you configure your website with whatever features, functionalities, or design elements you want on your website. 

CMS makes it possible for you to create, launch, and edit your website as you like without learning any programming language. That said, most CMS platforms grant you code-level access, should you feel the need to make changes at the code level.

 

What is a Custom-developed Website?

A custom-made website is designed and developed from scratch by professionals using a variety of tools and programming languages. There’s extensive coding involved, and website owners get the highest degree of control over their website – its usability, performance, and features. Custom websites are often the only option for businesses when they have a complex vision for their website.

One more reason why companies often go with custom websites is that they are stable, secure, and radically more optimized for performance than CMS websites.

How Do CMS Websites and Custom Websites Differ?

CMS websites and custom websites differ in many ways. For many businesses, these differences can be minor. For some businesses, however, they can be a gamechanger. Here are some prominent ways in which CMS websites and custom websites differ:

  • Functionalities

CMS websites come with all the basic functionalities you need. For additional features, you can install third-party plugins. CMS platforms nurture their own ecosystems, which are replete with third-party plugins for almost every functionality you need. However, most of them are poorly maintained and often not compatible with each other. They may even break your website.

So, when you need too many additional features or require advanced features, it’s best to go with custom-made websites.

  • Workflows

CMS platforms come with build-in workflows, which make them easy to maintain. If you need predesigned workflows that are easy to use, then CMS platforms are great. Custom-made websites, on the other hand, allow you to develop your own workflows. It can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, but the workflows are uniquely tailored to your business needs.

  • Time

A CMS website can take anywhere between a few hours to a few days to be launch-ready. On the other hand, custom-developed websites usually require several weeks, if not months, to create. If time-to-market is a priority, CMS websites are an easy solution.

  • Cost

Anyone can launch a basic CMS website after a few hours of research on the internet. Of course, a beautiful-looking CMS website needs more time and expertise so that a web developer would be best-suited for the job. Even then, there’s minimal coding, if any, and the website will be launch-ready in a matter of days. So, the costs are extremely low. 

A custom-developed website, on the other hand, will involve several experts – UX designers, UI designers, front-end developers, back-end developers, project managers, and so on. There’s extensive testing and continued support involved. Therefore, you will likely need a dedicated web development company. All of these factors make the custom development of websites expensive.

  • UI/UX

Every CMS website is limited by the design elements that are baked into the third-party theme it’s using. There’s very little room for customization, and any attempt to introduce significant customizations can break the website.

A custom-made website gives you complete control on the look and feel of your website. You can customize every aspect, every inch of it. When it comes to customization, there’s simply no workaround to custom development.

 

When Should You Go With a CMS Website?

A CMS allows you to create modular websites that don’t require a high degree of customization fairly quickly. It also makes it easy to edit and maintain the website. These characteristics make CMS websites the best choice in various contexts. Here’s a quick overview of them:

  • Content Publishing

If you are a content publisher – blog, news site, podcast, and so on – then you will likely be publishing new content routinely. A CMS website allows your content creator to publish the content on the website without involving a web developer or the IT team. It keeps things simple. For this reason, CMSs are preferred for even reasonably large eCommerce websites, so that product/category managers can create and edit product pages effortlessly. 

In fact, several businesses use a CMS in the background even when they custom-design their website’s front end. 

  • Static Websites

If the primary purpose of your website is to provide relevant information to your visitors and this information doesn’t change often, then a CMS website is an affordable way to do it. Typically, when cost-effectiveness is more important than branding, which is the case in startups and small businesses, a static CMS-powered website is a good idea.

  • Advanced SEO, Analytics, and Other Tools

Every CMS comes with its ecosystem of plugins that offer enhanced features like analytics, SEO, and so on. These plugins are easy to install and use, reducing content managers’ need to rely on web developers. 

There are many other use cases where CMS platforms offer a clear advantage over custom-designed websites.

 

When Should You Go With a Custom-made Website?

Typically, a custom-developed website costs substantially more than a CMS website. However, in many cases, a custom-developed website offers a higher potential ROI on the investment. Here’s how:

  • Unique Look

A unique website represents the unique identity of your business. A well-designed custom-made website reflects your brand values and tells your brand story. These websites also allow every website element to match your offline branding elements and engage your audiences with consistent messaging across platforms.

A custom-made website helps your visitors recognize your brand by its various design elements, not just the logo, wherever they see it. Naturally, when branding is a high priority, a custom-developed website is the only choice. 

  • Tailored Audience Journeys

The planning process for custom website development is extensive. It dives deeper into audience needs, behaviors, and desires to create an intuitive website that offers them fluid user experiences.

A custom-made website is tailored to attract, excite, engage, and convert your audiences by taking them through a highly optimized purchase journey. You have complete control over how your users interact with your website.

For this reason, eCommerce websites go for custom-made websites.

  • Superior SEO Performance

SEO is baked into custom-made websites. By involving an SEO expert early on in the website development process, bespoke websites can be designed to be SEO-ready. On-page SEO elements like content can be customized for SEO.

  • Advanced Features

When you plan to offer your audiences or back-end users (employees) an enhanced user experience or advanced features, a custom-developed website could be the right fit.

For instance, CMS websites and their themes are not known for their clean code. Bloated code, incompatible plugins, and conflicts between extensions are common issues. Custom-made websites come with clean code, which improves website performance.

Secondly, the clean code of custom-developed websites makes them fast. Your visitors leave your website permanently if it doesn’t load quickly. Without any bloated code, a custom-made website is lightweight and loads fast, even on slow internet connections.

As a general practice, when branding and user experience take priority over budget and time-to-market, custom-made websites are the right fit.

 

So, CMS or Custom Developed website?

Vitec GmbH are experts in creating high-quality, affordable websites for businesses of all sizes. Whether it’s a standard CMS website, or a custom-developed website you are looking for, we can help you develop a sharp website strategy and create a website that realizes your business goals cost-effectively. For more information and to discuss your website needs, get in touch.

Author

Author
Marc Roset

Marc Roset is an expert in digital concept strategies, a passionate blog writer and CEO at Vitec GmbH. He brings his experience and knowledge of the last decade in software development and outsourcing strategies to creative blogs, e-books and more.

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