Andrea Ranieri Palma
Online touchpoints’ design and development efforts mark a crucial moment of paramount importance for a company's overall growth. It enhances exposure and increases chances for revenue growth across multiple sale channels.
As every decision to be made, it entails an analysis phase during which decision-makers and stakeholders evaluate all options available in order to minimize risk of failure and maximize positive impact on business status quo.
For a brand, designing and developing an online touchpoint entails money and time investments, either small or big based on desired outcome, therefore a measurable return on such investment is expected from those partaking in it. From a project management perspective, there are three main factors influencing a project’s outcome: Time, Money and Scope.
By applying this framework, many companies choose to design and develop online touchpoints by maximizing the use of their “in-house” resources in order to contain costs and maximize return.
Much often, this practice translates into adopting “do-it-yourself” approaches which leverage the wide array of CMS platforms available online (such as WordPress, SquareSpace, Wiz etc.) to optimize time and money investments.
The most widely used among those options is WordPress, which allows users to put online simple designs with basic functionalities without any coding, thus saving money otherwise allocated for development costs.
Nevertheless, in the long run, keeping a CMS-based website online will cost much more than a fully customized alternative.
Thus, it will turn a short-term money saving into a much more expensive investment in the long run.
Here we will explain what are the main advantages and disadvantages of designing and developing a fully customized websites, as opposed to “do-it-yourself” options built upon online-based CMS systems such as WordPress:
Companies can deeply customize graphic User Interface and User Experience, in order to make their website coherent with their brand image and values and at the same time by enhancing distinctive traits which make a brand stand-out in its reference market. Coherence and consistency of brand graphic elements are very important in order to make a brand stand-out over its competitors.
A fully customized website or application makes it easier to plan, collect and analyze data from customers. Nowadays data is a crucial asset to be leveraged by any company to accelerate growth and make it sustainable over time while continuously innovating.
A fully customized website it’s easier to index on search engines thus increasing companies organic reach and growth over time.
Technologies used to build a customized website make it easier and cheaper to maintain over time while freeing companies' budgets to be invested in value-added projects.
Design and development services often entail a bigger short-term investment, requiring more budget to be allocated on the project initial stages.
Maintaining a customized website requires expertise and knowledge usually obtained by hiring an external development team.
It is possible to achieve a satisfying result in a short time-frame, saving on budget allocation for projects’ initial stages.
Many bugs and disfunctions can be fixed leveraging documentation available online.
Implementing basic functionalities is intuitive and does not require any expertise or specialized knowledge.
Websites built on online CMS makes design and development efforts much lighter, freeing up time and budget for copywriting and other activities.
Implementing any design or feature customization requires expert CMS knowledge, which often translates into hiring an external developer, thus nullifying many advantages mentioned above.
Indexing and search engine optimization practices are much harder to implement and, on average, yield poorer performances on search results pages.
Even though online CMS have some security features integrated, most of the plug-ins used to implement features and functionalities are open-source which make them an easy target for cyber-attacks by spam bots and hackers.
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