The majority of website design solutions belong to one of two broad categories: custom or personalized. A custom site is created “from scratch,” in the sense that a web designer starts with a blank canvas and can build a site according to a client’s precise specifications. In comparison, a personalized site starts with a templated design, which you can then add to and adjust.
There are benefits and drawbacks associated with each option. With a custom site, you’re getting something that’s entirely unique. However, you also have to dole out a lot of dough for a web designer, and the design process can take months. With a personalized site, you can add your logo, change the color scheme, create your own navigation links, and add widgets to sidebars and other areas of your site. However, unlike a custom site, a personalized site isn’t 100 percent unique, as other real estate professionals may opt to build their sites using the same template that you use.
One of the major benefits of a personalized site – in addition to being considerably less expensive – is that you can set it up yourself in a matter of minutes, which is great if you want to get your online business up and running as soon as possible. And while altering the design of a custom site typically requires that you re-hire (and re-pay) a web designer to make the changes, with a personalized site you can make changes and/or switch to a different template all by yourself.
Popular Personalized Website Solutions
For a non-industry-specific website solution, Wix and Weebly are two of the most popular options. Both offer free plans as well as premium plans that include additional features and functionality. Shopify and Squarespace are two of the leading personalized website solutions for e-commerce sites. Both solutions let you create online stores so you can sell to consumers directly.
(Note: At Placester, we’ve taken the personalized website solution model and have applied it to real estate. Using the Placester platform, real estate professionals can get WordPress-powered websites up and running in minutes and then integrate with their MLSs.)
Personalized + Custom CSS
There’s also a hybrid option for creating a real website that allows you to reap the benefits of both custom and personalized solutions. Here’s how it works: you start with a personalized solution and use that as your website’s platform. Then, you work with a third-party designer who can customize your site using CSS (cascading style sheets), which is a computer language that defines a website’s look and formatting. With the hybrid option, you can get a more customized design than you could with a personalized solution on its own and it’s still less expensive (and faster) than having a website designed from scratch.
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