Whether it’s Wix, Squarespace or using WordPress templates you can get some pretty attractive deals, most website builders cost around £15 per month or £120 for a year.
With each, you get ready-to-use templates, a drag-and-drop editor, and hosting and the promise of a “beautiful” website that you can build for yourself within minutes. WordPress templates, on the other hand, come at a flat fee with annual support plans.
Both these options — website builders and niche themes — offer a nice way to get started with some digital presence for your practice. However, they don’t stay so rewarding in the long-term.
Balancing aesthetics, usability, and conversion-friendliness is challenging
Website visitors form an impression about the business they’re checking out mainly (about 94%) based on how the website looks and feels and they do so quickly (in 50 milliseconds!). This is human nature we do this in everyday life whether it’s a date or a new personal interaction!
Your website’s visitors will decide if they find you trustworthy enough to book an appointment in the blink of an eye. Can you be sure that a template that’s NOT DESIGNED EXCLUSIVELY FOR YOU will win these precious first milliseconds (and a great first impression) for you?
Also, it’s not just about aesthetics. It’s about usability too. With templates, you’re “forced” to follow the visual hierarchy that the template brings. Here, you need to take your messaging and funnel and try to fit everything into the layout of the template.
A custom website, on the other hand, prioritizes your users’ needs and translates your content, copy, and funnel into a beautiful, branded, and user-friendly website experience.
Then there’s conversion-friendliness to consider, too.
If you look at conversion optimization experiments that websites do to get more queries, bookings, or sales, you’ll see that the majority of them are about design optimizations. That’s because poor design leaks conversions like nothing else. And templates are rarely if ever optimized for conversions.
Unless you use custom design, you’ll be forced to either stick to poorly-performing landing page layouts your theme comes with or buy expensive landing page solutions for hosting your landing pages (away from your website).
And that’s not all…
There are many “real” problems too
Most templates from website builder solutions and independent sellers aren’t built for performance. Just take the template you’re considering and run its demo through a page speed test tool like GMetrix or Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool, and you’ll find glaring issues. Put your own site through and see where you stand. At the time of writing, our website on Gmetrix looks like this:
Take, for instance, the performance of this ready-to-install WordPress therapy template (from one of the highest-selling theme makers):
The results show that this template is:
- Too slow (Website visitors expect a page to load within two seconds!)
- Too “heavy” (The standard for speed is a page weight of 1MB or less!)
- And has too many performance problems.
There are many ways you could make the problems worse — by installing it on shared WordPress hosting, for example.
Another factor is mobile-friendliness. The template from the above example — despite being mobile-friendly, i.e., fitting well into smaller screens — scores a measly 10 on Google’s mobile performance test.
But it’s not just about performance.
A physiotherapy website that loads fast and fits seamlessly into a mobile can also be a usability mess. Just set a timer of 30 seconds and try using your own website on your mobile and book a session — and you’ll see what we mean… (Oh, and you should care because 50% + of a website’s traffic is mobile and we’re being very generous with the 30 seconds! Your mobile users will quit much sooner.)
Then there are also issues with SEO because many website builders aren’t optimized for search engines. And so if you run your website on them, you’ll rarely — if at all — appear in the search results when people in your target areas search for your services.
Keep in mind that a website for an Osteopath, Chiropractor, Physiotherapist or therapist, in general, is not just “digital presence.”
Instead, it’s more like a full-blown business channel…. that needs to work to generate and convert bookings.
If you’re feeling boxed in your website’s current template or want to explore what a beautiful custom design can realize for your practice, get in touch. We can help as we have helped hundreds of other clinics!