3 Popular Types of Website Customizations
When Basic Technology Can't, Custom Solutions Can
Sometimes answering questions and providing information isn’t all your need from your website – you want to give your users something to do.
Perhaps you want them to make reservations, manage information, or interact with each other in an online community. Maybe you want to build an online application and sell user licenses or memberships. Maybe you just want a custom feature to wow your website visitors.
Wherever your online business needs exceed the bounds of existing technology, custom solutions can bridge the gap.
The most important thing to remember when considering whether or not to go custom is that custom doesn’t have to mean expensive. There are plenty of affordable ways to make your site stand out. Here are three of our favorite website customizations.
1. Custom Design
Ever get the feeling that the internet is starting to feel a little too “me too”? That could be because so many sites these days are built using stock themes on widely-used platforms. Take a quick gander at WordPress.org’s current Themes gallery and you’ll likely recognize the layouts from the sites you visit every day.
While it’s important to design based on common user behavior and modern expectations of what a website should be, that doesn’t negate the value of standing out. Think back to the first time you landed on a site with a video background, or single-page infinite scrolling. That was a pretty cool time, right? It got your attention. It changed the way you perceived the business. It made you look a little closer. It was MEMORABLE.
That is the primary job of a website designer — to make the site memorable.
When Blayzer designers start working on a new site, one of the first things we do is look at competitors and related sites to get a feel for our client’s world. Then we recommend a design direction. Sometimes that means taking a stock theme and making it unique with branding and graphics. It could mean customizing a non-stock theme created by a reputable theme design shop. And once in a while, it means creating our own new theme from scratch. Whatever we recommend, we always make sure it fits within our client’s timeline and project budget.
2. Custom Plugins & Modules
Once of the biggest benefits of creating a site using an open-source platform like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Open Cart, or Magento is the vast amount of features and plug-ins you can choose. There are vast user communities online where experienced developers have already created solutions, or you can create something totally new yourself and contribute it to the community. Plug-ins range from back-end administration tools to customer-facing content widgets and integrations.
At Blayzer we use plug-ins to elevate our clients’ websites beyond simple brochure-ware information repositories. Custom photo galleries, homepage sliders, client portfolios, social feeds, dealer locators, and more all work well to enrich the user experience. It goes beyond simple cosmetic wow-factor, too. We see on the back side how much these simple customizations boost user engagement metrics such as page views, time on site, and conversions.
3. Custom Web Applications
When unique designs or innovative plug-ins just aren’t quite enough to create the custom experience your users are looking for, a custom web application might be the solution. This approach takes a bit more time and budget than a simple customization, but the results are high-impact. Instead of a standard site with a few wow-worthy moments, you get a completely unique solution that allows your users to accomplish a task they can’t do anywhere else.
If you’re in a highly competitive web market or really looking for user engagement, a custom web application could be the differentiator you need to pull ahead of the pack.