Not every cook needs a semi-truck to fetch a dozen eggs from the grocery store; neither does every Rosewood client need a custom website. Just as you will run faster when your shoe fits, we believe that your marketing will be most efficient when we tailor a website to your goals. Use the right tool for the right job, right?
With our history in graphic design, custom websites have been a Rosewood specialty. However, there are times when a template platform makes better business sense. In contrast to the custom website process, which includes design mockups and custom coding, a template website project trims those steps. The remaining steps are meeting with you to plan strategy, collaborating to choose a theme, and assembling the website from pre-designed components. If the available features cover your needs, a template-based site may be perfect for you.
Following are some of their advantages:
- Price: Cutting the design mockup and custom-coding steps saves money up-front.
- Hosting: Software-as-a-service platforms manage their own code and security updates, all included in their reasonable subscription rates.
- Ease of use: Some of these tools provide slick drag & drop editorial interfaces. While they offer a limited array of functionality, what they do they often do well.
Read on to learn why a template website was the right solution for these recent projects!
Mountain Spring Nursery: Nimble Work in Progress
Builder: Gary Hurst
Platforms: Squarespace, Wordpress & WooCommerce
The new owners of Mountain Spring Nursery knew that they needed to update the dated, non-mobile-friendly site they had inherited. As wholesalers, they also dreamed of moving their purchase order quote request workflow online. However, with an accounting system change likely within a couple years, they were not ready to invest in a complicated custom website. A simple Squarespace site was the perfect temporary answer.
Mountain Spring provided the updated text and photos for their new site. Rosewood designer Gary Hurst chose a Squarespace template and got client approval. Squarespace enabled Gary to assemble a simple website without needing to write code. Cutting out the design mockup and custom coding steps saved Mountain Spring Nursery money up-front at a time when they were getting their business up and running.
Interestingly, a few months later, Mountain Spring decided they wanted a simple version of their online order quoting system in time for the 2018 season. Since the accounting platform had not yet been changed, Adrian decided to save Mountain Spring’s money by building a single-purpose application on Wordpress and WooCommerce at inventory.mountainspringnursery.com instead of rebuilding the entire site on a do-it-all platform. If you are a dealer, you can log into the dealer portal, search the entire inventory list, see current prices, assemble your order, and pay when you pick up at the nursery.
Yoder’s Vinyl Products: Jumping Off of a Subscription
Builder: Jared Nolt
Yoder’s Vinyl Products already had a website with marketing giant hibu. They were paying high monthly subscription fees without realizing a strong return on investment. Yoder’s primary goal was to get off hibu’s money-sucking subscription.
A Squarespace template-based site met their goal in a cost-effective way. Their hosting and domain registration now cost them less than $20 per month.
Merriweather: Experimenting with Selling Online
Builder: Gary Hurst
A manufacturer of poly lumber Adirondack furniture wanted to experiment with selling their products on online platforms such as Amazon and Google Shopping. Rosewood recommended that they establish a brand, then build a simple website as a home base before branching onto other selling platforms.
Since this is a new business venture, Shopify was chosen for its “opinionated” ecommerce architecture to save build time. (The more opinionated a platform, the closer the starting point is to a finished product. Opinionated is usually the opposite of flexible.) The strategy is similar to Mountain Spring Nursery strategy — experiment, test, improve, and repeat the cycle. Maybe someday they will need a complex custom solution, maybe not.
When you browse merriweatheroutdoor.com, notice how the photo updates when you choose a new color. This nifty visualizer tool was added without any custom coding. If you need some of the strongest, foldable Adirondack chairs on the market, you know where to get one!
Ron’s Tools: A Craftsman Selling to the World
Builder: Jared Nolt
Merle Miller crafts beautiful leather-working tools in his shop based in St. Ignatius, Montana. But the tools do not stay in Montana. Leather craftsman all over the world buy his masterpieces.
For a one-man operation, BigCommerce was chosen as an opinionated, easy-to-use ecommerce platform. BigCommerce is similar to Shopify, but gave us a few more features out-of-the-box, such as carrier-calculated shipping and custom product fields.
Rosewood photographer Lyndon Gehman shot new product photos. Merle hand-wrote what he wanted to communicate to his clients. And Jared put it all together into a simple, yet effective selling machine.
How About You?
What do you need? Semi-truck or car? Big shoe or little shoe? Custom website or template website? In each of these cases, one is not better than the other. They are different tools for different jobs. We would love to help you choose!