The Applecado blog

Bespoke vs. ‘Off the Shelf’ Websites



Bespoke or ‘off the shelf’? Website builders like WordPress have their benefits, but have you considered what a bespoke website could do for you?

So you’ve been tasked with the ‘new website project’, you’ve got to meet your company’s needs and wants, deliver within budget, decipher jargon and sort the cowboys from the good guys… where do you start? Bespoke or ‘Off the shelf’?

‘Off the Shelf’

You might be tempted by ‘off the shelf’ solutions such as WordPress, Blogger or Blogspot. They can be fantastic systems and really have their place for those who have a small, or even no, budget. You can use these packages to create your own website, or a small agency or freelancer would be able to put one together for you.

These websites are templated, meaning anyone can make something presentable with no training or experience. You can produce a simple site with a homepage, gallery, blog and contact page, using plug-ins where needed to add additional functionality.

While these websites can be fantastic, they do have limitations and risks:

  • Limited functionality customisation if you want something a little different to the standard templates or plug-ins
  • Plug-ins have little support if they don’t work now or in the future
  • Potential for increased costs in the building phase when using plug-ins
  • Additional time needed to customise plug-ins during the building phase
  • Risk that a new website will be needed as your business grows as the template and functionality may no longer be suitable
  • Plug-ins may not exist for what you need so you’ll have to conform to already existing processes, or compromise with your requirements.
  • Higher security risk, it has been suggested that 170,000 WordPress sites were hacked in 2012.


Now… the optimum in web development - bespoke, tailor made, fit for purpose.

“That’ll be too expensive!” you cry. While we all have budgets to stick to, bespoke website builds are often not as expensive as you’d expect. Any development cost should be offset by the improvements it brings, whether that’s making your team more efficient, getting more enquiries or making more sales.

A good web developer will work with your budget, they can highlight features that aren’t critical and offer solutions that still give you the functionality you need. They can do a ‘phased launch’ meaning you can launch with the functionality you need and within budget, coming back to the less important features at a later date.

A bespoke web application can streamline business processes saving staff time and effort. It can help meet legislation and decrease paper trails. If we’re considering eCommerce; no shop or range or product is identical, your workflow won’t be either - so why should your website be out of the box?

A huge, often underestimated, benefit is that bespoke websites can integrate with existing platforms, accounting systems, supply chains, CRMs or any other applications you already use. A bespoke website should be built with longevity in mind, you should be able to be add to it in the future, and integrate additional platforms and packages as needed.

Despite what some might think, a well-built, compliance standard bespoke site can be moved to, or supported by, another agency or developer, so you’re not ‘stuck’ with the agency that built it in the first place.

Bespoke sites are often more secure than ‘off the shelf’ websites as they use a high standard framework like Symfony meaning things must be done the right way, or they simply won’t work.

The benefits of bespoke websites are endless but to name a few:

  • Build costs will be offset by improvements
  • Customisable workflow
  • Streamline business processes saving time and effort
  • Meet legislations and decrease paper trails
  • Integrate with existing platforms
  • Scalable and future proof
  • Can be supported by another web developer
  • More secure than ‘off the shelf’ websites


Your website is an investment, it is your shop window and first impressions count. It often isn’t ‘one-size-fits-all’.

Get in touch with us now to discuss your requirements and how we can support your new website project!