Why should you choose a custom website versus a $60 or $80 template that you can set up yourself?
Like many things, the answer really depends on several factors.
Mostly it depends on where you are at in your company and what you are trying to accomplish from a marketing perspective.
If you don’t have any online presence at all, or very little or poor quality, you aren’t generating revenue yet and you don’t have a very large budget (think hundreds of dollars). Buying a template site for cheap is probably going to be your best option. There’s little to no cost to get it up and running and you can improve or create a website almost instantly.
If you are generating income, or need to invest more in your company in order to start generating income, you would be much better served going to a professional company and getting them to build you a site. It will cost more, but in the long run you will get a much better value.
When you contract a professional company to do your website, you should really think of it as hiring a marketing expert, not just a website builder. If they do their jobs correctly they will consult with you and find out what your company actually does. They will ask questions like “What is your target audience?” “What makes your company stand out?” “How do you plan to drive people to the site?” and many more.
They will get a good idea of who you are, who you are trying to reach with your website and what you want to tell those people. If they are a great company, they will also help you figure out ways to tie in any other marketing actions to your site so they all align and boost the effectiveness of it. They then walk you through the process of getting your site built and live.
Basically you are not just paying for a website, but a marketing consultation as well as help on designing and implementing a site to take your marketing to the next level.
If you were buying a used car and you only had $500 to spend, you are probably going to to be buying from a private seller (or the junkyard). You’ll get a car and it will be better than nothing, but you definitely get what you pay for. If you had any money to spend on the car and you needed the car to be reliable and hassle-free, you’re probably going to be going to a certified used or new car dealer. It just makes more sense based on your needs.
So, the moral of the story is, if you don’t have a budget at all, a $60 or $80 template may very well be your best option. For everyone else though, you should be contacting a professional company to get the most value for your marketing budget (and friendly service too!).