What is a custom site and CMS?

From humble personal websites to sites with cat videos to full-blown e-commerce sites, there are a large variety of websites out there.


of websites worldwide
Website and field notes

The technology behind all the websites in the world will also vary, but for the most part, they are probably using an off-the-shelf templated site or a customised version.

To explain the difference, think of buying a new house. You can choose to buy a ready-built one, or you can employ a team of architects and builders to design and build a new house to your specifications. Finding a prebuilt home that you like might take some time, but once the keys are in your hands, you can move straight in. You might need to make some adaptations and compromises, such as where to put your furniture, but you now own a house. 


3 students on laptops

If you employ professionals to design your house, you can customise it to best suit you and your lifestyle.

It will take time to get the layout how you want it and then get it built and decorated, but it’s perfectly suited to your needs once done, and you won’t need to compromise.

In terms of websites, you can choose something off-the-shelf such as WordPress and select a template from the many available. It is surprisingly quick and easy to publish a website in this way. Or, you can choose to build a customised site tailored to your business requirements and objectives. The process will take longer, but the benefits outweigh the initial investment.

Two women looking at a website

How is a customised website built?

Using an agency such as The Hideout to build your website, you will benefit from our creative expertise, technical knowledge and business acumen. We will start by gathering information to understand your objectives and plan your website before even thinking about creating the first pixel. Your business objectives and how your website will need to work are unique to you, and it is important to carefully plan the entire site before starting.

Once the objectives and plan are complete and the work is ready to start, your project will move to the design stage.

Every aspect of the design is tailored to your requirements. Everything from the colours to the typeface, symmetry and graphics must come together while staying consistent with your brand. The designers will also consider how the layout and design will achieve desired outcomes, such as strategically placing a call to action button in an area most often looked at on the screen. The designers will also consider how your content will work with your layout.

Once the designs are approved, the development team will begin creating all the functionality behind the scenes. The designs are converted into a working version of your new website at this stage. 

The development team will also need to ensure that for any custom functionality on your website, they add the ability to manage it with your CMS (Content Management System). The team builds your CMS to have all the functionality required to edit your customised website, from your homepage text to any special features. So, for example, an estate agent might want the ability to import new properties directly into their website from another agency. The developers will need to add that functionality, plus add a way for you to edit the new properties.

Once your website has been through all the testing and content population stages, you are ready to add your website to the billions in cyberspace!

Organising A Deck Of Wireframe Cards
The Hideout

The benefits of a customised website

There’s nothing stopping you from using an off-the-shelf website, but consider the benefits of a customised website before you do.

  • You will get a look and feel that is unique and specific to your brand, ensuring consistent branding. 
  • You will get a design that has been carefully considered to solve problems your audience may have, such as clear signposting to your FAQs page or strategically placed calls to action to increase audience engagement.
  • Your website will have exclusive features, such as integrating a booking calendar or an e-commerce site that works for your unique requirements.
  • A design tested to work across multiple platforms and tailored to different devices, such as a specific call to action on mobile devices.
  • A website that can be adapted to suit any future requirements.
  • You will benefit from the experience of the agency building your website to ensure your site works for your business needs.
  • An agency will have an in-depth understanding of your requirements and objectives and can offer advice and solutions.
  • A digital agency typically offers hosting and maintenance services allowing you to focus on your business, knowing your website is in good hands.
  • A digital agency can also offer ongoing support and advice to help your website achieve its goals and adapt to new ones.
  • The process will take longer than setting up a simple templated version, and it will cost more, but only if you think about it in the short term. In the longer term, having a customised website allows you to maximise the potential of your online presence.
Rathfinny bottle of wine

Case Study

When working on the new website for Rathfinny Wine Estate, we discovered high levels of traffic from mobile users. Our analysis enabled us to adopt a mobile-first approach to encourage user engagement and tailor the website to the majority of users.

We also adapted the website to include an online store when national lockdowns forced Rathfinny to close its doors. Thanks to our customised website approach, we were able to ensure the integration was seamless.

Find out more

Choosing how to build your website requires a lot of consideration, and we’re always available to chat and offer support and guidance. You can call our team on 01622 238535 or email team@thehideout.co.uk.