Tempatle vs Custom or Software vs Website?

I read a lot about “Custom Sites” and how much better they are then a “template” site.  Usually the reasons for them being better relate to:·         SEO (Search Engine Optimization)  benefits·         Look and feel – all template sites look the same Rather then discuss the merits of these points, which are questionable at best, I think it apropos to explore what the definition of a “template” site is?  Are our sites template sites simply by the virtue of the fact that we give our agents a starting point? This argument I think would be silly. In fact, our system looks more like a development environment such as, say, front page then it does a simple fill in the blanks type template site. 

In any case check out these sites designed using our system, do they all look the same? http://www.vreas.com/   http://www.repav.com/   http://www.eliterm.com/  http://www.marysebastian.com/    http://www.prescottlandagent.com/    http://www.michaelurie.com/    http://www.cincinnatirealestatesite.com/   http://www.houseinnashville.com   http://www.homesandlandidaho.com/ 

They look quite different but I must admit that sometimes a custom site can be truly unique.  If this were all there were to the debate it could still be a good discussion.  The fact is that the outward facing sites above are like the cover a book.  It is what is inside and behind the scenes that counts. Rather then telling you myself let me use the words of a designer that uses our product to build websites for realtors.  Here are here words as posted on a Real Talk forum with respect to a site (http://www.david-winter.com/ ) she developed with our software: 

Ø       Suzanne!  Wow!  That is some amazing work!  Terrific job, both sites
> look awesome!  Kudos to you, you’re a terrific designer.  I’d love to
> know more about how you do it – how does it work?  Does Point2 allow
> you to upload or give you some kind of parameter that you ‘plug’ into
> your design?
>
I answered Cheryl off-list yesterday and just realized that I didn’t
answer some of her questions about how Point2 customization works.

Basically, some of the templates available only to Professional
subscribers allow modification of certain “custom content” areas of
each page and of certain areas of the templates themselves. The HTML
for content areas can be directly modified. For some areas of the
pages, images can be uploaded from my desktop. For other areas, I can
point to images on my server in my html image tags, then P2a’s server
“grabs” my images and ports them to P2a’s server. There is no FTP
function in the conventional sense.

Point2 also does some amazing rocket-science stuff by creating button
and other images “on the fly” to match color schemes; I’ve never asked
how they do it but my educated guess is that they use Flash Generator
on their servers.

With a lot of study, exploration, and millions of emails back and forth
between me and Jennifer Anderson, P2a’s wonderful support person, I
figured out a lot of ways to work both in and around the system to
create customized pages.

This process gave me enormous appreciation for Point2’s engineering. As
anyone who has looked at my Web site knows, I feel strongly against
most template systems after having done design work for Realtsolutions,
Intelitouch and Homeseekers.com. I’m glad that Jennifer encouraged and
supported my efforts to learn the P2 system; it is quite an engineering
marvel.

I am really excited that there’s a way for agents, brokers and builders
to have highly customized sites with Point2’s powerful back office
system at a tiny fraction of the cost of fully custom site development.
I personally know of
Silicon Valley brokerages that have spent
literally $ millions developing their own brokerage sites because of
the high cost of database backend development., So I  think Point2 is
quite a bargain. If you currently use a Point2 free site and have been
frustrated by it, you have no way to appreciate what can be done with a
Professional site, so I encourage you to try their two-week free trial.
(And I don’t have anything to gain by your using Point2 or upgrading
your account.)

Suzanne

Suzanne Hathcock Stephens
Point2 Design Partner
http://www.SuzStephens.com/p2a/ 

26 Responses to Tempatle vs Custom or Software vs Website?

  1. Brendan, just a note to let you and your readers know that I’m still getting a huge kick out of pushing the limits of Point2 site design. I learn something new every day. It’s really fun finding new ways to try to capture Web site visitors with compelling design. And the Point2 agents with whom I’ve been working are simply wonderful. I don’t think I’ve every had a more enjoyable group of clients. I’m so grateful that Jennifer suggested that I give designing for Point2 sites; I’ve sure changed my anti-cookie-cutter-site attitude now that I know agents can have custom design on top of a powerful, affordable site.

    Suzanne

  2. Brendan, I thought I emailed you private earlier but ended up posting to your Bio page by mistake! Sorry abouat that.

    Anyway, if you want to see a site that pushes the limits on the Point2 platform check out my new site at:

    http://websterkirkwood.com

    There is no way anybody could say it looks like a template site. It’s 100% customized (within Point2 parameters) but utilized the Point2 backend management system which is great.

    Let me know what you think.

    Ginger Fawcett

  3. Brendan King says:

    Thanks for the comment Ginger. You have certainly done a great job on this site. I agree that nobody would be able to tell this is a “template”!

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