Is there still a place for custom web development?

With the evolution of many DIY website builders and off the shelf software and SAAS solutions, one has to ask if there is still a place for custom web development.

Why Custom web development still matters

We’ve all seen the adverts for tools like WIX, Squarespace and WordPress, which promise you the ability to build, manage and publish your website. These do serve a certain purpose and are perfect for companies looking for a simpler entry-level solution to their business. There is a definite place for these types of tools.

There are also SAAS (Software As A Service) platforms which also serve many industries and also appeal to certain types of companies. All the above-mentioned solutions do also evolve and release new updates and improvements on an ongoing basis, making them better and better. But, because they are serving so huge volumes of customers their solutions are quite stock standard and any bespoke requirements and changes are likely not possible.

However not all companies are the same and many want to stand out from their competition, by innovating and providing their users with unique experiences, distinct features and custom online solutions.

This is typically where custom web development comes into play, however, make no mistake we don’t want to “reinvent the wheel”.

Most companies vary and have different complexities, processes, teams and business requirements. This is particularly relevant to startups as they are creating something completely new, which addresses a distinct target market and (hopefully) solves a real problem that has never been done before.

Off the shelf products simply don’t meet their requirements and they need a custom solution to be scoped, designed and developed.

Factors To Consider when building a site that is custom-built or out of the box solution

  1. This typically takes into account various factors, such as:
  2. Which user types are going to be using this platform?
  3. What are the user journeys and what will the interface look like?
  4. What bespoke functionality is required?
  5. Do we need to integrate with other third-party systems?
  6. What automated features need to be built? For example notifications, triggers, etc.?
  7. What reporting and insightful dashboard requirements are there?
  8. What are the future functional requirements?

Knowing the above allows a web development company to effectively understand the client’s unique requirements and turn that vision into a world-class end product. [The process to transform an idea is covered in this article. Many companies are adopting this approach as part of their overall digital transformation strategy to ensure that they stand out from the competition and use technology to become more efficient and gain a competitive edge.

Even after the launch of the platform, the business will evolve and scale, and in doing so, the platform needs to be flexible enough to handle new custom features and functionality. As the use of platforms increases the system needs to scale and be able to handle more and more volume.

With a cookie-cutter type solution, you are most likely going to be limited down the line in terms of what can be customised and how scalable the solution is.

Clean code, It can save you in the long run

By building custom websites, web apps and eCommerce sites, etc. We are able to ensure that the source code is well structured, clean and efficient. We only include what is needed, to keep the code base light and easy to maintain going forward.

Unlike many of these DIY website builders, the code isn’t bloated with thousands of lines of code that are overkill. We don’t make use of plugins, libraries and code segments that aren’t needed which will ultimately make your project slow (which Google may penalise you for), more complex to maintain and introduce potential security risks.

In short, we code only what is needed and leave the rest out.


To conclude, there is a place for both “off the shelf” or DIY website builders and other SAAS products as well as for custom-built solutions.

This comes down to your current and future requirements, your target audience and users, your business processes and what you want to achieve as a business.

Being innovative and intentional will allow you to outsmart and potentially beat your competitors and for this the custom development route will be most suited to you, giving you the flexibility to scale and grow your platform as your business grows.

We’re super passionate about building meaningful and impactful web projects that are highly customised to our client’s requirements, which have the ability to evolve and ultimately add significant value to the organisation.

So to answer the question: Is there still a place for custom development? Yes! Most certainly! In fact, it’s never been more relevant and valuable and will continue to have a place in the future.

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Having been established in 2005, in Cape Town, South Africa, Elemental is primarily focused on providing web development services and digital marketing campaigns.