Template vs Custom Website Design: What’s the Difference?

Updated October 26, 2021
Updated October 26, 2021

Are you planning to invest in designing a new website for your business? Not sure about whether to use a template or create a custom website?

Designing a website can be a complicated endeavor.

There are many different things to take into consideration, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the process.

It’s important that you know what questions to ask before deciding on which design plan is right for your business.

In this article, we will compare two popular types of website designs: template-based websites and custom designed websites.


Why is website design important?


Website Design Importance

Did you know that a Stanford University study showed that 75% of users make judgments about a company’s credibility based on visual design alone?

Good visuals make people want to learn more about your company.

According to several studies, website design will play a significant role in whether or not a company is worth the consumer’s time.

Poorly designed websites will drive potential customers away.


Can you build your own website?


The short answer to that question is Yes!

The proliferation of site builders such as Divi and Elementor, alongside the technological advancement of plat

Today, website builders like Wix, WordPress, Squarespace, and others allow almost anybody to create a simple website.

These platforms provide business owners with a way to build their own website, even if they don’t know how to design or program.

However, doing it yourself and using templates might not get you the best result because templates are not optimized for your business.


The proper next step for your website design project


It’s time for an analogy. Consider a custom-built home and a production home to better understand the distinctions between a custom website and a template website.

Both are used for similar purposes, but building your house customized from the ground up will be considerably easier if you need additional features (such as an additional room or a larger kitchen).

The same can be made of website design.

The production house/themed website has simple move-in, lower cost, and specifications that might match your needs.

However, depending on your needs, you may outgrow this option later down the road or be forced to change your way of life to suit.

When working with new clients to choose which approach works best for them, I first try to identify their needs and

When working with clients to determine which approach would best fit, I first determine the website’s fundamental requirements and the people it will serve.

Factors could include the importance of SEO, uniqueness of the company’s brand, budget, and timeline.


Working with a template


There are plenty of website theme options accessible to you.

You’ve probably seen commercials from Wix, Squarespace, and Godaddy about their themed website services.

The majority of these websites are created on the WordPress platform.

You are normally given the option of selecting between a number of free and paid themes.

If you’re looking for a web development team to create a WordPress theme-based website, any decent web design agency should be able to create one for you.

Just make sure you ask the right questions before dishing out any of your hard-earned money.


Is creating a template-based website right for you?


If all you need is a simple website that requires minimal customization, a themed website is OK.

You can use the money saved on design and development for things such as online marketing, pay-per-click, social media advertising.

However, this method has its limits. Your site load speed will be limited, and you might be trapped by design difficulties later on if you wish to expand your business.

It’s also possible that getting assistance or making modifications to the theme will be difficult.

WordPress is an open-source platform so there is an infinite number of ways to develop code for a website.

Pros for templates built websites:

  • Cheaper upfront cost
  • Beginner friendly (For the DIYers out there)
  • Shorter development time
  • Access to many third-party plugins and applications
  • Industry-specific themes (Doctors, restaurants, lawyers, coaches, etc.)

Cons for templates built websites:

  • Limited design options
  • Responsiveness (Mobile-friendliness) is often an issue
  • Not SEO-friendly (Unfortunately one-size cannot fit all)
  • Slower load speeds
  • Other businesses might use the same templates
  • Might not work with specific third-party applications that you need
  • Support could be an issue if you use an unpopular template


Custom building your website


Custom built websites require a creative process to be followed by your web design company of choice.

It begins by figuring out who your target audience is, what your main traffic generation source will be, how you wish the site to function, and how you want to present your brand.

Because custom built sites are created with your business in mind, they will always convert better than themed websites.

This means they are more effective at generating business and hence, better for you if you are serious about your business.


Is creating a custom website right for you?


Truth be told, the only downside to creating a custom website is the cost involved.

Depending on your specific needs, custom built websites can be considerably more costly than themed based sites.

That being said, custom websites are built for YOU.

You will never have to worry about future expansion because that can be taken into consideration as the website is being built.

Not to mention that if you are looking to generate search engine traffic, SEO measures can be taken to ensure you have a good foundation to stand on.

The only other downside of custom built websites is that they take longer to complete.

However, you’re better off doing it right from the get-go.

Rushing to get going and having to redo everything because your business is growing is a pain in the you know what.

Pros for custom built websites:

  • Website is customized for your brand and target market
  • Can be created with scalability in mind
  • No limitations on the design process
  • Website can be built with SEO in mind from the ground up
  • The site can be tested on all mobile devices
  • Faster load speeds
  • Can receive ongoing support from the web design company

Cons for custom built websites:

  • More expensive
  • Longer development time


Final thoughts


Managing your business is stressful enough as it is.

You shouldn’t burden yourself with creating and maintaining a website on your own, especially you have no experience creating sites.

Website design can mean the difference between your business’ success and having to file for bankruptcy.

Maybe I exaggerated a little there :), but with such a critical part of your business at stake, you are better off leaving web design to the experts.

Let a web design company create a custom built website for your business that will generate income for years to come.

Contact Unique Web Designer if you have any questions about this article or want to receive a quote on your next custom website design project.

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