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Template vs Custom Websites

by Becky Cable ON Jun 27, 2019

Before we answer that question, it is important for you to understand the pros and cons of both custom web design and website template.

These pros and cons are very much dependent on your budget, business model, and website needs.

This article will provide you with a comparison that will make it easier for you to choose what is best for your business.

Purchasing a website can be difficult and confusing. There are thousands of options available, with differing costs and features.

Templated Websites

A website template is a pre-designed layout for a page or set of pages of a website. Essentially, a website template gives designers a relatively simple way to plug content into a website without having to build the website from the ground up.

Templates lower web development costs because these pre-designed layouts are generally pre-built on mobile-responsive frameworks. These frameworks reflect general best-practices in web design. Most template websites struggle to incorporate advanced functionality because their goal is to keep costs low for the customer.

Custom Websites

Custom websites are generally built from the ground up without any use of a pre-designed layout.

It’s important to remember that custom web design involves more than simply how a website looks. It could involve back end coding for custom advanced functionality, lead management, and ecommerce features.

Every web design firm will use pre-designed elements such as contact forms, image sliders, and navigation layouts. But custom websites have a more intensive planning/design process to customise the website to the needs of the business.

Advantages of Custom Web Design

The biggest advantage of getting a custom web design is that it will make your website stand out from the crowd and give you an edge over your competitors, which is very important in today’s saturated web environment.

Custom websites are more search engine friendly than website templates so they tend to rank higher on search engines.

Not only does a custom website adapt to your business needs in a better way, but it also gives you the room for incorporating your company’s branding into it.

A custom website gives you the flexibility to work with your budget and add features as you need them. Your developer will build the site to cater specifically to your current objectives, while ensuring that the site is easily scalable as you grow. Custom sites have no inherent limitations on the amount of user traffic they can handle without sacrificing functionality.

  • Search engine friendly
  • Fast
  • Optimised
  • Flexibility
  • Scalable

Disadvantages of Custom Web Design

A custom web design will put a bigger dent in your pocket than a website template, so you will have to pay more to get a custom web design. Secondly, it takes longer to create a custom design as compared to a website template. Due to the complex and time consuming process of custom web design, there are chances that your website project will be subject to delays.

  • More costly
  • More time consuming

Advantages of Website Templates

Unlike a custom designed website, a website template has a shorter development cycle. Another benefit of using a website template is that it cost less so if you have a low budget, you can still get a website template. You do not need to be a coding whiz to create a website anymore, thanks to website templates. Even a person who does not know HTML and CSS can create a website template.

  • Quick
  • Anyone can do it

Disadvantages of Website Templates

With website templates being easily available online, there are chances that your competitors and other businesses are also using the same website template that you are using.

Due to this, your website will be lost in the cyberspace and look like a rip-off.

Website templates are not designed with search engines in mind so they linger at the bottom of the search rankings. The poor support and browser compatibility is also a major issue associated with website templates.

The limitations of website templates extend to functionality as well. For starters, not all templates are designed to be fully responsive (i.e. to work as well on mobile devices as they do on a desktop.) Considering that mobile traffic accounts for more than half of all internet use these days, responsiveness is no longer an optional feature.

Another critical limitation that comes with website templates is a lack of control over user experience (UX). UX is central to ensuring that your customers get what they need out of your website, and that you get what you need out of your customers. Only with a custom website can you strategically drive users towards conversion, optimising your site’s ability to capture leads or sell products.

Website templates are really a “one size fits all” solution. They have a load of extra features you may or may not need - features that create coding conflicts when you try to extend the functionality of your site down the road. You will always experience a certain amount of bloated code within templates, which only adds to the load speed time.

A template-based site might seem like an acceptable solution for your current needs, but what happens when your company begins to grow? The extra features you don’t need can significantly slow your site’s loading time as traffic to your site grows. Functional limitations only become exacerbated with increased visitors as well.

  • Looks like everyone else's website
  • Slower to load
  • Low search rankings
  • Can be unresponsive
  • Unsatisfactory UX 
  • Code conflicts
  • Code bloat

Who Should Get a Custom Web Design?

Every business has different needs. If you want a website that is scalable, search engine-friendly and unique, then a custom web design is an ideal choice. The added benefit of a CMS is that it saves you some money on keeping your website updated and well maintained. It might take longer and cost you more, but you will get a website according to your business needs and will deliver an exceptional user experience to your website visitors.

Who Should Purchase A Website Template?

If you are on a tight budget and do not have much time to spend on lengthy and complicated web design processes, then a website template is for you. If you are not sure about which web design will suit your business needs, then it is better to invest in a website template. A website template is also a good option for those who do not know web programming but want to create a website.

The Bottom Line

It can seem like a stressful decision at first, but the choice between a custom website and website template is a no-brainer if you know which questions to ask.

For those companies that aren’t limited by budget and timeline, a custom website is nearly always the way to go. Website templates come with too many limitations on brand expression, functionality, and scalability.

Any up-front savings they offer will usually end up costing you more down the line. A custom website is built specifically for your needs, tailored to your brand’s unique identity and positioning, and configured to grow with you into the future. You can find out how we do this by checking out how we build custom websites here.

Your website is not the place to scrimp on budget. It’s the most comprehensive representation of your brand.

It’s the central hub for all your branding and marketing initiatives. Your website is the one place your customers know they will always find you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

A high-quality website will always be a sound investment.

Get in touch with us here at Unumbox HQ to find out what we can bring to the table, and in the meantime, download our new guide here