Custom Web Design vs Website Templates

As a business owner you are always looking how to save money and make your business profitable. When it comes to creating an online presence for your business, just like your marketing materials and office’s appearance, your website needs to project a professional image. The more professional looking your business appears, the more creditable it looks.

Many business owners don’t really understand the difference between having a custom web design done and using website templates. In this article we’ll look at both ways of having your website built and the costs involved.

Custom Web Design

Many think having a custom web design is too expensive but let’s look at the advantages of hiring a web designer over using a free website template or purchasing one.

Benefits of custom web design:

  • Unique design.

    With a custom web design it is created just for your business. Your website will be different from anyone else’s.

  • By hiring the right web designer, it will be constructed so it is search engine friendly.

    How the background coding of your website is done will influence your success in the search engines.

  • The website will be more adaptable to your company’s needs.

    If you have done your website planning, you will have a list of features you wish to have. By prioritizing this list of website features, you will give the web designer an idea of what to accommodate for in the future if your current budget doesn’t allow all the features to be implemented from the start.

  • Scalability.

    Just like adaptability, if you have planned what you want in the future for your website, a good web designer will take this into consideration as they select the technologies to use while building the website.

Other points to take into consideration when deciding if custom web design is for you are:

  • Are you planning to maintain the website yourself?

    If you do not intend to learn how to code a website (or have someone on staff that can do this well) then you are going to have to request that a content management system be incorporated into the web design. There are limitations on some content management systems so be sure to review our Choosing a Content Management System article so you ask all the right questions about the proposed content management system the web designer is planning on using.

  • Are you permitted to use the graphics created for the website for other purposes?

    The website design should incorporate your company’s branding. If you have already established your company branding, then that branding should be incorporated into the website.

    For a business that hasn’t established a branding or is under going a revamping, then you are going to want to know if you can use the graphics on the website elsewhere, like your letterhead, brochures and signage to mention a few. This will increase the price of the custom web design, but then you will have everything match.

Another idea if considering a custom web design is, just have a template made incorporating the website theme. You can then, if you have the skills, recycle the template theme to create the web pages for your website.

Website Templates

There is a misconception on how beneficial and economical using free website templates or purchased website templates is. Let’s look at some points about website templates:

Website templates are good for:

  • Getting inspiration on colours, layouts and features.

    You cannot have your web designer copy these, but they do give the web designer an idea of the look you would like.

  • Very low budgets where you need to get up and running as soon as possible.

    If budget is holding you back from getting your business up on the Internet, then maybe a website template might be the way to go.

  • Shorter development time.

    It would appear that using a website template would include a shorter development time required for your website. Not really, read on.

Now onto other considerations when choosing a website template.

Using website templates do have some downfalls:

  • There is going to be a ton of other people using the same template.

    Unless you pay the “Exclusive” price for the template, the template website is going to keep selling that same template to anyone that comes along. Keep in mind, even if you pay the exclusive price, there are others who have bought the template prior to you and they still have the right to use it.

    If it’s a really appealing template, there may be lots of other people who have already bought that very template.

  • You will be limited on the customization of the website template.

    Without web page coding skills, you are still going to have to either spend the time and money to learn how to code a web page or hire someone to help you.

    Some templates are laid out very specific. Meaning if you incorporate your own graphics or have extensive content, the template could break.

  • Some website templates are not built to be search engine friendly.

    As explained above, it is important how the background coding of your website is done. If not done correctly, it could hurt your marketing efforts on the internet.

  • Antiquated coding.

    If the website template uses antiquated coding, it might not work in all browsers.

    Browser specific features are another sign of antiqated coding.

Custom Web Design or Website Template?

When deciding if a custom web design is the way to go or if a website template is a better choice keep in mind that you want your business to stand out from the crowd and be memorable.

In either case, you are still going to have to do some work to get up there in the search engine results. Having a website that looks nice is only part of the internet marketing package. You will have to research the phrases that your target audience would type in the search box to find you then incorporate those phrases into the content of each of your pages.

To maintain or build the website yourself you are going to have to invest some time (and money possibly) into learning all there is to building a web page.

Now, sit down and figure out exactly how much each method of building the website is actually going to cost. Include the time it is going to take you learn whatever you need to learn to use a website template and compare that to the cost of a custom web design where you will have time to market or build your product in the same time frame.

There is an old saying:

“Time is money”
Author Unknown

Keep that in mind when choosing between custom web design and website templates.

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20 Responses to Custom Web Design vs Website Templates

  1. Internet Marketing Services Says:

    I think this is a good description of the Pro and Cons of both templates and custom websites.

  2. Pittheus Business Consulting Says:

    I believe that this is a really good snapshot on the topic for comparing Custom Web Design to Website Templates. Perhaps one important note missing on the cons of having a template website is the security issues that come with website templates.

  3. Pulse Media Solutions Says:

    This is a good idea of just the basics about the difference between templates and custom web design. Good read!

  4. Custom Flash Web Design Advantage for your Company Says:

    It was indeed an awesome post. Quite different from the rest, it endows me with worthwhile information that definitely increases my awareness on this particular subject. I, therefore, am very grateful to the author who sincerely posted this editorial for the benefits of the general public. Keep up your good work!

  5. Itransition Says:

    Custom web design allows to implement a profound informational architecture of the web project. Web site templates restrict the development of the site. So I vote for the custom design development.

    Sir Winston Churchill is the author of “Time is money” cliche.

  6. Gringo Says:

    Customs is for high budget buyer for some better specifications on what they what, they are paying for what they want to their website to look like while templates is where buyers tend to adapt on what is already been built.

  7. Lucy Says:

    Great article! I wish more people would know and appreciate the differences.

  8. web design glasgow Says:

    as a designer i buy templates all the time , as it saves on my time , regarding being uniqe there are over 100million sites out there, you would be unluck to meet someone with your site

    also with tools such as firebug and the developer tool bar i could create a design very much like anyother site out there

  9. Web Page Mistakes Says:

    web design glasgow, as a designer it may save you time in the initial concept but generally templates are coded badly. Having to fix the coding to be search engine friendly and standards compliant is not going to save any time vs just coding the site yourself from scratch.

  10. Minneapolis Web Design Says:

    Couldn’t agree more. Also many templates are often created in flash, which is neither SEO friendly nor is it easy to edit. Great post!

  11. alarezmedia Says:

    As a designer I defend the originality and creativity. I think that to sell the customer the idea of buying someone else’s design goes against the reason I became a designer … create and capture my ideas in my designs.

    Also, use firebug to copy any website is like stealing.

    I am totally against the use of templates.

    Great Post!

  12. PLR Websites Says:

    I think website templates can offer an affordable way of a beginning business owner to get started. Even templates can be customized to give them a unique look and make the site stand out from the crowd!

  13. Web Page Mistakes Says:

    Website templates can be affordable but they must also be well constructed without bloated coding and in a search engine friendly fashion. Most are not. Plus by the time you customize it and tweak it for search engine optimization, you could probably gotten a custom basic design done.

  14. Web Development Services Says:

    I’m with “Web Page Mistakes.” Clients often come to me to correct buggy coding that came along with their ‘economical’ templated site. If a client comes to me with a template in mind, I often point out the ways in which that template still requires adaptation to their needs/ branding/ colors, etc. While good templates have perks like widgets, etc that I don’t have to code from scratch, templates can be as much work as custom design and development. Great article

  15. Ventura County Web Design Says:

    Very well written article. Both methods have their pros and cons. But templates can have the most cons because the customizations can often times cost more than building the site from scratch. Alot of templates have poor coding and you will not really know that until you buy the template. But then again not all web designers are reliable and that is huge!

    It’s like going to a restaurant. If you go to McDonald’s you will get a poor pre made hamburger with lot’s of generic ingredients and filler. Or you can go to a really good restaurant and have everything made fresh to order. It’s your choice. I personally prefer to eat fresh.

  16. Web design Manchester Says:

    A professional website should always be unique in design, on the other hand personal and small business websites can be designed based on templates.

    Popularity matters

  17. Ryan Says:

    I definitely agree with you. In this case, I find that web design is one of the most important things should be highly considered by the business owner. It can be perceived that official web can be a great way to build connection with clients and customers.

Custom Web Design vs Website Templates Was Mentioned Here:

  1. Website Design Mistakes
  2. Free Web Hosting VS Paid Web Hosting
  3. Use HTML Coding for On-Page SEO

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