Written by: Gregor Saita

8 Key Reasons Why You Need Custom Web Design

Most online start-ups, e-commerce shops, and virtual businesses are keen to keep costs low. And that can make the appeal of a pre-made website theme almost irresistible. But before you pull the trigger on a templated design, here’s why online businesses are moving away from pre-made themes and embracing custom web design.

8 Key Reasons Why You Need Custom Web Design

Template Website or Custom Web Design, Which is Your Best Option?

OK, so you have decided to get a new website for your business or organization. Now you have to select exactly how you are going to get your new website. And one of the first decisions you have to make is to decide between a template website or custom web design. Be careful as you decide; your choice will affect what you can do in the future.

Most online start-ups, e-commerce shops, and virtual businesses are keen to keep costs low. And that can make the appeal of a pre-made website theme almost irresistible. But before you pull the trigger on a templated design, here’s why online businesses are moving away from pre-made themes and embracing custom web design.

Get an affordable website for your business!

The big problem most businesses face is that they don’t quite understand the difference between a template website and a more custom design. Both options have their own pros and cons. And no matter what other people tell you, there is really no absolute best option! Ultimately your decision will depend on your unique business vision, requirements, expectations, and budget.

Pre-Made Template Website

PixoLabo - Template Website or Custom Web Design - Website Builders

Website Builders

The big debate of a template website or custom web design usually starts with the battle between website page builders and pre-made templates. Both have their pros and cons.

Website or page builders make it easy for the average user to quickly build their own simple website. There are hosted solutions such as WixSquarespace, and Shopify that are very popular with business owners. Both come with ready-made website templates based on your business or industry that make it reasonably easy to lay out a pleasing design and add your content.

Some services such as Squarespace even provide packages that come with email marketing, web hosting, or e-commerce services. While these are not free, they do offer especially small businesses an easy way to establish an online presence. This is another reason that DIY website builders are a popular option for many small businesses and individual service providers.

PixoLabo - Key Reasons You Need Custom Web Design - Pre-Made Website Template

Pre-Made Template

Another option is to set up a WordPress website and select a template website from one of the many pre-made themes available out there. Before you get started, here is a quick word of caution! Not all website themes are created equal, and some of the free ones are really bad! We recommend reviewing and purchasing themes from a respected repository such as Themeforest.

Pre-made themes are templated designs for business or personal websites. They provide a blank shell for blog posts, page layouts, and storefronts. And they’re great for a lot of simple applications like hobby stores and personal blogs.

According to Techopedia, “A website template may include carefully laid out titles, square or round images, background banners, stripes and other layout features, as well as styled and laid out typography. Designers can take advantage of these templates and simply swap in their own data and images to get a very elaborate website without writing any code themselves.”

And newer themes often have fancy animations, responsive design, and social integrations to add interest to the page. For free or a nominal one-time cost, online businesses, and individuals can enable a pre-made website theme to quickly create a nice-looking website.

Once you purchase the theme you like and install it on your WordPress site, you can start creating your website. However, ready-made templates and themes usually do not offer sophisticated features such as forms or advanced functionality such as e-commerce options. And this raises a big concern; can your template website meet your business needs in the future?

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Template Website Limitations

As you debate the pros and cons of a template website or custom web design you need to consider the limitations of a pre-made solution. You have a unique business, which means you deserve a unique online presence. And template websites are not always the best or easiest or even the cheapest way to achieve your online objectives.

We already touched on the limits of a template website above. While your template or pre-made theme may look really great when you purchase or download it, they rarely look like that when you first install them. Not only will you be required to create and upload your own content. You may also find that your template website is not that easy to work with!

Slow Page Load Speed

Since pre-made themes are designed to cover most scenarios right out of the box, they’re often bloated. Animations might not be built to load quickly and poor image handling may clutter your content management system with endless resized files.

Since page load speed has a huge impact on ranking and website conversions, you can’t afford to sacrifice this performance for convenience. And don’t forget about device type either.

Mobile browsing has overtaken desktop browsing for most businesses. So, mobile-first isn’t a trend any longer; it’s the standard. You’ll need your design to be fully responsive, or ideally mobile optimized.

Whatever you choose, the site still needs to be visually engaging too. G2 states, “38 per cent of visitors will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive.”

Limited Customization Options

A template website usually cannot be easily customized. If you have a particular need or requirement, you will have to pay extra for changing the code. This will incur extra costs, and after customizing a template website, you may no longer qualify for updates and support from the template developer.

While a template website is usually more limited than what you require, the opposite can be true as well! Some template websites include many features and functionality that you will never use but end up paying for.

Therefore, you need to carefully consider if a template website is the best option for your business. While you will save money at the beginning by going with a template website, your business may quickly outgrow it. That means you will have to start over with a custom-designed website. Maybe you should look into a custom design from the beginning!

Poor User Experience

Since pre-made themes are generic, they don’t know what your business goals are. They might not offer any efficiencies for how your customer actually buys. That bog-standard design might actually get in the way of purchases.

Shift4Shop states businesses should: “Limit the number of clicks it takes for a visitor to make a purchase or complete an action to improve website conversions. Amazon has mastered the art of avoiding click fatigue with their simple “Buy Now” buttons and even at-home Dash buttons.” If you can’t make streamlining changes to your website design, you’re holding back business growth.

Lack of Ongoing Support

Once a designer puts a premade template into the marketplace (especially if it’s free) they are under no obligation to support it further. So, if a vulnerability is discovered, technology improves or new integrations are needed; you’re left fending for yourself.

Beyond that, if you do eventually hire a developer to fix your generic deployment, you might find the costs are higher. That’s because they will likely need to repair the existing code before they create anything new for you.

Additionally, you may need a complete redesign in the future if your templated website has unknown interdependencies that are decommissioned.

Damage to SEO

Logical reports, “If you make the wrong web design choices, you can unintentionally make it difficult for crawlers to index your site, damaging SEO rankings. Thanks to web design best practices, a custom developer will format URLs, content, and images in a way that crawlers can index more quickly, boosting your rankings.”

Many stock templates aren’t designed with SEO in mind at all. This can make it hard to use popular tools like Rankmath SEO to manage your metadata and keywords. Or the design may be poorly executed so that text is rendered as images (which Google can’t index) for zero SEO value.

Poorly designed premade templates may fail to use proper paragraph formatting, ignore lists or bullets and provide inadequate content refreshing display elements. All of those pieces are important for traffic, ranking, and the overall user experience.

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Custom Website

Your alternative to getting a template website is to hire a website designer or agency to build a custom website for you. Working with a professional web design agency provides you with several benefits. They will understand your business, its unique requirements, and how to create a beneficial online presence for your business.

Even better, most professional web design firms offer additional benefits, such as e-commerce solutions, search engine optimization, and even website hosting and maintenance.

With a custom-designed website, you can incorporate all the features and functionality you require to grow your business online. Not only that, but a professional web designer can also help you anticipate future needs or requirements, which makes it easier to implement when the time comes.

Key Reasons Custom Web Design is Better

Flexible Modular Frameworks

In 2022, many custom websites are built on modular mobile-first frameworks. This approach offers numerous advantages that a template website simply cannot provide.

Key among them is the ability to place almost any conceivable type of content or required functionality exactly where you want it on your page or site. The framework will automatically rearrange the modules according to the screen size of the user.

Unique Design

With the number of websites that your customers see every day, having a website that is memorable and easy to use is a great way to set one’s business apart. Custom web designs do just that while allowing the business owner to explore a unique presentation of their information.

Better Branding

Businesses can deeply integrate their brand concept into a custom web design, including colors, graphics, and layout. As a result, a custom web design more readily reflects the brand’s image and culture.

Professionalism

There are more things to consider when setting up a website than a few years ago, especially with the advent of mobile devices, social media, and search engines. By engaging a professional to create a custom web design, businesses can expect a professional job that covers all these crucial areas.

Longer Life-Cycle

Custom web design is based on planning and understanding the business, its processes, and its value. A custom website is likely to provide a longer useful life for the company because it caters to the core activities that make up the business. As a result, companies save money over the long run.

Opportunity for Growth

With a template, effecting changes to reflect the growth of a website such as e-commerce, better social networking, and blogs or forums may be harder to do. Custom web design, on the other hand, provides more freedom.

Ongoing Support

Professional web design firms can also help you maintain your website. They will train you and your team on how to make content and other essential updates. For more complex updates, they usually offer a website maintenance plan that allows business owners to focus on running their business instead of their website.

More Cost-Effective

Custom website design is a reasonably complex task, especially if you are building an enterprise-level or e-commerce site. And that generally makes custom websites quite a bit more expensive than a template website.

But in the long run, you may very well find that custom website design is actually the more cost-effective option!

PixoLabo - Deciding Between Template Website or Custom Web Design

Deciding Between Template Website or Custom Design

Once again, the ultimate choice between a template website or custom web design is up to you. Generally, we feel that most business owners are better off running their business instead of trying to build their own website. Therefore we don’t believe that DIY web design is a really good idea; we have seen too many projects never launch at all.

Naturally, a custom website design allows you to avoid all these issues. Any bespoke template will account for (correctly) SEO, device-specific design, journey optimization, load times, and more. You’ll maximize your website’s touchpoints for brand storytelling.

If you really only need a quick and dirty website for your business, a template website may work for you. If you don’t have much in the way of requirements or expectations, maybe a free theme or template is all you need.

If you envision something a bit more advanced maybe a page builder is a good option for you. But we have seen this approach fail too many times not to urge some careful consideration.

If you have the time and budget, we recommend you opt for a custom website design. Yes, it will take longer and cost more money than slapping together a template website. But remember this, you are making an investment in your continued business success.

A custom design will contain only the code you need without any added bloat. And you’ll have a dedicated team to protect your user data from leaks and theft.

Lastly, you’ll have access to enhanced functionalities through custom web applications that simply aren’t available as part of a premade website theme. Even with the enhanced upfront design costs, the ROI on improved conversions and repeat custom can quickly make up for it.

And by setting some realistic website cost expectations at the beginning, you may very well find that custom web design is more cost-effective in the long run.

You most likely put a lot of thought into your business idea, product, or service. You are well on the way to establishing a successful business or product brand. Now you want to grow your online presence to attract, engage, and convert your target audience. You need a custom web design. We are here to help!

PixoLabo - We Can Help You with Custom Web Design

Do You Need Help Building Your Online Presence?

Here at PixoLabo, we offer a full range of WordPress website consulting and design services for businesses and product brands, including custom web design and developmentwebsite redesigne-commerce solutionssearch engine optimization, and WordPress optimization.

And if you are still not sure why you need custom web design, let’s talk! Our expert team will listen to you, answer your questions, and determine how to make your business or product brand stand out from your competitors. It is one of our specialties, after all!

Get the most from your website!

What Type of Website Do You Have?

Do you have a template or custom website? Does the type of website you have work for you, or are you facing obstacles? Do you have anything to add to our template website or custom web design thoughts? Feel free to add your comments below so our audience can benefit as well, and grab our feed, so you don’t miss our next post! And feel free to share our tips with your audience!

Thank you! We appreciate your help to end bad business websites, one pixel at a time!

By Gregor Saita
Co-Founder / CXO
@gregorsaita

Photo of author

Gregor Saita

I am the Co-Founder and Creative Technologist at PixoLabo. When I am not busy running our agency and building websites for our clients I consult, teach, and write about web and user experience design, WordPress, e-commerce, and SEO. I live with my wife, an award-winning Japanese designer and photographer, and our cat Pixel in Sendai, Japan.

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