How to Decide Between Custom Web Design or a Template Website
A Website is a Must-Have for Your Business
Having a website is as essential for a business or product brand as a Yellow Page listing used to be a few decades ago. Your website attracts, engages, and converts users into customers. Yet 29% of all small businesses still do not have an online presence in 2022!
Your website is an integral part of your business. It provides information about what you do, the benefits your product or service offers, and your pricing. Your online presence also helps to establish yourself as an industry expert whenever someone does an online search about what you have to offer.
Business websites also enable efficiency, as your prospects get a sense of your brand and can browse at their leisure instead of calling you every time they have a question. Having a website also enables you to promote your business better and increase conversions.
Therefore, designing a website that provides a good user experience (UX) is critical. But when you look at your options, you realize that there’s a wide range of options and prices. Specifically, it all depends on whether you create a custom website or build it using templates. So, let’s take a closer look at both options.
What Is Custom Web Design?
Whether you need a B2B or B2C website, custom web design involves writing code to create the customizable elements you want to include on your site. As a result, you have complete control over how the site looks and functions.
Because of its complexity, you’ll need to either engage an in-house developer or hire a web design agency to design it for you.
Pros of Building a Custom Website
Building a custom website allows you to create the experience and functionality you’re envisioning precisely. You also won’t have any limitations regarding integrating applications, functionalities, or scalability.
Cons of Building a Custom Website
Building a custom website is expensive and takes a long time to complete. While the timeframe may vary, you should expect it to take close to four to six months. You also need to look for a highly skilled team of web developers to do this for you since it’s unlikely that the tech-savvy go-to person on your team knows everything there is to know about coding (if they do, kudos to them — and give them a raise!)
What Is a Website Template?
Website templates are predesigned elements that you piece together to bring your website to life. You can browse through a platform’s template library to look for any that match your needs. You can then make slight modifications regarding layout and colors to align them with your brand identity. You can also add more personality by including visual elements, such as images, videos, and modules.
Pros of Building a Website Using a Template
Website templates are helpful if you are looking to design a simple website. However, there are hundreds of thousands of templates to choose from, so you don’t necessarily have to feel too limited by going with this option.
Templates are also easy to use. Depending on the website builder you choose, they may come with drag-and-drop capabilities that require no coding knowledge.
Cons of Building a Website Using a Template
Although you don’t have to feel too limited by using a template, there are limits to what you can do with this type of website. For example, some templates may not accommodate some of the features you’d like to include; implement a layout that makes sense for your business or make it easy to modify as your business grows.
When to Use a Website Template Design
Just because custom websites can give you precisely what you want, it doesn’t mean that templates can’t provide you with what you need. Templates are an ideal solution if any of these circumstances apply to your business:
Maybe you’re a startup, or there are more significant priorities for which you need to allocate your resources. However, templates can still allow you to design a beautiful website with all of the functionality you need, such as hero images, calls-to-action, and a mobile-first design.
Some websites don’t need all the bells and whistles, especially for smaller businesses and solopreneurs. A simple website doesn’t mean that your site has to look basic or cheap. You can purchase higher-end templates or hire a web developer to make it look state-of-the-art.
Since templates don’t require complex coding (and many of the modules are pre-built), you can design websites in a much shorter time frame.
No Coding Knowledge
Using premade modules, website builders, and drag-and-drop functionalities eliminate the need to have any coding knowledge. Of course, you can still implement code to achieve specific features and functionality, but you can always create a functional website without it.
When to Create a Custom Website
Professional web designers can create custom websites around your specific needs and marketing strategies. Custom web design is the best solution for your business if any of the following considerations apply to you:
If the nature of your business requires that you incorporate a complicated website structure, a custom design will save you a lot of time going back and forth trying to get it right. In addition, since so many websites use templates or website builders, yours may look similar to others.
Custom websites are also ideal for businesses who want to include many graphics, interactive content, the latest e-commerce trends, quizzes, online scheduling, order status, or customer portals, for example.
Custom websites can be modified whenever you want and include whatever you want. In addition, custom web design makes it much easier to add additional features and functionalities as you expand your products/service offerings.
You Have Plenty of Time
Building a website from scratch requires a lot of time and patience. You’ll be waiting several months before you can launch it, so even if you do have the money to pay for a big-ticket website, make sure you aren’t constrained by a specific deadline and help to keep your project on track.
You Have a Larger Budget
Custom websites cost tens of thousands of dollars. The bigger the website and the more features and functionalities you want to add, the more expensive it’ll become. You’re also paying for highly skilled professionals to do the job for you.
More Control Over User Experience (UX)
You want your website to be intuitive and easy to navigate. You want to create specific paths for website visitors, depending on where they are on their conversion journey. You may also want people who browse through their mobile phones to be able to do so by simply using their thumb to click around.
While many templates allow for many of these functionalities, creating a custom website lets you incorporate every single requirement you have.
Require Multiple Integrations
A website’s ability to integrate with other software is crucial to providing a seamless customer experience. Software or app integration is also necessary to simplify the workflow for your team. For example, you may need your site to integrate with your CRM, email, customer service software, social media accounts, and other critical tools your business uses. The more add-ons you need, the more it makes sense to create a custom website that meets these requirements.
Things to Consider If You Have a Lower Budget
What happens if you would love to get a custom website, but it’s impossible to do so with your current budget? You can still create a visually appealing and effective website using templates. However, look for those that allow you to incorporate the following easily:
Not all website templates are responsive to smaller screens. This shortcoming is a problem since most people conduct many online searches from their phones. If your site isn’t loading fast enough or they have to keep scrolling sideways to get your info, they’ll look for a competitor that offers a better user experience.
Search engine optimization increases the likelihood of your website ranking highly in search engine results pages (SERPs) when consumers search for your product or service. There are many factors to consider to make this possible — such as page loading times, HTML tags, including appropriate headings, meta descriptions, alt text for images, URL format, etc.
Some templates include HTML, making it a lot easier for search engines to make sense of the content. Others don’t load fast enough or (as mentioned in the point above) aren’t responsive to mobile devices. Check to ensure they don’t interfere with any SEO elements if you’re using templates.
Whether Third-Party Applications Will Slow Down Page Speed
Sometimes specific templates do not include needed features. You can overcome these limitations by integrating third-party applications, enabling functionality such as e-commerce, creating pop-up forms, or getting SEO recommendations.
While they are great ways to implement functionalities that the template alone doesn’t provide, some of them may cause your site to load slower. So if you choose to go the template route, make sure to work with developers who know how to address this issue.
Moving Forward with Your Web Design Project
What should not be up for debate is whether or not your business does need a unique website. A well-designed, well-performing website is crucial for the success of any business or product brand.
When deciding whether you should build a custom website or use templates, many considerations come into play. But with the right web developers, the process can become as simple as possible. We are here to help!
Do You Need a New or Redesigned Website?
Are you looking for custom web design for your business or product brand? Our team of professional designers will be happy to help you with this. But, first, look at our portfolio and read our case studies.
Then, if you believe we are a good fit for your custom web design needs, let’s talk! We offer a full range of consulting and design solutions for businesses and product brands.
If you are unsure how a custom website supports your business objectives, we can help! Our team will listen to your concerns, evaluate your needs, and develop a list of things you need to bring your new product or service to market.
Did You Build a Website for Your Business?
Did you build your website? What challenges did you encounter while creating your online presence? What would you do differently? If you don’t have one, what prevents you from building a website for your business?
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Thank you! We appreciate your help to end bad business websites, one pixel at a time!
By Gregor Saita
Co-Founder / CXO