Written by: Gregor Saita

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

There are a lot of options for building your business website. Among the most common are template websites and website builders. Here is what you need to know about how they compare to custom web design, and which is the most cost-effective option for your business.

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


The Difference between a Template Website or Custom Web Design

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.

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.


Template Website


PixoLabo - Template Website or Custom Web Design - Website Builders


Website Builders

The big debate of 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 - Template Website or Custom Web Design - Pre-Made Website Template


Pre-Made Website Template

Another option is to set up a WordPress website and select a template website from one of the many ready-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.

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?


PixoLabo - Website Template Limitations


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!


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!


PixoLabo - Template Website or Custom Web Design - Custom Website


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.


Flexible Modular Frameworks

In 2021, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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


PixoLabo - We Can Help You with Professional 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 development, e-commerce solutions, search engine optimization, brand design, and WordPress optimization.

And if you are still torn between a template website or custom web design, don’t worry! Simply reach out and contact us. Our expert team will listen to you, answer your questions, and determine the best solution for your web design needs!


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

Photo of author

Gregor Saita

Gregor is Co-Founder and CXO of PixoLabo, a multinational web design agency. With over 25 years of experience in web, UX, and information design, Gregor consults for startups in Asia and the US. He is also an adjunct professor of design and user experience, and a creative technologist and consultant at EnLinx Partners, LLC. Gregor lives with his wife, an award-winning Japanese designer and photographer, in Sendai, Japan. When he is not working, he enjoys writing, exploring, gardening, and sampling new street food.

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