One notable shift in today’s commerce is the rise of digital marketing. Online presence now plays a pivotal role in bringing businesses forward. However, thousands or even millions of digital marketers have realized the importance of online presence, too. In fact, according to Netcraft’s Web Server Survey, the worldwide web consisted of 1,173,621,471 websites as of February 2022.
To stand out from this cutthroat competition, you will need a good marketing strategy or strategic use of a digital tool. One of the most common and best ways to market your brand online is through website design. If you own a business and don’t have a website, you are probably losing out on opportunities.
The internet has a much broader audience reach than any other kind of advertising. A website can be utilized for a variety of marketing methods to help your business become successful. If you’ve been in the digital scene for quite some time, you have probably heard talks about template-based and custom-built website designs. But, what exactly are the differences between the two?
Template vs Custom Web Designs
There are two paths you can take when it comes to building a website for your brand — template vs custom web designs. Both options have their own advantages and disadvantages and can serve different purposes for different types of businesses. In this blog, we will discuss their differences, when to use either of them, and their pros and cons to help you decide which path is better for your brand.
Let’s get started.
Designing a Website from a Template
The best way to explain this is that a template-based design offers you pre-defined boxes to plop your content into. Using templates to create a website is rather simple. There are many web builder platforms out there, such as WordPress, Squarespace, GoDaddy, or Wix, that can provide you with a website template with themes that best matches what you are looking for. WordPress, for example, offers a variety of templates to choose from, some themes are more expensive than others while some can be accessed for free.
Since you’ll definitely come across thousands of template designs, the trick is to pick one that has all of the features and functions that your site requires. Most web builder platforms feature search and filter functions that can help you find a template that’s right for your business. After choosing the best one, you can incorporate your branding by customizing the navigational, visual, and functional elements to your liking.
Of course, knowing the advantages and disadvantages should be a top priority when choosing what’s best for your business. So, let’s get to know its edge against custom-built sites, as well as the shortcomings of this simplistic design approach.
It’s really easy
When adding and altering web elements, most WYSIWYG (What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get) website builders use low-code drag-and-drop tools. All you will need is a mental vision of how your site should look and a basic familiarity with how to use the web. You don’t have to be a programming expert to customize a template-based website design.
The cost of a web template is determined by its complexity and customizability restrictions. Overall, it’s a cost-effective web page design option, particularly for start-ups and small businesses. Even the most premium templates cost from $30 and $500, while some of the most basic templates are free.
It has simple designs
The website’s fundamental structure remains the same, even if the layout differs between themes. Since web templates are designed with familiarity and simplicity in mind, it makes it easier for web visitors to use and navigate.
There are a lot of options
When it comes to appearance, features, and add-ons, web templates give you a lot of options. There are thousands of templates to choose from when browsing themes from web builder platforms. The abundance of unique designs will help you find templates that will best fit your branding.
Setting up a template-based website design can be done in just a matter of days. The site doesn’t need to go through extensive testing and iterations because all of the code has already been written for you. When you’re finished loading it with content and customizing it to your liking, it’s up and ready for launching!
It has its limits
There are only so many things that you can customize on a template-based website design. For example, some web builder platforms will only let you upload images at a given size, and text containers can only store a certain amount of words or characters. Flexibility is mostly limited.
Unique businesses can’t be too picky
Some businesses that have unique business models may have a hard time finding templates that best resonate with their branding. Even with thousands of options to choose from, you might only find a few themes that can fit with what your brand is going for. Hence, when using templates, these businesses might have to compromise design or functionality.
You can’t edit the codes
Most of the time, you will only be able to view the codes but you won’t be able to make any changes. Even if you can, it will most likely be too tedious since most of the codes will be computer-generated. Also, since the entire system is so tightly knit, changing the code, in some circumstances, may actually break some functionalities.
The support provided is limited
Whenever you need to fix some errors or make custom modifications, most web builder platforms will charge you by the hour for the service. So, although template-based websites are cheaper than custom-made ones, it’s also possible to end up spending more on building and running a template site.
It’s produced for the mass market
Since web builder platforms are creating templates for the mass market, a lot of competitors in the market will also be able to purchase, access, and use the same exact template as yours. Remember, purchasing a template does not imply that you are purchasing the design; rather, you are purchasing the right to use it.
Optimization is your responsibility
A template-based website is essentially a blank canvas with a rudimentary website framework pre-installed. So, the UX, search engine, speed and performance optimization, and other optimization aspects will be your responsibility. Don’t get blinded by the affordability. Most of the time, it only offers the basic optimization mechanisms. The rest, you’ll have to find ways yourself.
Designing a Custom Web Design
A custom web design, unlike a template-based web design, is personalized accordingly to your brand or business. The website will also be created specifically for your target audience and will be designed according to your marketing strategy. Your strategy and content come first and designers will build your design around it.
There’s a reason why a lot of business owners prefer a customized website. Custom web design begins from the ground up, from the site’s logo, purpose, and functionality to the fundamental foundations of each page. And since designers build the brand and target market in mind, they are more successful in generating leads. Moreover, with a custom site, your SEO value will start at a better level since your code will be cleaner and written specifically for your website.
Custom Web Design Pros and Cons
Designing a custom website from the ground up is obviously a lot more complicated than simply customizing a template-based website design. So, here are some pros and cons of custom web design that you might want to consider before choosing this path for your business.
You can work with web design experts
Among the most amazing benefits of creating a custom website is being able to get valuable insights from web design professionals. Designing a custom site is a collaborative effort between the client and the developer. These experts can help you better understand website creation with a more detailed input; thus, keeping business owners from making costly investment mistakes.
It’s more flexible, unique, and customizable
Your greatest advantage with a custom-made website? You can customize it to your liking and let it be whatever you want it to be. Unlike templates, developers will design the site according to your business model and not the other way around. Moreover, you can customize any features, functionality, or layout to fit your branding.
UX and SEO are built-in
Speed, performance, and user experience are essential factors for a successful website. When working with expert developers, these essential characteristics are built-in into your website. This means that custom websites are readily optimized for web visitors to have a good user experience and search engine visibility.
It grows with your business
Website developers can add new features or improve existing ones to your website. So, when market trends shift or if there are emerging market demands, it will be easier for business owners to customize their site. Custom web designs can grow with your business, which is important in future-proofing websites.
Integration with third-party services
During the coding and design phase, developers can use integrated APIs to embed third-party services, such as MailChimp, HubSpot, and Google Maps, among many others. You can add these integrated services to the main website.
It’s more expensive
Understandably, creating custom websites is pricier than using template-based ones since you will be working with a professional team of web developers. However, in the long run, financial returns can offset the high price. For example, your web developers may not charge you anymore with the extra services, such as hosting or integrating third-party services, among others.
It takes a longer time to create
It all depends on how complex your web design is. Web developers may take a few weeks or, sometimes, even months to successfully develop your custom website. This is because it takes precision, care, and a lot of work to create a site that is sure to become successful. Hence, the development and design process may take a while to complete.
So, which is better, template or custom web design?
Now that you are well-versed with the pros and cons, just one more question remains — should I go with a template or custom-built website design?
So, how do you decide which path is best for your business or brand? It generally just depends on the type of business you have, your budget, target market, and marketing goals, among others.
Choose Template If
You are on a small budget and in need of a quick turnaround. Template-based web design might be best for your brand if you don’t have complicated goals for your website and only needs a virtual platform for your web content.
Choose Custom Web Design If
You are looking for a website that can be customized according to your business needs. Business owners with more complex business goals and enough budget might want to consider going for a custom-built site. Custom websites are ideal for brands that need serious organization and functionality in their web design.
To Wrap It Up
Business owners who are planning to build a website have a lot to consider before choosing which web creation path they should take. Ultimately, the choice between a template or a custom web design is yours to make. As long as it aligns with your marketing or business goals, then go for it. If you are just tight on budget, you can always go for a temporary template-based site, then upgrade to a custom one when you are able to afford it later.
Work with Expert Web Developers
Proweaver is a custom web design company helping businesses from various industries realize their digital marketing goals. We have helped thousands of clients achieve successful digital ventures with our expert and professional team. Interested in making your digital marketing goals come true? Contact us at +1 (877) 300-6564 today!