Developing Your Website: Template vs. Custom Design

Whether you are embarking on developing a new website or considering revamping an existing one, you should decide to either use a template to build your website or have it custom built. There isn’t a right or wrong answer. You just need to know what you want to accomplish with your site, how you want to maintain it, and how much time or money you want to invest. Once you know your website goals, you just need to understand the pros and cons of each website development option. Then you will be able to make an informed decision as to what would work best for you.

Using Templates

Templates are a common way to approach website development — especially if it is something you are doing on your own, or you have a need to get the website up quickly. But there are some things to consider.

Templates and themes usually have features that offer limited customization. However, these built-in features can impact load speed and SEO performance. And, these templates most likely will not dovetail into your brand.

According to Atilus, “It’s very likely that you’ll have to put up with features, designs, and functions that won’t necessarily fit your brand or business.”

If you are very budget-conscious, Digital Donut says that templates are more affordable than a custom-designed website. “Another benefit of using a website template is that it costs less, so if you have a low budget, you can still get a website template. You do not need to be a coding whiz to create a website.”

Pros and Cons for Templates:

  •       Limits to how customizable they are
  •       May not work on all devices
  •       May come with a lot of “bloat” — things that are not needed and that most people will never use — that slows down performance
  •       Less technical skill needed
  •       Low-budget
  •       Ability to launch quickly

If you are budget conscious, need your website launched quickly, or do not have the in-house experience to deal with a complicated web-design process, then you should consider a template website. This will give you the ease and speed you are looking for.

Using Custom Design

Custom-design websites offer the flexibility of adding only what you want and need to your site while being constructed based on your brand standards. It will take longer as it is being built from the ground up. Graphics will need to be created that express your brand personality. The use of open-source platforms such as Drupal can help cut down on the development time.

You should also consider your user experience. Notion Technologies notes that when it comes to user experience, a custom website has far fewer restrictions because it offers greater flexibility and security. Functionality can be limited in template sites because incorporating e-commerce or adding other custom applications can be difficult or impossible.

SEO should be a consideration because it is vital to helping your target audience find your site. Not all themes are capable of following optimization rules. And, not all templates are able to keep up with constantly changing rules.

Atilus points out that the developer is able to optimize the site during creation to allow for Google and other search engines to give custom-built sites a better ranking. This goes beyond keyword research.

Pros and Cons for a Custom Design:

  •       Can be expensive
  •       Takes longer to develop and launch
  •       Unique design, developed to meet your business needs
  •       Built with growth in mind
  •       Gives the owner much more control

If your website needs to be scalable, search-engine friendly, brand-specific and unique, you should consider a custom design. This allows you to control everything from copy to graphics to user experience.

Your decision should be based on your businesses needs, available time, budget, and long-term goals. Only you can make that decision. But we can help you figure it out. Reach out to us today, so we can discuss your project!