When entrepreneurs and business owners consider creating a new website, they will soon be faced with an important dilemma question. One of them is whether to go for a custom web design or a website template. Both options, like everything in life, have their good and bad sides and to choose the right one depends on the purpose of it and the business type you are in.
What is the Main Difference?
A template is an existing format in which the design and part of the functionality of the website are fixed. This website template is linked to a Content Management System (CMS) such as WordPress to create a fully-fledged site. However, not all of the templates out there are 100% responsive.
With a custom website, first, unique design is created. Then the technical realization of the website follows, where the design is combined with the desired functionality. A custom site is also equipped with a CMS, for example, CMS Made Simple.
Pros and Cons of Custom Websites vs. Templates
Take Less Time to Launch
Many template websites can be set up in a single day. A template website will require significantly less time to get up and running than a custom website.
The design and most of the coding is already done, so once you develop content for the site, input your logo, and add images and content, you’re well on your way to completion.
Less Expensive & Shorter Development
Start-up companies often need a website up rather quickly and on a low budget. Website templates and platforms like WordPress.com, Squarespace and Wix are often plugged and play. These platforms also offer to host, so there is little need to understand the ins and outs of how domains and hosting work together.
With less development comes a lower budget. Web development firms often have an option for utilizing a template they have built in house. This option is a little safer than just grabbing a template off the internet.
For companies who simply need to share information about their company and maybe post a blog or two once in a while, a less customized site may be totally up to their alley. For a company that needs the piece of their website to talk to each other, or do cartwheels, this may not be the best option. Often the developer of a theme had a specific purpose for the theme and customizing it can be quite difficult. For example, it is nearly impossible to make a theme mobile-friendly that was not intended to be mobile-friendly in the first place. If you are ok with giving up some flexibility, a template is an option for you.
Custom Web Designs
With a custom website, you are allowed and encouraged to show your company culture and personality through design. A unique design can be presented, revised and built into a custom template for your website. Yes, I said template because even custom sites have a template; it is just built from scratch rather than from a box. Think about your grandma’s chocolate cake, it just wouldn’t be the same if it were out of a box.
If you buy the base package your site may not be covered against security risks. Why is that important?
Hackers often target popular template solutions because they know there are many users to exploit. Make sure to check if your website solution comes with SSL encryption, captcha, backup, and more.
All too often, business owners who use low-cost template solutions can experience nightmare situations like their entire sites crashing and databases disappearing. Then, when these issues occur, they have no one to turn to for help other than the support of the template company, which may or may not be great.
Up-to-Date Code and SEO
A solid web development firm is constantly updating its code and finding new ways to increase the longevity of the sites they build. They are on the lookout for new SEO best practices as they roll out from Google.
Which should you choose?
If you’re on a small budget and need a quick and straightforward website, especially for businesses just starting out, a template design might be your best option. Some businesses just need a simple website that will provide the customer with all basic information about them and you can get that with a template.
But if you have more complex business needs and big goals, some specific features and if you have a complicated content structure that needs a more precise organization or you just want to stand out from other websites, that only can be quality achieved with custom-built so keep that in mind.