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Custom vs Template Websites: What’s Better?

Sep 3, 2021 | Web Design, Web Development

Thankfully for businesses today there are a variety of website avenues and considerations to help ensure you achieve the perfect design aesthetic and UX to fit with your company’s needs.

The first choice to consider is whether you want to go for a custom designed or a template website…

Template Websites

Template websites involve pre-made template designs which can be customized to fit with your unique branding. This might mean for example that the content, colours and layouts can be changed while the actual pages structure such as gallery, inner pages and content pages are already created as a set page template. It is important to note too, that there is more flexibility around template pages than ever before, especially with builders like Divi, in which content sections can be dragged, dropped and edited to suit your requirements.


The Benefits of Template Websites

1. Low Cost
For many new businesses, template websites can be relatively inexpensive compared to a custom option. Providing businesses with the key functionalities they need such as an e-commerce store, without focusing too much on other unique functionality requests.

2. Fast to implement
A template design can be more quickly and easily setup, with editing of design styling, content loading and testing only often needed before going live. Many template websites also offer quick support, meaning that help is usually a simple phone or message call away.

3. Keep the website simple
Some businesses prefer a simple option when it comes to website design. Providing customers with an easy to use online version of the business, without all the extra bells and whistles can often do the trick, depending on your industry and customer requirements.

Detractors of Template Websites

1. Relatively inflexible
Template websites are less flexible with design and layout often sharing / looking similar to other websites, perhaps even of your competitors. Therefore if you really want to make your website stand out, and unique, perhaps a template isn’t the right choice for you.

2. Lower SEO performance
As template websites are often alike in composition it can be difficult to effectively improve SEO performance of the website. This might be due to not being able to change certain elements within a template, for example, some templates might have additional css which can’t be compressed / removed and can have an impact on site speed performance.

3. Bloating
Bloating refers to some template websites that have vast amounts of coding, which can be detrimental to website performance. In these instances as there is so much to load, the website slows down causing negative customer experiences and a higher likelihood of users bouncing.

4. Security Risks
As one template website is coded in the same way across multiple sites, some look to track and attack these websites utilising the same vulnerability that worked across websites with the same template.


Custom Websites

Unlike template websites, custom theme websites are usually designed in-house with the help of a professional web development agency. These websites are completely bespoke and unique in design, allowing for businesses to have far more input on the final website’s design and usability.


Benefits of Custom Websites

1. High level of customisation
As the name suggests, all custom websites are completely unique and built to the requirements and specifications of a particular business. Allowing for business input and modification on the final product.

2. Stronger SEO performance
Custom websites can be built with strong SEO performance in mind; this is not only in relation to the site structure, but also the content available and the backend coding.

3. Effective scalability
All businesses want room to grow and custom websites are able to easily scale and change with your business. Making sure there isn’t a disconnect between the website and the company, as well as having the option to build out when providing new products/services to prospective customers is extremely valuable.

4. Responsiveness
When designing these custom websites, web page responsiveness can be implemented to ensure the best possible user experience regardless of the device the website is being viewed on. As mentioned previously, this isn’t always achievable with template websites.



Detractors of Custom Websites

1. More expensive
Higher quality generally means higher costs and unfortunately this is also generally true with custom websites.

2. Greater build timeline
As a business has more input in the custom website build, custom designs tend to take longer to perfect. There is time needed to test and showcase different pages and functionality like e-news sign ups and integrations to other email marketing platforms, date picker calendar bookings etc, before the final approved website is released.

3. Longer updating time
Trends naturally change with website usability and many may look to refresh and revamp their website to match new styles. However, while custom web pages can be more complex than template options, they can sometimes take longer to update and change too. This does really depend on how the custom theme is built though.

When examining custom and template websites each comes with their own benefits and detractors and it is usually down to the circumstances of each business that will determine the best course of action.

To find out the best option for your business, talk to the web development experts Redline Digital today.

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