Custom Web Design vs Website Templates
Some pros, cons and misconceptions around the differences between a custom made website and a website template driven system

The need for a website in any business in this day and age is a given and with the Australian Bureau of Statistics releasing a study concluding on average that Australian business’s with a website will announce at minimum a 10% increase of sales over business that do not, there is no real need to discuss the pros of getting one (we also cover this in other articles).

One thing that is quite important when looking at an online project is which way you go about it. In specific whether you choose custom web design or use a website template. We thought we would explore some of the pros and misconceptions here.

Custom Web Design:

  • Individuality – Your website is unique and this can really help your business stand out among your industry.
  • Architecture – Your website is built from the ground up with your needs and requirements in mind. It does exactly what you need it to do .
  • Scalability – In most cases, your website can grow with your company with additional functionality added without headaches.
  • Search Engine Optimisation – A custom designed site will usually produce better results from a search engine perspective as it has been tailored to your products or services

When looking at a custom web project, planning is an important part of the project. We thought we would list some questions worth asking yourself when looking at the project:

  • Who will be updating or looking after the website when it is finished and how will this be taken care of? If you are planning on doing this yourself you will either need to know how code HTML or you will need a Content Management System. In most cases the second option is chosen and it tends to be the easier choice for a business to manage their website. With a custom designed site make sure you let your web designer know that you need this moving forward.

Website Templates:

Website templates can be great for certain businesses that just need a really basic web presence and in most cases the upfront costs will be cheaper than that of custom web design.  Lets have a look at some of the pros and cons for website templates.

  • Cost - Website templates tend to be a cheaper option in comparison to custom web design. If you are after something basic that you don’t plan on changing then this can be a great option. Something to be mindful of however is that most templates can be quite expensive to change so if you are planning for growth or added functionality down the track this may not be the best option.
  • Design – You will usually find that a great website template will be quite popular. In regards to making your business stand out this can be difficult when you have the same website design as 1000 other businesses.
  • Timeframe – We have found in most cases that the timeframe for website templates to be implemented  is actually very similar to that of a custom web design despite many companies claiming otherwise. Lots of time is usually soaked up on template projects getting your branding to work with the template which brings me to my next point.
  • Branding – When you are looking at templates, it is always good to be mindful of that fact the your branding may not look nearly as good or professional as the sample branding in the templates.
  • Security – It is always recommended to ask questions regarding internet security when you are looking at a template driven system. Some systems are fantastic at protecting your data however there are a lot that are quite vulnerable to penetration and hacking.
  • Support – Something worth keeping in mind is that when you purchase a website template, you are buying a product. When you purchase a custom website, you are buying a service. If you have the time to learn about how templates work and creating all of your content and pages than this most likely would not be a problem. In comparison to Custom Web Design, All of this is done for you and you have someone working with you through the entire process, letting you worry about what you do best, Your Business!

No matter which option you choose whether it be custom web design or a website template the important part of the project will always be the planning and promoting. Think carefully about what you want to achieve by creating a website and what your business requirements are for one and don’t forget to tell everybody about it when it is finished. The more people you can direct towards your website the better the return on your investment will be.