Custom Website Design Vs Web Design Templates
I always thought I excelled at interior design until I became a homeowner. The foundation was already there when I was decorating a rented apartment; all I had to do was dress it up. But now, I had to start by building that foundation from scratch. Custom website designs vs. web design templates are quite like that––a rented apartment with all the foundations built for you compared to one that needs to be built from scratch.
Luckily, over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to help small businesses build both: custom website designs and websites built on templates.
If you’re wondering if custom website designs are better than templates or the other way around, that’s not true. It depends on the final result you’re after.
What is a custom website design?
As the name suggests, a custom website design is customized to meet your needs. It is a unique design specifically built for your website. This includes your custom fonts, colors, logos, custom calls to action, design elements, features, and everything else you need to drive your website goal.
A custom website design also considers your SEO needs, your industry, audience, sales or lead conversion needs, and any other website goal you may have. It is a long, well-thought-out process that combines data, goals, and design needs. Ultimately, you get a professional website with great design but an even better user experience.
Know your business needs a custom website design to reach your audience? Reach out to our team to discuss how we can help you get started.
Benefits of a custom website design:
Flexible and Adaptable
A custom website design allows you to be more flexible and make every section, button, and website element exactly how you want it to look and function. This also makes it more adaptable to changing or growing website requirements.
Advanced User Experience
An easy, intuitive, and friendly user experience is a priority for websites today. If that’s your aim, a custom website design allows you to curate your website user’s experience and navigate them through an actionable journey. A custom website design can also heighten the user experience across devices and browsers.
SEO and Design Experts
You can build a custom website with CMSs like WordPress or hire a design agency to do it for you. Either way, you’ll get access to expert help and support every step of the way. Whether this means contacting the WordPress community for answers or asking your agency for help, you can always rely on professional support.
Features and Add-ons
A custom website design doesn’t stop at the design bit! As mentioned above, with both an agency and a CMS like WordPress, you can further enhance your website with ecommerce functionality, added security features, strategic marketing campaigns, innovative AI features, and more.
Drawbacks of a custom website design:
There are two significant drawbacks of a custom website design:
Because you’re building a website from scratch, with every design element, feature, and functionality customized to your unique needs, the building process is time-consuming. It starts with a detailed planning phase where the designers need to understand the scope of work; there are multiple brainstorming sessions and discussions needed to start executing it bit by bit finally. Then there might be some revisions and changes needed that require more time.
Additionally, with a custom website design, you bring in many resources to work for you. Designers, developers, SEO experts, project managers, and other professionals will work together to build your custom website design. Moreover, you will also need resources like hosting plans and other tools that you may need to achieve the desired result – all these resources cost money.
So, is there another option? Yes, templates.
What are web design templates?
As the name suggests, templates are pre-designed frameworks that allow you to build upon them quickly. It’s as simple and quick as picking a theme and giving it your branded makeover. You already have blocks ready to go, all you do is add your logo, change some colors and fonts, and change/add text, and your website is ready to go live!
Now this might seem like the ‘better’ option, and it might be for some, but you need to understand that web design templates are restrictive. The features and functionality are restricted, and you may be able to customize only parts of the website. Does that make it a bad option? No!
This might be the perfect option if you’re after an essential website with limited to no advanced functionality, like an online portfolio or a one-page business website.
Benefits of web design templates:
Simple, Quick Setup
Web design templates allow you to easily and quickly set up your website. Say, for example, you are using WordPress; all you need to do is pick a theme that suits your requirements and give it a makeover to give it a unique identity. Additionally, you can also host it on WordPress, making the setup even simpler.
Cost and Time Effective
You can DIY and build your website with web design templates without investing many resources. You can also pick from a wide range of free themes available, and pick the cheapest hosting plan, depending on your needs. Overall, you save a lot of money on resources and time spent on getting to the end line.
Responsive and User-Friendly
While you may not be able to build a feature-full website with web design templates, you can build an SEO and mobile-responsive, user-friendly website. You can keep the user journey simple, allowing people to navigate your website easily.
Drawbacks of web design templates:
Rigidity and Lack of Functionality
Templates are usually a one-size-fits-all solution making them more rigid. You can’t make massive changes to the template or add much functionality and must rely on whatever the template offers.
Lacks a Unique Personality
Chances are, thousands of other websites are using the same web design template as you. Thus, web design templates do not allow you to create a unique website that stands out or has a distinctive personality.
It’s easier for hackers to attack web design templates as they are familiar with the loopholes. While you can apply security features to your website, templates put you at higher risk unless you understand the technical aspects of security breaches. Additionally, templates are not continuously updated, so the framework quickly becomes outdated.
The Middle Path: WordPress
If you think a custom website design and templates are your only options, let me offer you a middle path! With WordPress, you can get the best of both worlds. You can pick a pre-designed template but completely customize it to meet your website needs. WordPress is an open-source, free CMS allowing users to build customizable websites. Also, because WordPress can be powered by many plugins, themes, and features, you can build any website with WordPress while giving it a unique look and functionality.
You can work with professional website designers to build your website on WordPress or access readily available tutorials and support for DIY.
With WordPress, you minimize the cost of getting a customized website without investing much time or money. Moreover, WordPress websites are scalable, which means as you grow and your website needs increase, you can modify, further customize and scale as required.
The award-winning team here at 3 Media Web has been designing websites on WordPress for over 20 years. Reach out if you’re ready to start your next web design project.
What’s Your Verdict: Custom Website Design or Web Design Templates
Now that we understand the difference between a custom website design and templates, it all comes down to your unique needs, website goals, and what you want to achieve from your website.
If you want to build a simple website, with limited to no functionality, or essential features, with no plans to scale or grow in the future, web design templates are all you need. However, suppose you need advanced features, a personalized and unique website experience, up-to-date functionality, and the need to keep customizing your website design. In that case, you need a custom website design that allows you to scale and grow as you need. But remember, you always have the option to pick the middle path and choose WordPress to build a feature-rich website that is scalable yet achievable with little to no professional help.
Now that I think about it, I probably picked the ‘WordPress’ option with my home too. I picked a ‘template’ from a builder and customized it to fit my design and functionality needs. And as we grow (older), and as a family, I know I can modify and make changes to make every corner and every room more accessible and suitable for our changing needs.