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Template vs. Custom web design: How to make your choice?

Introduction

In today’s world, a comprehensive and well-thought-out design for your website is integral to reach and engage your target audience and contribute to the kind of engagement you expect.

With the advent of several advancements in technology, several prospective business owners are opting to design their own websites using several website builders, like Wix or Squarespace, that allow you to design a website and create an impressive digital presence. Others, including professional web designers, are opting to use WordPress, with its easy installation process and its wide array of templates and existing features, that allows you to create a well-functioning website without writing even a single line of code.

However, not all website templates are designed to be responsive and used across a variety of devices. Some of these templates are even outdated. This is where a custom-built website offers a unique solution allowing a business every advantage and opportunity to achieve its target.

Courtesy https://www.webkeyindia.com/template-based-web-design.html

Template-based web design

Simply put, template-based web designs offer you several preset options or combinations with the ability to make a few changes—essentially, giving you boxes to tick off. The end result is a template that closely matches your choices and options.

For example, WordPress offers you a variety of templates to choose from. You can either use a free template or buy a premium one. Once you have installed the WordPress software, you can select any of these themes and start customizing it according to your preferences—add and delete sections, change colors or fonts, etc. However, making too many changes to a template will result in a disorganized website that does not communicate your message efficiently.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive: One of the primary advantages of using a template-based design is that it is relatively inexpensive when compared to a custom-built website. If you’re working with a limited budget, this would be the best option for you.
  • Quick to set up: Since all you need to do is make a few changes to an already existing template, the process of setting up a template-based website is quick and easy.
  • Offers a wide variety of choices: Template-based designs offer you a wide variety of choices, allowing you to select the one that best suits your business needs.
  • Shorter development cycle: This allows each project cycle to be completed relatively quickly. This means that you can have your new website up and running in days instead of months. The code will be completely customized for you so all you need to do is fill it with the relevant content.

Cons:

  • Lack of originality: One of the primary disadvantages of using a template-based design is that it offers little to no originality. This is because you will be using a pre-designed template that has been used by several other businesses as well.
  • Less flexible: Template-based designs are also less flexible when compared to custom-built websites. This is because they are designed to meet the needs of a specific industry or niche and might not be able to accommodate your unique business requirements. The design of the template will also constrain you in terms of what changes you can make to it. This means that you will be limited in terms of the overall look and feel of your website.
  • Not scalable: Template-based designs are also not very scalable. This is because they are not designed to accommodate a large amount of content or traffic. So, if your business grows, you might have to invest in a new website altogether.
  • Less control over the design process: When you work with a template, you will have less control over the design process. This is because you will be working within the confines of the template and will not be able to make too many changes to it.
  • Security risks associated with using free templates: If you’re using a free template, there is always the risk of it being hacked or infected with malware. This is because free templates are not as well-protected as premium ones.

Courtesy https://www.digital4design.com/importance-of-custom-web-page-development-services-for-your-business

Custom web design

A custom web design is one that is specifically designed for your business and its unique needs. This means that the website will be tailor-made to meet your specific requirements. The process of creating a custom web design involves understanding your business, your target audience, and your objectives. Once this is done, a website can be designed that will not only meet your needs but also engage and convert your target audience.

Custom-designed websites have their framework, navigation, and back-end interfaces of the website made to suit your needs. Customized websites allows businesses to truly be creative with their marketing strategy by allowing them complete control over every single element in the web design. This means that businesses can use their website to achieve their specific marketing goals.

Pros:

  • Achieves your specific business goals: One of the primary advantages of a custom web design is that it helps you achieve your specific business goals. This is because the design will be created keeping your goals in mind. It will be designed to meet your specific needs: A custom web design will be created keeping in mind your specific business needs. This means that it will be able to accommodate all the features and functionality that you require.
  • Attracts your target audience: A custom web design also helps you attract your target audience. This is because the design will be created keeping your target audience in mind. A custom web design will be unique to your business: This means that your website will stand out from the rest and will be able to effectively communicate your message to your target audience. This also helps to customize and adapt your marketing strategy according to several external changes.
  • Increases brand awareness and recognition: A custom web design also helps increase brand awareness and recognition. This is because a well-designed website will make it easy for people to remember your brand.
  • Creates a good first impression: A custom web design also helps create a good first impression. This is because a well-designed website will make it easy for people to trust your brand.
  • Builds trust and credibility: A custom web design also helps build trust and credibility. This is because a well-designed website will make it easy for people to understand your brand.
  • Flexible and scalable: A custom web design is also flexible and scalable. This means that it can be easily customized to meet the changing needs of your business. Additionally, a custom web design can also be easily scaled to accommodate a large amount of traffic or content.
  • Better security: A custom web design also has better security features. This is because it is easier to secure a custom website as compared to a template-based website.

Cons:

  • Costly: One of the main disadvantages of a custom web design is that it can be quite costly. This is because a lot of time and effort goes into creating a custom web design.
  • Takes time to build: Another disadvantage of a custom web design is that it can take a long time to build. This is because a lot of planning and development goes into creating a custom web design.
  • Requires skilled designers: Another disadvantage of a custom web design is that it requires skilled designers. This is because a lot of experience and expertise is required to create a custom web design.

What determines your choice of web design?

Deciding how to design your own website or getting your website designed is not only a question of the budget or the right creative idea; in fact, it is a blend of these factors along with a few others.

  • Budget: Everyone wants quality; however, quality comes with a price. Especially when your website is the center of all your marketing initiatives and the identity focal point for your target audience, there is no need to be cheap. However, if your budget is below a certain benchmark, then a template-based website is your way to go. Ideally, your website budget should be about 1-2% of your annual revenue for you to seriously consider having a custom-built website.
  • Complexity: How complex do you want your website to be? If you are planning on including a lot of interactive content or e-commerce, then a custom-built website is the best solution. On the other hand, if you only need a simple website with no frills attached, then templates would be ideal for you.

  • Target Audience: It is essential to understand who your target audience is before you design your website. After all, the success of any business depends on its ability to appeal to its target market. A custom-built website will offer you a lot more control over the design, development, and functionality of your website as compared to a template-based solution. If you want a website that is truly unique and reflective of your business, then a custom website is the way to go. If you are targeting a very specific niche market or industry and require a unique solution not commonly found in template-based websites, then a custom-built website is what you should opt for. On the other hand, if you are targeting a more general market that is not very specific about your industry, then a template-based website can get the job done for you.
  • Flexibility and Extensibility: Unfortunately, templates are aimed toward a generalized solution. This is why they cannot be too flexible. In terms of design, development, and functionality, a custom-built website will offer you much more flexibility as compared to a template-based solution. If your business plan includes the possibility of expanding or adding new functions or processes to your website in the future, then a custom-built website is the better option. Template-based websites, being rigid in design and functionality, do not offer much scope for expansion. Whereas, a custom website can be designed with extensibility in mind from the start, giving you the freedom to add whatever new features or functionalities you want down the line without compromising on the design or user experience.
  • Outcome: This is critical in determining the type of web design you are going for. Identity is crucial to a business. It contributes heavily to the brand and its image. If the priority is to establish a brand and a significant presence, then a template-based design just doesn’t offer you the level of customization and personalization that is required. Nothing is stopping you from making a template-based website as unique as possible, but the simple fact is that it is not meant to be. A custom-built website will give your business an opportunity to reflect its unique identity, culture, and values—the very things that separate your business from others in the market.

Courtesy https://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2019/no-not-just-time-speeds-get-older

  • Time: Another inevitability is time. If you are in need to a quick and running website, then a template-based web design would be more appealing. A custom-built website requires at least 3 months on a minimum, subject to smooth communications. There are so many processes involved to streamline the process—setting goals, planning and setting deliverables, wireframes, designs, development, testing, and optimization—especially when you have multiple working on the various processes.
  • Functionality: This also forms a significant factor in the design of websites. If your business requires simple transactions, then a template-based design will suffice; however, for any manner of serious e-commerce, a custom website is needed. Consider what your business wants to achieve with its website. If you need a highly functional website that can perform complex tasks, then a custom website is the best solution. On the other hand, if you only need a simple website with no frills attached, then templates would be ideal for you.

Conclusion:

There are several takeaways from each type of web design and each is suitable for specific circumstances and situations. Ultimately, it depends on the goals you are trying to achieve and the underlying truth in both these types of web designs is that the design itself plays a critical role in the marketing strategy of any business.

At Pixelstreet, we are a web design company that deeply understands this truth and it filters through in all the projects we undertake. Allow us to take your business forward and we will design a website that uniquely reflects your business and offers a perfect launching pad for your marketing strategy.

 

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Khurshid Alam
Founder

Khurshid Alam is the founder of Pixel Street, a web design company. He aspires to solve business problems by communicating effectively digitally. In his leisure, he reads, writes, and occasionally plays a game of table tennis.