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Custom Versus Templated Website Design

April 4, 2015

With advances in technology and simplified platforms, the template website has not only become more attractive but also more cost-effective. This is especially true for small businesses that do not have the budget to spend on major projects involving their web presence. Let’s explore the pros and cons of template design versus a custom-made, unique website built from scratch.

While a template website does offer significant cost savings, customers must remember that their website is much like a storefront. Getting people to the store and converting them into customers is the purpose of any successful commercial site. Template websites often do not allow for the creativity necessary to attract and convert new customers. They may end up being online brochures, which while effective, may not be ideal. Further, because many template services are do-it-yourself, you may spend a great deal of time and effort to develop a website that may not adhere to best practices. Custom websites, on the other hand, when created by legitimate and knowledgeable design firms, have experienced designers that know current trends and create a relevant conversion tool.

To the point of marketing the website, a custom website will also offer search engine and social media managers a level of flexibility that a template website may not. Understanding that Search Engine Optimization has become one of the highest ROI strategies in modern marketing means that you, as a business owner, need the greatest opportunity to convert new customers.

Finally, getting a custom website offers creativity in branding. Small business owners are creative people and they often have a very definite idea of what they want to be. A custom website can allow for artwork to be integrated into the site in a more fluid manner, rather than having to stay within certain bounds and as is often the case with a template design.

From a cost standpoint, a template website can range anywhere from free to hundreds of dollars – some require a monthly fee. Custom websites may start in the low thousands of dollars, however in many cases, there are no additional fees for licensing. When you look at your website as a lead generation tool, you will quickly realize that finding the right website designer, who can accurately translate your mission into something that resonates with your customers, is very powerful. The relatively larger initial investment can be offset, rather quickly, by the tangible and intangible benefits that only a custom website can offer.

Ultimately budget is an important part of the day-to-day decision-making of any business owner. With that said, the website should be treated as an asset that can pay dividends long into the future if done right from the beginning. Templates website design may be the way to go, but be sure to understand your future needs and budget accordingly.

So To Recap:

Choose Custom If You:

  • Have The Budget
  • Will be expanding soon, if not immediately
  • Need custom or advanced programming
  • Want to take full advantage of what the web has to offer
  • Want to own the final design (be sure this is explicitly part of your agreement)
  • Want complete creative control

Choose Template If You

  • Are working on a shoestring budget
  • Need a site fast
  • Are OK with certain design and creative limitations
  • Don’t mind sacrificing advanced functionality
  • Need an “online brochure” vs a true resource