Custom website design vs template: pros & cons + how to decide which one is right for your business

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Your website is an integral part of your business. Not only does it provide information about what you do, why you’re great at it, and your awards, but it also serves as an opportunity to establish yourself as an industry expert whenever someone makes a research online about what you have to offer.

Business sites also allow for efficiency because your prospects get a sense of your brand and can browse at their leisure instead of having to call you multiple times each time they have a question. It also allows you to better promote your business, especially if you have discovered the wonders of inbound marketing.

Therefore, it is your responsibility to design a website that offers good user experience (UX). But when you look at your options, you realize that there is a wide range of options and prices. Specifically, it all depends on whether you are creating a custom website or building it using templates. Let’s take a closer look at both options.

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What is Custom Website Design?

Be it a b2b or b2c website design, custom websites are created from scratch. This involves using code to create the customizable elements you want to include on your site. As a result, you have full control over how the site looks and works.

Due to its complexity, you will either have to hire an in-house developer or hire a web design agency to design it for you.

Benefits of Creating a Custom Website

Creating a custom website allows you to create exactly what you envision. You will also have no limitations regarding app integrations, functionality or scalability.

Disadvantages of creating a custom website

Building a custom website is expensive and time-consuming. Although the time frame may vary, you should expect it to take around four to six months. You also need to find a highly skilled team of web developers to do it for you, because the tech-savvy person on your team is unlikely to know everything there is to know about coding (if they do). do, congratulations to them – and give them a raise!)

What is a Website Template?

Website templates are pre-made elements that you put together to bring your website to life. You can browse a platform’s template library to find ones that match what you’re looking for. You can then make slight changes to the layout and colors to align with your brand identity. You can also add more personality by including visual elements, such as images, videos, and modules.

Advantages of creating a website using a template

Website templates are useful if you are looking to design a simple website. There are hundreds of thousands of designs to choose from, so you don’t necessarily have to feel too limited when going with this option.

Templates are also easy to use; and depending on the website builder you choose (like HubSpot), they can come with drag-and-drop features that don’t require any coding knowledge.

Disadvantages of creating a website using a template

While you don’t have to feel too limited using a template, there are limits to what you can do with this type of website. Some models may not be designed to enable some of the features you want to include; or implement a layout that makes sense for your business; or make it easy to modify as your business grows.

When to Use a Website Template Design

Just because custom websites can give you exactly what you want doesn’t mean templates can’t give you what you need. In fact, templates are an ideal solution if any of these circumstances apply to your business:

Small budget

Maybe you are a startup or have more important priorities where you need to allocate your resources. Using templates can still allow you to design a beautiful website with all the major features you need like background banners, desired typography, and one responsive design.

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simple website

Some websites don’t really need bells and whistles. This is especially the case for small businesses and solopreneurs. This doesn’t mean your site has to look basic or cheap. You can buy premium templates or hire a web developer to make it state of the art.

Tight deadline

Since the templates don’t require complex coding (and many modules are already created), websites built using them can be completed in a much shorter time.

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No coding knowledge

Using predefined modules, Call-to-action creators, and drag-and-drop features eliminate the need for coding knowledge. That said, you can still implement code to achieve exactly what you want, but you can still build a working website without it.

When to Create a Custom Website

Custom websites can be created based on your specific needs and marketing strategies. This is the best solution for your business if any of the following considerations apply to you:

Unique Requirements

If the nature of your business requires you to incorporate a complicated website structure, a custom design will save you a lot of time going back and forth trying to get it right. Also, since many websites are created using templates, yours may end up looking like others.

Complex features

Custom websites are also ideal for businesses that want to include lots of graphics, interactive content, a modern storefront, quizzes, online scheduling, order status or customer portals, for example.

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Scalability issues

Custom websites can be changed at any time and include anything you want. This makes it much easier to include additional features and functionality as you expand your product/service offerings.

you have plenty of time

Building a website from scratch takes a lot of time and patience. You’ll be waiting several months before you can launch it, so even if you have the money to pay for a big-ticket website, make sure you’re not limited by a specific deadline.

You have a larger budget

Custom websites cost tens of thousands of dollars. The bigger the website and the more features and functionality you want to add, the more expensive it will become. You also pay highly skilled professionals to do the work for you.

More control over user experience (UX)

You want your website to be intuitive and easy to navigate. You want to create specific paths for website visitors, based on where they are on their buyer’s journey. You may also want people browsing on their cell phones to be able to do so by just using their thumb to click. While many templates allow for many of these features, creating a custom website allows you to incorporate all of your requirements.

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Require multiple integrations

A website’s ability to integrate with other software is crucial to providing a seamless customer experience. This is also necessary to make things easier for your team. For example, you may need your site to communicate with your CRM, E-mail, Customer service software, social media accounts, and any other essential tools your business relies on. The more add-ons you need, the more it makes sense to build a custom website that meets those requirements.

Things to consider if you have a lower budget

What if you’d like to get a custom website, but it’s not possible with your current budget? You can still create a visually appealing and effective website using templates. However, look for ones that allow you to easily integrate the following:

Mobile optimization

Not all website templates are suitable for small screens. This is a problem because most people do a significant amount of online research from their phone; and if your site doesn’t load fast enough or they have to keep scrolling sideways to get your information, they’ll just go find a competitor who offers better user experience.

SEO

Search Engine Optimization is what increases the likelihood of your website being found when your target audience searches on Google. Many factors must be taken into account to make this possible, such as page load times, HTML tags, including proper headers, meta descriptions, alt text for images, URL formatting, etc. Some templates include HTML which makes it much easier for search engines to make sense of the content. Others don’t load fast enough or (as mentioned in the point above) don’t respond to mobile devices. If you use templates, make sure they don’t interfere with SEO elements.

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Whether third-party apps will slow down page speed

Sometimes you need features that are not included in some models. This is solved by integrating third-party apps, which can enable things like e-commerce, create pop-up forms or get SEO Recommendations. While they’re great ways to implement functionality that the template alone doesn’t provide, some of them can make your site load slower. So if you choose to go the template route, be sure to work with developers who know how to fix this problem.

As you can see, there are many considerations that come into play when deciding whether to build a custom site or use templates. But with the right web developers, the process can become as easy as possible.


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