Custom Designed vs. Template Websites

Choosing the right look and feel for your organization’s website can be a daunting task.  You want your website to be a good representation of your brand. These days online presence is everything, and a poorly designed website could mean the end of your business. There are two ways to approach your websites design; you can either invest in a custom designed website, or build from a template 

A custom design involves hiring a web designer or web design company to work with you to build a website from scratch. There are a few ways to approach custom web design. Hiring a designer to build a custom website on a CMS platform like WordPress is the most cost-effective way to approach custom design. However, if you have unlimited funds you can go all in and hire someone to customize everything, building completely from scratch. 

On the other hand, there are many platforms that allow you to DIY a website using templates and themes. This is the cheapest way to build a website, but it will also mean your website has limited features and functionality. You can also hire someone to create custom elements to fit into a pre-made framework.  

This is what many web design companies do, allow clients to choose from pre-made templates and then they add a few custom elements. But this really won’t save you any money, because you are still hiring a wed designer. At MIBS, Inc. we work with our clients to build custom websites that meet their needs, rather than making them choose from a handful of cookie-cutter templates.  

The real question is: is it worth paying for a custom design or should you try DIYing with a template. There are pros and cons to both methods.  

Pros of Custom Design: 

  • Originality: Your website is uniquely built to meet the needs of your organization. Not only will it fit your brand, but it will have features designed to grow your ability to do business online. A custom designed website is unique to you and it will help you stand out from the crowd.  
  • Scalability: A custom designed website can be changed and updated. It can grow with your company.  
  • Responsiveness: A good web developer will design your website so it can be used on a variety of devices including desktops and phones. However, templates are more advanced than they used to be, and odds are you will be able to find a few that are responsive.  
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Web designers test your website to ensure that it is friendly for use on all browsers. This increases the chances of people finding your website.  
  • Security: Website developers understand coding and security. They are able to apply security measures to your website and write proper coding that helps prevent backdoors from opening for hackers.  
  • E-commerce: Depending on the purpose of your website some templates just won’t cut it. If you want to run an online shop through your site you are going to want a custom design. A template simply won’t provide the functionality and security needed for e-commerce.  
  • Hosting: Most web design companies have a hosting partner that they work with, so they are able to take care of all of that for you. All you have to do is maintain the rights to your site’s domain.  

Cons of Custom Design: 

  • Cost: Custom deigned websites are more expensive, because you are paying for knowledge, creativity, and labor. However, as mentioned above there are ways to cut the costs down. One such way is to work with a designer that builds on a preexisting CMS platform.  
  • Time: Depending on the company you choose to work with and the size of the site you want, custom design could take longer upfront. However, in the long-run you may save time because you won’t have to DIY updates and site maintenance. 

Pros of Template Design:  

  • Less Upfront Cost: Depending on the services you use, template sites are relatively inexpensive to build. However, they have less functionality and are less secure, which means you may end up paying later to fix things.  
  • Quick Setup: Templates and themes can be set up fairly quickly. So, if you are in a rush and you need a website fast, this may take less time than a custom design.  

Cons of Template Design: 

  • Generic: If you’re using a pre-made framework you may end up with a generic looking website. And when promoting your business, you want your website to stand out from the crowd, not look like everyone else’s 
  • Security: Hackers are often able to hack multiple template sites at once. Additionally, if you try to mess with the coding of your site, you could unknowingly open up a backdoor for hackers.  
  • No Growth: Another issue that can arise if you try to change the coding of the website is that when updates are released, they might not work properly on your website. However, themes and templates are not often updated, which means your website will not be scalable to grow with your business 
  • Less Functionality: The functions you see are the functions you get with templates and themes. You will not be able to customize the functions of your website to meet the needs of your users. Additionally, the template you choose may be bloated with functions you don’t want, but can’t get rid of. This will weigh your website down.  
  • Hard to Find: Most templates are not built with SEO in mind. The outdated coding often makes it difficult for template sites to appear in search engine browsers.  

Who Wins? 

In the short-term template designs certainly have an appeal. They are a quick and easy website solution and also one of the most affordable options. However, they also offer less functionality, are less secure, and are not scalable to growth. This means, in the long-run you’ll probably end up spending more time and money fixing your site than if you had hired a designer to customize it in the first place.  

Custom designed websites offer great opportunities for branding and growth. They also have better functionality and are more secure. Additionally, they look more professional, which helps you leave a better impression with your users.  

Are looking for a fast, affordable, and professional custom web design solution for your organization? Contact MIBS, Inc. today. Our experienced web designers will work with you to customize a functional and secure site to meet your needs.