Your Guide to Custom Web Design Vs. Website Templates

For business owners in the digital age, simply having a website isn’t enough. Your site also needs to be visually appealing and totally functional on any device, providing a truly positive experience for any and all web visitors.

Usually, creating the ideal site requires hiring a professional. But with so many content management systems (CMS) out there, many of them geared towards those with virtually no web development experience, is it essential to work with a web design company? And regardless of whether you work with a designer, is it better to work with a template or to completely start from scratch? 

In order to answer those questions, let’s take a closer look at custom web design versus website templates -- and why it usually pays to hire a professional. 

Website Templates

There are a number of platforms that offer templates and basic web builders, which can allow just about anyone to create a decent-looking website. Whether you’re using a theme or a drag-and-drop template, you can create a hub without any coding knowledge and get your site ready to launch within a matter of days. Much of the time, the cost of using a template will be much less than what you’ll find by going the custom route.

But as the adage goes, you’ll get what you pay for. While website templates may be simple to use, they’re also fairly simple in terms of the design options they offer. That lack of customization and control over the look of your website can lead to very basic-looking designs. If you’re looking for a truly unique site, you’re going to be limited by what these templates can offer. And since most people want their site to stand out, you might be disappointed to find that your site blends in.

Website templates have other limitations, as well. Not every CMS provides tech support, which can be disastrous if something goes wrong. But it can also be problematic when it comes to routine maintenance. What’s more, you may find that your site security is subpar when you use a template. Because even small businesses have to worry about hacking attempts and data breaches, it might be worth your peace of mind to invest in a more secure option. It’s also important to remember that some website template platforms won’t help you with your search engine optimization. While a custom web developer can build SEO right into your site from the start, you may have issues trying to market your site if you use a basic template builder. 

Ultimately, website templates can be a good place to start. If you’ve just launched a new venture and simply don’t have the budget for a more customized option, a website builder can hold you over until you’re in a better position to invest more -- especially if you don’t plan on doing much marketing right away. But conventional wisdom tells us that it may be better to wait until you’re comfortable spending a bit more on a website that will last the test of time. And that brings us to our other option: custom web design.

Custom Web Design

In contrast to website templates, custom web design offers more customization. This can provide a unique experience that provides both visual appeal and functionality. Of course, not just anyone can offer custom web design; because coding and other aspects of development are so complex, you can’t take the DIY route. That means you’ll probably pay more for a custom website than you would for a website template builder. However, because custom websites are easy to scale and will generally serve your business for several years, it’s often a better long-term investment.

Custom websites tend to offer an improved user experience -- and that’s becoming increasingly important for both web visitors and search engines. A custom website designer can address SEO principles, site security, loading speed, proper navigation, and a number of other elements during the design phase to give your site a head-start at ranking well in Google search results. What’s more, website designers will often provide ongoing maintenance and support. That means when a big update takes place or you’ve made an important change to your business, your designer can make pertinent adjustments on your behalf to ensure consistent branding and superior user experience.

Custom websites are typically the best option if you want a site that feels true to your company and that can grow along with you. While template builders have their place, most experts generally agree that a custom site will provide an optimal user experience -- provided that you’re ready to make a commitment to your website.

Why Hire a Custom Web Development Company

Just as you’d hire a professional SEO agency or graphic designer to handle other aspects of your marketing and branding, it makes sense to work with a professional web development firm. Although DIY solutions can be appealing, they should be used for small projects -- not for your organization’s online presence. You deserve a high-quality website that reflects your brand and that will delight your clients from the first click. Contact us today to learn more about how we can design a custom site that aligns perfectly with your goals.

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