Custom Website Design vs Template Design: Which is Better?

upqode | Nov 12th, 2020

In today’s day and age, a website has become a necessity for most people and businesses. Whether it’s a small or large business – a website can add a lot of value to it. Now, the question that many people ask is, what’s the difference between a custom website design and a template design?

This article is written specifically to answer this aforementioned question in as much depth as possible.

Why Do You Need a Website?

custom website development

Some of the most widely heard excuses made by people for not having a website for their business include: Not being tech savvy, websites being too expensive, the inability to find time to manage it, or having enough business without it.

The truth is, being tech savvy has nothing to do with getting a website. You can easily get a website for cheap rates that is also simple enough to manage.

Around 81% of people research a business online before making a purchase decision. Yet, 46% of businesses feel that they don’t need a website. These are Canadian statistics but this pattern can be seen in the US and elsewhere as well.

Everybody has a smartphone with the internet these days. It’s extremely easy to look up things and the decision to make a purchase relies on a lot of factors that require online presence – reliability, reviews, item availability, customer support, etc.

1. Attract New Customers

If you have your own website, there’s a higher chance of you attracting new customers than you would have otherwise. A lot of people search the internet to find the things that they’d like to buy.

So, if your website pops up in their search results and they find the item that they’re interested in, there’s a very high probability that they will go ahead with their purchase. Moreover, unlike your brick-and-mortar store, your website is live and open 24/7, allowing your customers to peek through your selections at their convenience.

2. Instant Credibility

Around 56% of people don’t trust a business without a website. As mentioned above, today’s consumer is extremely smart and tech savvy. Access to all kinds of information is at the tip of their fingers.

In a world where so many scams and frauds happen on the internet, customers are wary of trusting a business that doesn’t have a website.

Websites give you instant credibility and if you make a great first impression with it, you’ll automatically gain more customers. It can help you stand out and allow you to make a strong impression on your potential customers.

3. It Can Be Cheap and Easy

A lot of people have the misconception that in order to run a website you need to be tech savvy and have an endless supply of money to pour into it. As technology evolves, its access is amplified and its cost is significantly reduced.

Today, you can have a website for as cheap as a few hundred dollars or a few thousand dollars. It just depends on what you want and how you want it. We’ll discuss this in more detail shortly.

4. It Will Save You Time

In any B2C business, communication is key. Whether it’s email or phone call correspondence, it can take a lot out of your time. Especially if you’re a small business and you don’t have a lot of employees.

Having a website can simplify that for you. A lot of customers have common, basic questions that a website can help them get answers to instantly. This will allow you to divert your time and energy to more demanding tasks of your business.

5. Brand Positioning

Branding is an integral part of your business. Your website can serve as the bridge between you and your customers and help create your online perception. It can allow you to cater to the customers that you want and help you stand out from your competition in a way that perhaps not many social media platforms will allow you to.

What Are the Options?

When you finally decide to get a website made, you’re going to be presented with two choices – either go with a custom website design or a template design. Both have their pros and cons. The choice, however, ultimately depends on your usage, purpose, and preference.

Custom Website Design

agency website

A custom website design refers to a web design that is tailor-made, specific to the clients’ demands and requirements. It’s unique and is dedicated solely to be an accurate representation of the clients’ business brand.

Whether it’s the way certain design frameworks are employed, the colors, the fonts, the logos, etc. It’s all of this and much more. You can either hire a freelance web design specialist or go with a custom web design agency.

Web Design Agency

web design agency

Going with a custom web design agency has a lot of benefits. They’ve been in the business for a long time and have collaborated with a wide assortment of clients, coming from multiple types of industries and business with unique requirements.

Moreover, apart from their experience, they have great teams who spend a lot of time working with you to come up with a design that is true to your brand and fits your vision while being unique from the competition.

An integral part of designing and maintaining a website is the SEO practices being adopted. Modern SEO practices are essential for helping your website stay up-to-date and relevant while being easy to find.

A great custom web design agency will also help you add features that you like while removing features that you don’t find useful. With their help, you’ll be able to design a website that is going to provide you a great ROI.

It can be a little expensive and tedious, but the results are going to be worth every penny.


1. Scalability

Every business wants to grow. Whether you’re a small business that’s just starting out or a mid-tier business that’s been stuck at the same level for a while. When you’re looking at making a website for your business, it’ll do wonders for you to make sure that it remains scalable.

Your website should be able to grow simultaneously with your business. If you want to add new sections or categories to your business, the website should be able to handle it. If you’re looking at uploading twice the usual amount of content, the website should be able to handle it. New functionality? Added integration? It should be able to handle it all.

2. Adaptability

If you’re a clothing brand that wants to launch a shoe line, you wouldn’t need an altogether new website for it, your existing website will be able to handle it all without a hiccup. The great thing about a custom website like this would be its ability and ease of getting updated and changed.

3. SEO
website analitycs

One of the many great things about a custom website is that you can design it to be as SEO friendly as possible as you want it to be. In today’s time, SEO is king. If you’re not easily findable on search engines, chances are you’re not going to be able to stay in business for long.

A lot of importance needs to be given to the SEO practices being used and they should be updated every now and then. A great web design agency will always help you do that.

4. Manageability

CMS is extremely important when it comes to managing your website. If you have an impeccable CMS like WordPress on top of which your website is built, you can oversee your website and learn to navigate it without the constant need of your web designer to help you.

You’ll learn how to use it within no time and you’ll be able to run your website’s daily, routine tasks without anybody else’s help.

5. Hosting

Hosting is an essential component of your web design. If you’re going with a web design agency, they’ll figure it out for you and might even provide these services themselves. Again, tried-and-tested web design agencies will help you with this process without a single hitch and make sure that they do all the heavy lifting.

Companies like BlueHost and DreamHost are also great options to explore. 

6. User Friendliness

When you make a website for your business, your main goal is to attract the potential customer’s attention and hold on to it. They shouldn’t go off your website without making a purchase. This is why you need to make your website look as attractive and easy to use as possible.

It’s extremely difficult to hold a potential customer’s attention. You need to simplify everything and make it as easy as possible for them to navigate your website and find what they’re looking for.

7. Security

With widespread viruses and hacks, your website will always remain prone to these attacks unless and until you take drastic security measures to prevent them. With custom websites you can integrate and enhance your website’s security at all levels while building it.

8. Support

When you make a custom website with the help of a web design agency, you’ll always have someone from their team to help you fix any issues that you come across with regard to your website. Their experts will guide you and provide you with any sort of support that you require.


1. Price

For all the benefits and improvements that a custom website design provides, it doesn’t come cheap. The price of a custom website design could range from anywhere between $3,000-$10,000 or beyond.

The sophistication required depends entirely on you. You can get a custom website design made from a freelancer off of Fiverr or Upwork as well but the quality might not be exactly what you want or even be on par with what some well-reputed web design agencies provide.

Figure out what you want and do your research well before making a decision.

2. Timeline

When you’re going the custom design website way, you’re going to be starting from scratch. If you have specific needs and requirements, be prepared for an extended timeline for the website’s delivery. It can take anywhere between 1-2 years to be completely done and functioning.

You shouldn’t hurry the process unnecessarily, though. It can cost you a lot of time and money if you do that because you might not like the hurried results or perhaps the website might not function according to what you’d expected.

Talk to your web design agency, put your requirements forward and discuss with them. They’ll be able to provide you a realistic timeline for the project delivery.

Template Website Design

envato website templates

Template website designs can do the trick for you if your requirements are basic and you don’t require any sophistication. A lot of people choose template website designs because of how easy it is to incorporate them into your website and how cheap they are compared to their custom counterparts.

You buy a domain, get hosting, find the template you want (free or paid), apply it to your website, and voila – you’re done. It’s that simple. You can get a lot of great templates or theme options from websites like ThemeForest and ElegantThemes.

Look around until you find a theme or template that your brand resonates with and once you’ve found it, buy it and apply it to your website. You can further customize the chosen theme as well.

You can also use website builders such as Squarespace, Wix, Shopify, or WordPress, etc. to do this.


1. Speed

The main need that the abovementioned website builders and theme/template providers offer is convenience. These days everybody wants everything quickly and easily. People don’t have the time or energy to make something from the ground up.

Therefore, template web designs offer you an easy way out. You just need to follow a few simple steps in order to get your website up and running. You can have it functioning within a few hours.

2. Cheap Cost

Custom corporate website design are costly and time-consuming. Not everybody has the money or time to go that route nor do they require the level of sophistication that they provide. Template website designs allow you get the basics right for very low costs.

Some really great template designs can also be found for free.

3. Hosting

Hosting is also fairly cheap on the template website design platforms. You can get respectable hosting packages for good prices and spend very less time integrating it with your website.

It will connect and direct your domain to point to your site fairly instantly and require no extra efforts from your end.

4. Customizability

Today’s website design templates offer a lot more room for customization than the templates from a few years ago. There’s a template design for every niche, market, and segment. All you have to do is find them. Some are free, some are cheap, and some are costly. The choice rests in your hands.

A lot of themes these days offer a lot more customization than perhaps a basic business might need. Therefore, if your requirements are really basic right now but you plan on scaling up gradually, it will be quite some time before you feel like your current template is giving up on you.

5. DIY

The best thing about website design templates is the fact that it will help you do everything by yourself. From buying the domain, the hosting, to the template, and even setting everything up in the end – you can do it all by yourself.

Sure, the sophistication might be lacking but you’ll have a website.


1. Standardization

While a template design website is easy to set-up and run, its look and feel might be vastly different from some of its other template designed website counterparts. Even in this design structure, the website itself can either be made to look wonderful or crass.

That depends entirely on the person who’s handling it. So, unless and until you know how to navigate through the process or have the time to learn the ropes, chances are your website might not even be up-to the standards of the other template designed websites.

2. Diminished Functionality

Templates are designed for a specific purpose. A blogging template might not give you the best results for an e-commerce business and vice versa. Functionality is a major component of a website design. If you’re choosing a template for one specific purpose, you might not be able to add more functionality to it or expand it for other purposes.

In that case, you’ll either have to grab a new template or just go the custom design way. You need to be clear about why you’re getting the template before you decide on buying one.

Explore all options and see if any of them offer scalability.

3. Deadweight

As mentioned above, functionality is a huge component of any website. A lack of which can significantly diminish your website’s usability. Similarly, an abundance of functions and built-in features that you don’t require or use will weigh your website down immensely as well.

It will slow your website down and adversely impact your site’s navigation and usability which will have a direct impact on your potential customers’ user experience. A loss of potential sales in this case, will be imminent.

4. Not SEO Friendly

SEO is the single most important factor in making sure that your website remains findable. If you don’t show up on search engines’ search results, you can forget about having your ROI. It is crucial that all the best SEO practices are used and implemented in making sure that your website is visible.

Your ultimate goal, with a website, is to show up on the first page of search results as most potential customers don’t even bother going to the second page unless they’re desperate or very specific about what they want.

Not all templates are SEO friendly. If you choose one that’s not built with SEO in mind, you will only be hurting your business.

5. Lack of Support

One of the best features of a custom designed website is the fact that the custom web design agency always provides you. customer support. If you encounter any problems, you’re just a call or message away from their customer support representative who’ll instantly fix your problem so that you can get back to work.

With templates, that feature is non-existent. A template is made to function within the realms of what they’re designed to do. If you come across a problem, you might find yourself on YouTube or Google, trying to absorb as many tutorials as you can to find a fix for your problem.

6. Lack of Updates

Updates are necessary to keep your website functioning. A lack of which can render your website’s functionality obsolete within no time. Templates don’t always have this feature and it can, therefore, cause a lot of hurdles for you in the long-term.

7. Substandard Security

One of the easiest targets for hackers is a template design website. Specifically, because of how easy it is to break into them. They have basic security features that all hackers know how to get around and all templates follow those standards. Therefore, you’ll always be at the risk of getting your website compromised.

Final Verdict

A custom design website and a template design website, both have their own pros and cons. The ultimate decision, however, lies in your hands. You should think very hard and carefully about your requirements and needs and only then, should you decide between the two.

Filed under: Web Design

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