Whether you’re just entering the market or your existing website is ready for an overhaul, setting up your business’ presence in the online world the right way is a serious endeavor.
A quality website can get your brand far, in the eyes of Google and your customers alike. Fast loading, intuitive UX, attractive design, mobile-friendliness, and quality content are only some of the features that will get you high up in the search results and transform visitors into satisfied customers.
But as a business owner in need of a new website, you have to ask: Can a website builder offer all of the features I need?
We’ve asked the designers from some of the best New York web design agencies about the pros and cons of going for a custom website versus opting for a template design, and here’s what they had to say.
Template vs. Custom Web Design
You’ve probably heard of WordPress, Elementor, Wix and Squarespace — these are only some of the most well-known website builders. Website builders are platforms that offer a variety of template layouts, both free and paid, to help you create your site.
Upon choosing the desired template, you can use a drag-and-drop editor to effortlessly edit the layout, change colors, add content, and transform your new website into a fully-fledged brand.
On the other hand, custom design implies hiring a team of web experts, including web and UI/UX designers, web developers, QA and testing specialists, project managers, and SEO and marketing professionals, who will jointly create a unique website for your business.
So, both paths lead to the same goal — a website that embodies your brand in the digital realm.
Custom web design is generally known to be much more expensive than using templates, and it requires more time and effort. Yet, the possibilities of building a truly custom site make this option an equally preferable alternative to website builders.
Let’s take an in-depth look into the advantages and disadvantages of templates and custom design.
Opting for a website builder is a good option for sole entrepreneurs, small businesses, bloggers, and start-ups who are just entering the market and don’t want to spend too much money setting up their web presence. Let’s weigh the pro’s and con’s.
Advantages Of Template Website Design
It’s Cost-effective: Understandably, you don’t want to blow all your investment money into creating a website, and end up with nothing left over. Website builders are great to squeeze into a tight budget, as you can get a pretty decent website theme for an affordable price, or even for free if you’re willing to sacrifice some features.
It Fits Your Time Constraints: Perhaps you’ve been so focused on developing your business processes and products/services that the topic of the website simply kept slipping your mind. If your business is due to launch in a matter of weeks, your best option is to build a website via a template. Customizing the theme will take a couple of hours, even less if you had previous experience in coding. This brings us to our next point…
It’s Simple To Create Even Without Coding Knowledge: You don’t have to be a professional developer to create a functional and beautiful website. All the basic alterations are accessible via drag-and-drop features in the respective builders. And after a tutorial or two, you’ll be ready to perform even some more complex changes on the website, customizing it completely to your needs. Website building platforms owe their user-friendliness to the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) mechanism that enables one-one-one correspondence between your site editing process and the final result that is visible to users.
Disadvantages Of Template Website Design
It’s Not Overly Customizable: You’re probably now wondering what on Earth are we talking about —we’ve just said how easy it is to add content, change colors, and transform the layout of a website theme. Without coding. With a couple of online tutorials. But hear us out.
Your website’s looks are only the tip of the iceberg — the remainder of it is present in the code. It’s the code Google sees and uses to rank your website in the search results. It’s the code that determines your site’s performance, such as loading speed, responsiveness on mobiles, etc. Thus, website builders aren’t that customizable as many would have you believe.
It Gives You What You Don’t Need: Website themes come with a bunch of excess code that overwhelms your site’s performance. As someone unfamiliar with code, you’ll be happy to see the site live and running; however, these BTS elements, such as loads of unnecessary plugins, may hinder your website from ever reaching the top.
It Doesn’t Give You Everything You Need: Templates are great for simple websites with minimal functionalities, such as presentational websites with several product/services pages, a blog, about us, and a contact page. However, once you’re past the basics and need, for example, a booking feature, website builders may fail.
It Lacks Unique Qualities: Customizing templates in terms of the site’s looks is finite. Your website will look the same as dozens of other sites that used the same template, and, most importantly, your website won’t have the brand vibe as it should in order to attract potential clients.
It’s Not SEO- Or User-friendly: The majority of templates aren’t built to stick to the latest SEO practices, and the clutter in the website code makes later optimization efforts even harder. Moreover, site themes are usually unresponsive and not mobile-friendly; they take ages to fully load and provide almost no security to users, which is especially important in case you require their data.
Custom Website Design
Mid-size and larger companies, multinational corporations, eCommerce platforms, businesses that rely on providing special online services, and everyone who wants to truly impact their industry should opt for a custom web design.
Advantages Of Custom Website Design
It’s Created By Experts: Imagine an entire team of digital specialists that analyze your competitors, audience expectations, and industry trends and integrate those insights into your website. Testings and modifications are run incessantly, and all aspects of the website are taken into consideration from the very start.
It’s Unique, Customizable, And Tailored To Your Needs: We don’t have to delve much into why custom design is, well, custom. It’s a design made to fit your brand, and in the development stage, you get only those features you actually need. In case you require further changes once the site is live, you’ve got an entire team to help you out.
It’s Built For Your Audience:Should a dental clinic, a children’s toy store, and a marketing agency all have the same website design? No. And in fact, when visiting these websites, people unconsciously expect different designs, features, and content. Opting for a custom design makes meeting your clients’ expectations easy and simple.
It’s Secure And Optimized: Custom web solutions provide better performance and safety and are thus more favorable in the eyes of users and Google alike. People will find the UX intuitive and straightforward, whereas search engines will reward your efforts with good rankings.
Disadvantages Of Custom Website Design
It’s Expensive And It Can Be A Lengthy Process: Going custom has only two downsides — it takes time, and the costs can pile up. For many, custom design prices are a deal-breaker, even though they are aware that tailored solutions give them value for their money.
What’s The Verdict?
Your deciding factor in whether you’ll go custom or use a template will probably be the budget you can allocate for your website.
Custom design is much more expensive, yet it offers immeasurable website security, performance, features, and possibilities. On the other hand, if you’re tight on time and low on budget and are only setting out to build your brand, website builders can be a beneficial temporary solution.