Definitive guide

Website templates vs. Custom designs

Website Templates vs. Custom Design: Which One to Choose?

As a person who wants to start a business and create an excellent online presence, I know you are torn between choosing a website template or hiring a professional designer to create your design. But worry no more since I am here to help you choose between a website template and a custom design.

We all know that designing something is a hard task, especially a website since this acts as the storefront for your business online. You need to make a strong appeal to the market to catch the attention of your target audience.

There are many things to consider when choosing a design for your website, such as navigation, visual appeal, accessibility, and search engine optimization.

This is where website templates and custom designs take place.

It helps to learn about your options before choosing one. Make sure you are aware of the constraints and opportunities presented by both choices. To ensure that the solution enables you to achieve your final goal, you must have complete clarity about your long-term business goals.

What is a website template?

We’ve discussed the definition of website template a lot of times in our articles already, so by now I know you have a brief definition of that word.

A website template is a pre-designed layout that lets you arrange your content onto a web page to create a creative and well-designed website.

You can read our blog that discusses more about website templates.

You can also check out the advantages of using a website template to learn more about website templates.

What is a custom design?

According to Intelivita, a custom design is making a tailor-fit website based on your specific business needs. This means that you have to choose your color scheme and layout, creating the graphics and images that will make your business unique.

A custom design will help you stand out among your competitors since you have your own identity, and you can personalize your website to match your brand.

A custom design will involve more time and effort, which will also cost you more money. You need to have certain technical skills, expertise, and experience e a good custom design. But if not, you can still hire a professional to do it, but of course, it will cost more.


Website templates vs. custom design: which one to choose?

Choosing between the two options can be a hard decision, so here are some factors to consider when deciding when deciding which to choose for your website.

1. Money

You can save money by using template websites that provide pre-packaged designs instead of hiring someone to make them for you. The restrictions that come with them are the sacrifices. At a glance, template sites can appear beautiful, but their quality typically ends there.

A personalized website will cost more, it’s true, but in the long run, it can end up saving you money. Some businesses try to change templates to perform tasks they were not designed to perform instead of developing a custom website. 

2. Time

Depending on the size and complexity of the features, a good customized website takes at least 2 to 4 months to launch. There are simply too many moving components in this process to speed it up.

So you will probably have to settle for a website template if you need to establish a website quickly—whether it’s for a product launch, an event, or just plain impatience.

3. Uniqueness 

Many websites offer website templates, so other businesses may be utilizing the same one as you. If you work with the proper web team, they can tweak the template just enough to set you apart from the competition. 

You have greater creative freedom with custom websites, which makes it simpler to stand out from the competition. The site is tailored to fit you rather than pushing a template to fit your brand, which frequently results in much stronger and more distinctive online branding.

4. Site update

Most website builders make it simple to modify your template site without a programmer’s help. Make sure you choose a website builder with a user-friendly content management system (CMS) and excellent support if you want to frequently alter the content of your website on your own. 

It’s unnecessary to hire a programmer to make updates for you just because you have a personalized website. Either they’ll construct an admin area where you can simply change material, or they’ll integrate an existing CMS. Do not forget to request instructions on how to make updates.

5. Mobile friendly

The fact that template sites frequently don’t function well across devices is one disadvantage of website templates. On the desktop, they frequently look fantastic, but on mobile, they are a complete nightmare.

Your web team can ensure that the user experience is wonderful on every device, from the largest desktop screen to the smallest phone, because they have complete control over a custom site.

6. Flexibility and functionality

In reality, website templates are a “one size fits all” approach. They include a ton of extra features that you might or might not require, and these features lead to coding conflicts if you ever try to expand the functionality of your site.

Contrarily, a custom website allows you the freedom to adjust your spending and add features as you see fit. Your developer will create the site particularly to meet your current goals while making sure it is easily expandable as your business expands.

7. Loading speed

Sites using templates frequently load slowly and operate poorly. This is not only annoying for users, but it also negatively impacts your search engine rankings. Google does not tolerate slow websites.

They typically use modern methods and current development approaches when creating custom websites. Because of this, they are quicker and more dependable than templates. Fast load times can contribute to a better user experience.

8. Target market

It’s important to think about your target audience’s preferences. A customized design can help you mold the website to better suit the needs of particular industries or demographic groups that may have particular design expectations.

Since website templates can be a little hard to personalize, they may find some elements lacking. So, you need to exert more effort to be enticing to the eyes of your target market.

9. Maintenance

Consider the level of continuous support and maintenance needed for your website

A customized design allows you greater control over maintenance and the freedom to select your own support choices as opposed to a template, which may depend on the template provider for updates and problem patches.


Your decision between a website template and custom web design will typically come down to your professional requirements and personal preferences. 

A custom website is almost always the best option for businesses that don’t have time or money constraints. There are too many restrictions on brand expression, functionality, and scalability that come with website templates. Any upfront savings they provide will typically result in you paying more in the long run. 

A custom website is created especially for your requirements, crafted to reflect the distinctive personality and positioning of your company, and set up to expand with you in the future.

I hope this article has made your choice simpler. Don’t worry if you’re still undecided; you can always start with a template site and upgrade to a customized one later. 


How much does a custom design cost?

If you decide to utilize a website builder, the monthly cost might be as low as $9.99; however, utilizing WordPress raises the cost to somewhere between $11 and $50. With an initial cost of nearly $10,000, hiring a website designer is the most expensive choice.

Can I still customize a website template to match my brand’s identity?

Of course, you still can, but there will be limitations on the elements that you can modify. But you do not need to worry if you already have a vision in your mind and are creative.

What SEO factors should I consider when choosing between a website template and a custom design?

When choosing between a template and a custom design, you need to make sure that the loading speed of your website will be fast. That is one factor that you should consider since it can affect your ranking when you have a slow-loading website.

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Ralph de Groot – My Codeless Website

My name is Ralph de Groot. I'm the founder and author at My Codeless Website. Wake me up for a great web design. I love writing about website examples, too!

PS: Want to know my favorite tools for building a website? 👇