Custom or templated? Beautiful bespoke, or quick and simplified? Whether we’re talking about a website redo or creating your first online presence, it’s a difficult decision to make. So here are the key differences between custom websites and templated websites, to help you figure out what might be best for you and your business.
Let's start with cost efficiency, because let's be honest, a “new website” often has dollar signs popping up in front of your eyes immediately. Template websites are generally less expensive than custom websites because the templates are pre-made and don't require the same level of customisation. Many templates are paid, however the cost of purchasing these templates is still less than the UX, design and development of a website from scratch.
Custom websites, on the other hand, are planned, designed and built from the ground up, which requires a lot more time and effort. However, keep in mind that a custom website may be a better long-term investment because it can be tailored to your specific needs, for example if you have plans to grow or add other complex elements to your business.
Design and Build Time
When it comes to design and build time, templates are faster to set up because the layout and design elements are already in place. There is still room to make the website your own with your brand, colours and fonts etc. however the skeleton is there and often it's a proven design that works well to guide people through the information you are displaying.
Custom websites, on the other hand, take longer to design and build because everything is created from scratch. However, the extra time invested in a custom website can result in a more unique and personalised design that stands out from your competitors.
Custom Features and Add-Ons
If you need specific features or add-ons for your website, a custom website is the way to go. With a custom website, you can build in exactly what you need, whereas templates have limitations on what features can be added. If you're not sure what features you need, your website team can help you identify the best options for your business during the website planning phase.
There are still options to add custom features on templated websites, this often means additional time and cost, depending on what the features are.
Design Elements & Uniqueness
When it comes to design elements, both custom and template websites can look great. The key is to choose a design that fits your brand and communicates the right message to your target audience. Custom websites have more flexibility when it comes to design elements, and they are always going to be more unique than a template website because it's built specifically for your business.
However with a template, you can still customise the colours, fonts, and images to some extent. You often can’t tell a templated website is from a template as the ability to customise the design is so extensive.
Some Epic Examples
There are great examples of both custom and template websites out there. For a custom website example, check out the website for grief experts Coping With Loss. Their website has a unique and personalised design that perfectly reflects their brand and key illustrations that support their key messages.
On the other hand, the FrostBoss website is a great example of a templated website. While it uses a pre-made template in Webflow, the design has been customised to fit their brand and communicate the key messages about their impressive Frost Fans.
So, all in all choosing between a custom website and a templated website depends entirely on the needs and budget of your business. If you have specific features you need or want a more unique design, a custom website is the way to go. However, if you're looking for a more cost-effective and faster option, that can still be totally ownable and reflect your brand, a template website may be the better choice. Remember, whoever you are working with to create your website should be able to help you navigate the options and create a website that meets your needs and fits your budget.
At Virtual Marketers we create bespoke or templated websites through our Website Fundamental Service. We’ll work with you to determine the best option for your business.