Custom Designed Sites Versus Website Templates

Website Templates

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Let’s start by simply stating that there is no right or wrong way to go here when talking about a completely custom-designed website from a professional graphic designer, or a pre-made website template also professionally made. The decision of which way to go will be broken down into a few factors to consider.

A template is a pre-designed theme containing all the common generic elements and sections a site should have. A custom design is something completely original and tailored to fit the client’s needs, branding, functionality, and message.

When given these two options, the biggest, most obvious factor is how you view your own business or company. It’s extremely unlikely that anybody wakes up in the morning and says to themself, “I want to start a company that is exactly like another company.” The things most people do within their company are probably not going to be the exact same as any other company, even if that other company has a successful business model.

Most people will want to switch it up a little bit, whether, regarding philosophies, branding, marketing strategies, or business personality, there are almost always strong differences. So this is the main question to ask when deciding on a website, do you want something completely fresh and original built from the ground up, or do you want to appear similar or the same as another company’s aesthetics?

The Cost

This is probably the main factor for most people who are in need of a web presence. It all comes down to the cost and the budget allotted for this super important endeavor.

For those looking for a basic site with bare-bones functionality, typically a blog or some sort of informational site only, a custom design may be worth spending the extra money because there isn’t much need to spend on additional development or integrations. On the other hand, those companies who have a strict budget, and require lots of functionality and development on the site may be better suited for a template design because most of the project budget will be used up in the additional development and coding.

If your needs are more in marketing and you’re looking for a landing page to run advertising traffic to, or creating multiple silo pages or location pages for SEO purposes, a website template will do just fine, Spending a whole lot of extra money for these purposes are oftentimes unnecessary.


As mentioned above, a website intended for informational purposes, or a blog for example usually doesn’t require any type of specific additional development or functionality. A simple contact form or sign up form is all that is required. In these cases, a pre-built template may be just fine for this application. But again, you’re sacrificing originality, creativity, and sometimes brand awareness when deciding on a template.

Websites that involve comprehensive functionality and coding can very well be developed on a template, but the design might not always perform as well as you would like it to with a custom design solution. When mapping out the requirements for a new project, the graphic designer can envision all the functionality needed, and design the website around every specific detail for the finished product.

Branding and creativity

For those companies or individuals with a strong focus on branding and brand recognition, there is no better solution than a custom-designed website for your brand. Why risk a user recognizing your design from another company, or the overall design appearing repetitive, dull, or boring? If your focus is on your brand, logo, and color scheme, a template website is typically not a great solution.

It is true that you can change colors and logos as well as images on a template, but the overall design cannot be tweaked as much as you might like it to be.

Website Turnaround Time

A site launched from a template can be fully operational in about a week or two in most cases. Adversely, it would be hard to imagine getting a fully custom designed website up and running in less than 45 days, however. If you’re on a time crunch to launch that new site, the time frame should be a consideration when making this decision.

Thinking into the future

Once you’ve decided what type of design is best suited for your application, you will then have to decide how often you will actually access the back end of the website. How technically savvy are you?

You can find and hire a developer to apply your choice, whether fully custom and original or a website theme, to basically any kind of CMS, typically using PSD files. For example, the design can typically be built on WordPress, Shopify, Weebly, or even a fully coded HTML solution.

This part of the equation is also very important as we look into the future and how expandable the back end and functionality of your website will be for you. Again, if your demands are for more functionality and features on the website for users, the more technical it will be. This usually means frequent maintenance costs and more expensive upgrades along the way.

Which way do we go?

It’s obvious that this decision comes down to budget and cost, but hopefully, we can bring up a few other key points to help you make this important decision. Any business investment is to be considered as a long-term investment, whether it’s a $300 template website or a $3,000 fully customized design.

For the first time business owner, investing his or her life savings into their all-important website, branding will be a very important aspect of the company, and the custom design should be considered in this instance. But for those established business owners or companies who are just looking for a quick solution where branding is not critical, a pre-designed website template will do the trick.

For some examples of the templates we offer, please visit

About the Author
Owner of Direct Allied Agency, Kevin Khoury standing outside and looking into the camera