When you consider creating a new website, you will soon be faced with an important dilemma. Are you going to bet on an existing website template as the basis for your new site, or are you going for a unique design by choosing a custom web design? A tricky question if you can’t assess the difference between the two options. But don’t worry, in this article, we’ll tell you exactly what the pros and cons are of both options.
What is the Main Difference?
Let’s start by explaining the main difference between creating a website from scratch and using an existing template.
A template is an existing format in which the design and part of the functionality of the website are fixed. This website template is linked to a Content Management System (CMS) such as WordPress to create a fully-fledged site. However, not all of the templates out there are 100% responsive.
With a custom website, first, a unique design is created. Then the technical realisation of the website follows, where the design is combined with the desired functionalities. A custom site is also equipped with a CMS, for example, CMS Made Simple.
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The Pros and Cons of Website Templates
The easiest way to start a website is to set up a WordPress site and apply a template purchased from ThemeForest, Elegant Themes, or Template Monster. These websites offer a wide range of templates that are created for different kind of purposes. Think about an e-commerce website or a marketplace; it’s all available for purchase.
One of the biggest advantages of existing templates is that the site can be realised relatively quickly for an attractive price. In addition, better or premium templates are often equipped with extensive possibilities to determine the layout of the website. Additional functionality, such as a contact form and social media buttons are usually included by default.
But there are also some disadvantages to this solution. First of all, the layout is not unique, so in fact, your competitor can set up a similar website using the same template. By applying your own corporate style you can offer something different from the rest, but not much more than adjusting the colours, fonts, or logos. In other words, basic changes.
Another drawback is that website templates usually have a slow loading speed. This is the direct consequence of the abundance of functionality. Even when unnecessary functions are disabled, the loading speed is not optimal. This can negatively affect the SEO, as Google and other search engines rank fast websites higher in search results. Besides, it’s also more pleasant for the visitor if the website responds quickly.
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The Pros and Cons of Custom Web Design
Customised websites involve a team behind the whole concept of your website. They will help you to get through the creative process, so you can reach your target audience with the right features and design. The biggest advantage of a custom web design is therefore that it will help your website to stand out from the crowd which will give you a competitive advantage. On SEO level it certainly has its advantages too as custom websites are more search engine friendly than website templates.
A custom web design not only adapts better to your business needs but also offers you the opportunity to integrate the corporate identity of your company. Moreover, the website can be expanded in terms of functionalities at the pace that your company grows. For example, you might want to link your website to a database of an external system at a later stage. In that case, a template website will soon run into limitations.
Developing a custom web design requires knowledge and expertise. That is why this option is more expensive than buying a ready-to-use template. It also takes longer to create a website from scratch due to the complex development process and the personalised UX and UI. In return, you get an authentic website with a design that fits perfectly. But also the functionality works exactly the way you want it to work and meets the optimum loading speed.
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How to Make the Right Choice?
Now that we’ve discussed the pros and cons of both options, the question is which solution better suits your company. Often the choice between a website template and a custom web design is based on the available budget. Nevertheless, we recommend you to carefully determine which of the other aspects are truly important for your business.
In reality, we see that small entrepreneurs and self-employed people more frequently go for a website template and that’s truly enough for them. The larger organisations and companies generally need more customisation and flexibility.
In the infographic below we have listed the most important aspects that can help you to make a final decision.
Are you looking for help to develop a custom web design? We are happy to help you out by giving you advice and providing you with the right solution!