Custom Web Design or Website Template?

Why do they make jeans for men and jeans for women? They craft both from denim and minus the bling; they look the same. We all know why. Men’s and women’s jeans fit differently. A man can put on a pair of women’s jeans, and they will cover, but they won’t feel good. It’s the same with websites. An off-the-rack website that hasn’t been specifically designed to fit the shape of your business will never look or feel quite right. Therefore, you need to weigh the pros and cons of custom web design vs website templates.

Weighing the Cost of Customer Web Design

It is true that custom web design costs more than using website templates. However, you must consider the hidden costs of web design and one of the biggest is the lost opportunities.

Stand Out from the Crowd

First, let’s consider the purpose of your website. Nobody invests time and money building a beautiful site just to have it sit. No! A site is designed to attract and convert customers.

To attract clients you must stand out from the crowd. For instance, let’s say you sell musical instruments. Your potential customer searches Google for ‘trumpets for sale,’ and it returns almost 15 million hits. I know, because I just did it.

Of those that came up on the first page, there were a few ads, Amazon, and a listing on Craigslist. I wanted a reputable source, where I coul research some of my questions before buying. There were three choices besides those I mentioned, so I clicked on all three. Two of them looked exactly alike. They had small pictures, very little information, and gave me an uneasy – hey, I threw this together to make a quick buck – kind of feeling.

Then there was Musician’s Friend. Now, I am not promoting them as a seller of instruments. I am only commenting on their web design. It was clean and easy to navigate. The layout was perfect for the type of products they sell. Most of all, it stood out as ‘different’ than the others. Right or wrong, I received the impression that this was a reputable and serious music company.

The two websites built using website templates probably cost less, but they did not appeal to me, a serious customer. Truth be told, I was a serious customer. There was a reason I used trumpets as my example.

What is Custom Web Design?

Unfortunately, many people don’t understand the difference between custom web design vs website templates. There are web design companies that advertise custom web design. However, they offer a series of pre-design templates with some basic customization, such as inserting your logo, changing a background color, or moving a few links around. This type of design is NOT custom web design.

When you purchase a custom web design, your web developer writes every bit of code from scratch with your company in mind. All images are unique to your website, and there won’t be another like it on the internet. At Thomas Digital, we feel so strongly about unique design that we don’t even reuse our rejected designs. Since they were tailor-made for that particular business, they won’t work well for anyone else.

The Benefits of Having a Custom Web Design

We’ve already detailed a couple of advantages you get from a custom web design.

  • A Unique Look that Helps You Stand Out from the Crowd
  • A More Reputable Appearance
  • Coding That’s Developed Specifically for Your Business

However, there are several more benefits you can expect from a custom website.

Most businesses have multiple audiences, both internal and external. Custom programming can deliver two messages from one platform. Reporting and password-protected pages are two things that are possible with a custom design.

Here is the ultimate benefit – you don’t have to settle or make compromises. With website templates, you might find one or even two of the features you want on your site. However, it’s not likely you will ever find a template that has them all. To change a template, you could have to hire a web programmer, which means you end up paying the same amount of money as if you had just had it custom designed in the first place.

Website Templates Have Their Place

For a start-up trying to do a proof of concept, a website template is not a bad choice. You can put together a site for only a few hundred dollars in about a week. They allow you to see what you like and don’t like about a website. For instance, you may find that the opt-in pages don’t allow for password protected access. The homepage banner may cause loading problems. By documenting these issues, you can better plan for your customized website.

Another instance when website templates make sense is if your company is smaller. For example, a home daycare might want a site where they can post FAQs, policies, rates, and license information. This would only require one or two web pages. A simple website template would make sense.

However, if your company plans to do business over the internet, or has a modest-to-large amount of traffic, then your site needs a few more bells and whistles.

Free Mock-Up Offer

One of the best ways you can find out how a custom web design could benefit your company is to get one – for FREE! That’s right. We offer a completely free, no-risk Free Mock-Up of your website. If you don’t like it, you can say no thank you, and there are no hard feelings. We are so confident in what we offer that we are willing to put in the time and effort without a single penny.  Take a look at some of the beautiful sites we have built for our clients in our Gallery and then call us and see what we can do for you.

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