Custom Website Vs. Template Website: Which Is Best For You?

When it comes to creating a new website, most people don’t have the first idea where to start. Although there are a lot of different website design and development tools available now, they still require some skill to utilize. Many organizations will then turn to a website design and development firm like Inclind to have them build a website on their behalf.

The first question that many agencies will ask is whether the client wants a custom or template website. Both websites can be functional and effective, but custom websites are typically more scalable, customized, and flexible. However, custom websites tend to cost more and take more time to build - which is why a template website is often a popular choice.

Inclind is dedicated to helping our clients get the best possible website for their needs and budget. We will help you understand your options based on your needs, goals, budget, and timeline - and then work to bring your vision to life. To learn more, reach out to talk to a member of our award-winning website design and development team.

Understanding the Difference Between a Custom and Template Website

Most modern websites are built using a content management system (CMS), which is a type of software that allows users to easily and quickly build, update, and maintain a website without a lot of coding knowledge. There are a number of different CMS platforms available, the most popular of which is WordPress. Other top contenders include options like Drupal, Joomla, and Adobe Experience Manager.

When using a CMS, a site can typically be built from scratch - known as a custom website design. Alternatively, the website can be built using a theme or template. With this type of build - known as a template website - the basic design of the website is already set, and you have the opportunity to change and customize features.

There are benefits and drawbacks to each type of site. Generally, the right type of website for you will depend on your needs, your timeline, your website goals, and your budget. Read on to learn more about each type of website - and which you should choose for your website design.

Custom Websites: Pros and Cons

Let’s face it: when given a choice between something custom-made just for you and a mass-produced option, most people will choose the customized version. That is the beauty of custom websites: you get exactly what you want, from design and branding to functionality.

Pros of a Custom Website

With a custom website, you have a lot of flexibility. There isn’t a limit on graphics, design, or functionality. If your website development team can code it, then you can put almost anything on your custom site.

At the same time, custom websites are easier to update and expand. If your company or organization expands, changes its direction, or experiences another major event, then it will often be easy to just add some new features to the site. When it comes to CMS updates, it is also typically a simpler process to ensure that your website is running the latest version - without worrying that the update will impact a template or theme.

There are also a lot of ways to make your website better with a custom site. This can include building in technical search engine optimization (SEO) or adding customintegrations. You can also truly brand your website, adding features to ensure that your branding is carried through with each detail, large and small.

Cons of a Custom Website

There are two drawbacks to a custom website: time and cost. A custom site requires quite a bit of work on the part of your website design and development team, which takes time. If you need a website in the next few weeks, a custom website won’t be the best choice.

Similarly, if your budget is relatively small, then a fully customized website is probably not the right option. Again, these types of websites take time and work, and that requires money. While a custom website is a great investment, if you don’t have the budget for it, then it may not be worth the expense.

Template Websites: Pros and Cons

A template site allows an organization or individual to build a website quickly and for minimal cost. It is a great option if you want a relatively simple website, such as a basic storefront. 

Pros of a Template Website

There are several key advantages to using a template website. First, template sites are relatively easy to use because most of the coding is already done. This also means that a template is often the best way to get a website launched quickly. If you already have content ready, then a template website can often be launched within just a few weeks.

In the past, template websites were pretty obvious, because they simply did not allow for a lot of customization. Today, templates are much more sophisticated and well-designed. This means that even without a ton of coding experience, you can usually create a great website using a template or theme.

One of the biggest advantages of template websites is cost. These types of websites are often far less expensive to develop because the majority of the coding is already done. Even if you hire a website developer to help you with the process and customize the template, it will still likely be far less expensive than a fully custom website.

Cons of a Template Website

However, there are disadvantages to doing a template website. While it is possible to add a fair amount of customization, the most popular website themes have been downloaded thousands of times. This means that your website might look like everyone else’s - even if you add your own branding and custom features.

More expensive templates do allow for a fair degree of customization. However, you are still working within the parameters of the template or theme. In some cases, this may mean that your website won’t have the functionality or look that you want.

While there are a lot of truly great templates or themes available, these pieces of software aren’t always high quality. If they aren’t well-coded or well-maintained, then it could make your site less secure, poorer quality, and more vulnerable to hacking. It can also cause issues if certain features are not compatible with your template, such as payment integrations through PayPal, Stripe, or another payment processor.

Should You Create a Custom Website or a Template Website?

The question of whether your organization should get a custom or a template website is a deeply personal one. To answer it, you will need to examine the reason why you want to build a website (goals), the functionality that you want your website to have, your timeline, and your budget.  If you aren’t limited by budget or timeline, then a custom website is usually the best option to avoid limitations on functionality, scalability, and branding. Over time, the initial investment in a custom website will usually pay for itself - and you may even save money when it comes to ongoing site maintenance and updates.

That being said, a template website can be great - particularly if you use a website design and development company to help you choose a theme and then customize it for you. Website templates have significantly advanced since the early days of WordPress and other CMS platforms. It is now more than possible to get a fantastic website using a template - without blowing your budget.

A website design and development company can help you work through the decision-making process. After listening to your needs, wants, and limitations, they will advise you on the best option based on what they can achieve with a template website versus what you could get with a custom site.  In this way, you can make a more informed decision about what will work best for your needs.

Want to Build an Incredible Website? Inclind Can Help

In an ideal world, every organization would have both the time and the money to build a custom website. Although custom websites are the gold standard, there are still a lot of benefits to a template website. With advances in technology, it is even possible to build a highly customized website with a template or theme for a fraction of the cost of a custom website.

Based in Delaware, Inclind works with nonprofits, businesses, member organizations, and other entities throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. We collaborate with our clients to create highly effective, visually appealing websites - whether you want a fully custom site or a modified template website. Our services include website design and redesignconversion optimizationcustom integrationsaccessibility audits, automation, and ongoing support and maintenance

Interested in learning more about our website design and development services? Fill out our online contact form or hit the live chat button to talk to one of our experts about your website.

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