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Template Website Design vs Custom Website Design

Published: June 04 2009

Being an interactive agency with a focus on custom website design and development, we are often asked to compare the benefits of custom website design and template website design. So, if you are considering these two options for your next website project, this article should help clear up some questions or concerns you might have on the subject.

Firstly, in order to provide an accurate comparison, we find it necessary to define custom website
design and template website design using language from DotCom Media's world and our methodology
in how we approach our projects:

  • Custom website design – a unique website design created from scratch to reinforce a unique message and help convert “website visitors” into “business leads”, or “online shoppers” to online customers”. Based on a thorough needs assessment (including: goals and requirements of the project; a clear understanding of the target audience; etc.), design treatments tailored to a business' unique needs are presented for approval and incorporated into the finished website to help create a positive branding and / or shopping experience.
  • Template website design – a pre-built, ready-made website design template that can be purchased and downloaded as a basis for fast, high-quality website production. Some customization is almost always required to meet the unique needs of a business and help create a positive branding and / or shopping experience.

The benefits of template website design:

  • A template design is pre-built and as such, is a cheaper and faster means of websitedevelopment. A custom website design and development project can often take 3 months to complete. Using a template design effectively takes the needs assessment and design out of the project timeline and budget. Time is money.
  • When shopping for the right template design for your business website, there is a huge selection of designs to choose from. Many of the websites that sell template designs offer a user-friendly shopping experience to help you narrow down the search for the right design. Sometimes it's better to have your website development firm handle the search for you and provide you with several designs they have chosen that will meet the technical development requirements of your project.
  • A template design eliminates some of the intangible experience of the custom website design process. When shopping for your template design, you have the ability to see what your getting as the online image for your business with very little upfront cost.

The benefits of custom website design:

  • An original website design is tailored to your business' unique needs. Your website will be different, and this is important when you consider the ever-increasing competition online. When you started your business it was because you had something different to offer, an alternative in the marketplace. Your website should reflect this.
  • A thorough needs assessment accurately identifies all requirements for your website based on a long-term, value-added strategy. Your website will have future online business goals considered and incorporated into the original concept. When the time comes to grow your business' online presence, the updates to the design will be easier as the plan is already in place.
  • A custom design considers and incorporates the latest innovations in website design and online interactive architecture. For example, computer monitors and consequently website viewing dimensions are expanding all the time. As part of the needs assessment process, a designer looks at your target audience demographics, considers long-term demographics and technology trends and incorporates website viewing dimensions into the design that will maximize the positive online experience you want to have with your audience.
  • A custom website design is more easily adaptable / customizable. You are working with the original creator that has access to all of the original elements, artwork, etc. that went into the original concept, therefore designs are easier to update or further customize.
  • An original, custom website design accurately and efficiently incorporates the content management system and other database / software solutions required to meet your online business needs. Although there are many template designs to choose from, many designs do not consider content management systems or only consider specific solutions. This significantly reduces the amount of design templates to choose from.

Whether it's in your business' best interest to go with a custom website design or a template design,
your website needs to project a professional image. The more professional looking your business is, the
more credible your business looks to your potential customers.