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Why Custom Website Design Over Templates?

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When it comes to creating an online presence for your business, you want to make sure a lot of factors have been met. A well designed website has credibility and makes a statement to others.

However, many feel that custom web design might not be an affordable solution and defer to using a template that might be free or purchased from a theme directory. This is a question we are asked all too often at time4design. To make life easier, we thought it would be good to compare the advantages and disadvantages, and why hiring a professional design company should be your first thought.


Custom Design: A new website to us is like starting a new book. We take the time to understand and learn exactly what it is your business does, this way we can identify what is required to create a successful website design fine tuned to your target audience. Custom design will be a continuation of your company branding, creating a consistent, unified voice thought all off your marketing materials.

Template Design: Although some templates look quite modern and incredibly dynamic, it most certainly it is not custom. Templates are not unique and purchased by many other businesses just like yours. Although content and imagery used is unique to your own business, it is quite clear to the trained eye that the foundation is template based and comes across as quite unprofessional. A good analogy for comparison would be to ask yourself why would you want to use a logo that another business uses, but with a different color palette? Sound ridiculous? Essentially, it is the same idea.

User Experience

Custom Design: Probably the most important factor of a website is its usability. It is a critical process that your target audience easily find information and reach their end goal. The architecture of a company’s website will be designed specifically to engage with your audience.

Template Design: What you see is what you get! In most cases the navigation structure will be set with little flexibility of control.

Search Engine Optimization

Custom Design: Typically a custom website will be optimized correctly for SEO. Well ahead of time your web design company will have discussed what is important to you and best practices for targeting keywords in well written content.

Template Design: Quite the opposite of above, although content might be SEO friendly, the design of the website may fail in some crucial factors that impact a well optimized website. Performance and speed being one of them, typically a template fails in potentially poor coding practices or slowing the website down due to many resources being used (and actually not needed). In most cases templates will need a helping hand from additional scripts or plugins to boost SEO.


Custom Design: A professional website team will understand all of the elements integrated with your website. Custom design will be created in a format that will allow you to simply add content and imagery. Should there be a technical issue, it can easily be diagnosed and corrected.

Template Design: Pay attention to a templates technical specifications, this will be the key to how easily managed it will be. If there is a problem or some part of the website has failed, it is more than likely that the template will need updating by the original developer who created it. Many CMS platforms such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc come out with regular software updates. It could be one of these updates that creates an incompatible template! In some cases the developer may no longer support your template, which, for you means searching for something new.

Templates are best choice for:

  • Personal and small business startups where a there is a limited budget
  • Branding has not be established
  • Quick delivery where a timeline might be a factor (such as a week)
  • Short-term solutions such as donation websites.
  • Patience!

Custom Websites are best choice for:

  • A website that has been designed to expand and grow with your business
  • You have a strict branding guideline
  • Regular updates to content
  • Complex layout and navigation structure
  • A CMS custom designed to allow speed, performance and accessibility

As with all best marketing practices, think of your audience first and what you need from your new website, and be confident to choose a reliable web design and development company that will not cause any disappointment (such as time4design).