Jul 10 2018

Templates vs Custom Layout: What makes a better website?

Posted by Charisma Felix , ,

In this era where almost all the target consumers are online, a company’s website plays a big role in marketing their business. From the design up to the basic contents, the website has to be done strategically to provide a positive user experience – which can later turn into possible conversions. And because of the future of a company’s success lies within the success of its website, it only means one thing: your website has to be remarkable.

Generally speaking, if a website is displeasing to the eye or is outrageously outdated, it can create a negative impact to the brand – which can be a great advantage to the competitors. That’s why it’s important to have an easy-to-use and visually-enticing website for your brand. But how are you going to start creating the website that will help boost your online business? To start with, it’s important for you to understand that there are two types of web design: custom and template.

A custom web design is creating a unique web page based on the needs of the company or the business. From the layout to the user experience, developers create the site based on the target market, client’s preferred functionalities, and current site traffic. Basically, it’s created from scratch.

A website template, on the other hand, is a set of HTML webpages that are readily available for anyone to use for their site. Developers will just “plug in” the company’s own content and images to make the website look ‘personalised’. In layman’s term, it’s pre-designed or pre-made. It can be purchased online through different web developing platforms such as WordPress.

So, how can this article help you decide? In this blog, we will list down all the factors that a brand should consider when it comes to creating their own website, and we will point out if it’s beneficial to use a custom design or to just purchase a web design template.

Let the battle begin…

 

Design and Uniqueness

Custom Design: Personalization is the selling point when it comes to discussing design and uniqueness for custom websites. If you will create your site from scratch, you will have the opportunity to personalize the design of your website (as in literally however you want it to look like). Moreover, you can create a site that is in line with your company’s culture and personality. You can build your own template that can be easily adjusted depending on the needs of your business. 

Web Template: There’s a high chance that someone else is using the same template as yours, it’s a fact. With the most recent and popular templates available, there’s a less possibility of being unique. Yes, you can change the color and the fonts but the users will be able to see that your website is quite identical to the others. Also, you cannot change the built template; the personalization ends on colors, fonts, and images.

Verdict: We give 1 point to custom design for this argument. Since your website is your online image, it’s better to go for a custom web design. Choosing a pre-made template is like wearing the same type of shirt but with different colors. It gives you an identity but it’s common and wouldn’t make you stand out. You have to go for something that is uniquely yours.

 

Customization and Flexibility

Custom Design: Same with the previous element, a custom website offers a more flexible and expandable customization. You can always discuss with your web developer to come up with unique ideas that can make your web features unique and personal based on your own branding principles. These custom features can make it easier for you to manage our website, and your business. Basically, you can put anything and everything that you feel is going to be helpful for your company.

Web Template: If the website is already existing, there are less options to customize – your company logo, header images, and background color. It’s as simple as “what you see is what you get”. Same goes with the features and functionality, once you use a web template, you are tied with whatever is only available based on what the design creator included in his layout. But, since pre-designed websites are built with basic functionalities, there will be an ease to the user’s experience.

Verdict: In terms of customization and functionality, it really depends on the needs of the business. If you are a company that do not really need much features or you just want to have plain website that posts blogs from time to time, a templated site may already be good – plus, there’s a guarantee on positive user experience because of its simplicity. But, if you want to have a more interactive, techy, and out of the box website with unique functionalities, you go for a custom design.

Thus, we give a point for both categories.

 

Support

Custom Design: If you have a team of web experts that creates and maintains your website, then you’re sure to have unlimited time of support. Since these developers created your site from scratch, they will be able to troubleshoot and fix bugs before the situation gets worst – which makes your downtime a little less.

Web Template: You may be able to track down the author of your web template but there’s no guarantee that they will support you when the going gets tough. Also, if you purchase a template online, the support may be a little too generic and it may not actually resolve your issue right away. This may cause a lot of downtime for your online business.

Verdict: For better tech support, you can count on custom designs. If you are working with a professional – instead of using templates – for your website, you can always get in touch with them for any issues.It’s good to have a support system.

 

That’s 2 for Custom Design and 1 for Web Template.

 

Cost

Custom Design: A little expensive. Since your website is going to be built based on your own specifications and it should be adaptable to the company’s needs, then there’s sure to be a professional fee for that. Incorporating your brand to the overall layout and design of your website requires creativity, skills, and conceptualization. Thus, it requires more investment.

Web Template: A little cheaper. Aside from the fact that web themes or templates are cheaper, it also comes in a package – which means that from the design up to the functionalities, and also some platform offer domain hosting. Basically, it’s an all-in-one charge.

Verdict: For a business, saving expenses is quite a huge factor to consider. When it comes to the cost, a web template might be a good way to go. For a custom design, more webpages means more expenses. But for a template, you can maximise the allowed number of pages for the same amount. Web templates got the point for this aspect.

 

That’s 2 points for Custom Design and also 2 for Web Template.

 

Timing and Stability

Custom Design: Originality takes time, yes. Web development typically takes about a minimum of 4 weeks or up to 12 weeks to finish, depending on the complexity of the design and the fluidity of the testing stage. But, this process saves you more time in the future. Your website will be fit on your specification so the management and maintenance should not be hard. It’s more stable and should have less issues in the future.

Web Template: It’s pre-made, what else can we say? Once you buy the design, you will just have to do a little customization, and it’s good to go. However, there’s no guarantee that you will not encounter issues along the way since it was not tested properly based on the needs of your company.

Verdict: Always choose quality over quantity. The speed of resolution does not necessarily tie with the excellence of the result. Would you like to have a website that will be up immediately and will run smoothly for a couple of weeks but has a high chance of encountering issues in the future, or would you like to have a website that is carefully crafted to perfection that may take a little while but is sure to last a lifetime? Well, looks like this argument made its stand.

 

It’s 3 points for Custom Design and 2 points for Web Template.

 

User Experience

Custom Design: Since you can personalize everything on a custom design, you can create a tailor-fit the user experience based on the behavior of your target audience. You can apply the basic methods of your market study to capture the attention of your visitors.

Web Template: Simplicity is a key to user experience. For web templates, it already shows what an average web user is looking for in a website – about page, services or products, and contact page. It offers ease of access which can save a user’s time.

Verdict: This is a tight competition and may actually fuel a heating discussion. But, come to think of this: how does your company define user experience? Is it just by simply giving the people the ease of navigation or does it include giving them the experience of your products or services? It’s important to build your brand around your website. Thus, a personalize approach on user experience is more important than just the basic needs. User experience should not be tied to navigation, it should also focus on how the website form a communication between your brand and your customers.

 

That’s 4 points for Custom Design over 2 points for Web Template.

 

THE FINAL VERDICT

Now, you might think that deciding which approach to use for your website may be tough – it actually is. The battle between custom and template web designs has been going on for years. Honestly, though, both techniques have its own pros and cons, and whether it’s a plus point for your company or not entirely depends on your needs.

Business-opportunities aside, every brand deserves to create their own image online. You don’t want to be just another website that sells online. Make your online presence more worthwhile.


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