There is much debate at the moment over template based websites and whetehr to choose one of these template website or opt for a professional solution. There is a plethora of companies offering website services as an aside to their main offering such as search engine optimisation or social media that utilise template based websites, but are they any good?

I’ll start by admitting our bias straight up, we create custom solutions to our clients needs however I’ll be listing pros and cons of each method. Regardless of which option you choose, the option has to be the right one for you and your business.

Custom Website

A custom website is one built from scratch, we start with a blank piece of paper, only armed with a wealth of information we glean from you about your business, your requirements, your target market, how you are positioning yourself in the market etc and obviously your own branding.

With this we create a completely unique design that works for you and your customers.

Once you love the design, this is then coded up again from scratch. Only the functionality you need is coded in meaning a lean and fast loading website. We also develop search engine requirements directly in to each page and as the site is coded specifically to you, we make sure it is easy to maintain and manage going forwards.

Pros of a custom website

  • A completely unique design
  • Built exactly to your requirements
  • Matches your branding exactly
  • Fast to load
  • Drives traffic to your website through our SEO
  • No ongoing costs
  • You own the website from the database to the files

Cons of a custom website

  • Longer time to create (we average over 100 hours development on every website we build)
  • Higher initial cost

Template website

There are several different type of template websites, there are the web interface types such as Squarespace and Wix and the use of a CMS such as WordPress using an off the shelf $50 theme. All discuss them generally as they both effectively serve the same purpose in a similar way.

With a template website you simply create an account, choose a template/style of website you like the look of, add your own logo and some allow you to change colours and obviously add your own content. At no point to do delve in to any coding, everything is achieved through a web interface. This is the reason why they are popular amongst companies offering this type of website as an additional service (and even many dedicated web companies using this technique sadly) as they can be built quickly and cheaply.

From choosing your website design and adding your content, your website will be ready in just a couple of hours. When choosing your template, be mindful of the features you need from your website, as you can’t change any code, you can’t add or change these features, instead you have to use them as provided in the template.

As themes are built to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, you may find each theme features sub themes. The same theme can be used by a builder or an interior designer, a car salesman or a beautician etc. Themes often boast of ’20 different header styles’, 6 different sliders, 200 fonts, 150 shortcodes, 6 page layout versions etc. Each of these have to be coded, increasing to load times and complexity of maintenance.

Typical theme options

Pros of a template website

  • Time – a template website typically takes a couple of hours to set up
  • Initial cost – quick and easy set up should result in a low setup fee
  • Little involvement from customer

Cons of a template website

  • Same design as thousands of other websites
  • Limited in the design and functionality of the template/theme
  • Ongoing monthly fee
  • The website is not yours, should you cancel your monthlies, the website is destroyed
  • Code bloat – to create all of that functionality comes at a cost to the brevity of the code resulting in a slow loading website
  • Poor to no search engine optimisation

Conclusion over whether to choose a template website or a custom website

As you can see, which option you choose is down to your needs. If you need a basic website and fast, a template is the way to go, however if you need to rely on your website to bring in sales and have specific functionality then a custom solution is for you.

I hope this is useful and helps you come to a decision, as always if you need to contact us please do, we are happy to help.