Website Templates vs Custom Website Design

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The classic debate website templates vs custom website design and which one is right for your business? You need a website so that your business has a home on the internet other than social media. The good news is the days when you had to know crazy code to build a website are gone. Website builders are more user-friendly than ever so that you can easily make a DIY website from scratch.

But Which is Better for Your Business? A Website Template or a Custom Design?

First off let me start by saying that I almost never recommend DIYing your website from scratch unless you’re a web designer for two main reasons.

It Takes Takes Forever to Launch Your Website

If you’re not a web designer it’s going to take you a lot of time to learn how to use your website builder. Even if you binge-watch YouTube videos and quickly understand the platform you still have to build out all the pages. Obviously, I find this fun because I’m a web designer. But if you’re not used to building out pages from scratch is going to feel stressful and overwhelming. And guess what happens when you feel stressed out trying to design your website? You procrastinate! You’ll start saying things like “I’ll get to it eventually” and never actually launch your website.

Your Website Ends Up Having No Strategy and/or It’s Ugly

There are a lot of things that go into designing a website that looks nice and converts well. Even if you don’t get stressed out trying to build your website there’s a high probability that it will have no strategy, which means it won’t convert. If you’re not used to figuring out design aesthetics you can also end up with an ugly website.

This is Why I Recommend Either Buying a Website Template or Working With a Web Designer

There are pros and cons to both of these options and there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer. Depending on what stage of business you’re at will make big a difference on which makes more sense for you. Budget size is also a key decision factor.

Website Templates vs Custom Website Design

What is a Website Template?

A website template usually is a pre-made website that’s added to the account of your website builder of choice. Once you’ve purchased your template all you have to do is swap out the demo content with your brand colors, fonts, images and copy. Then you can connect your domain to your website and launch it.

Website templates are very budget-friendly. They almost never cost more than $1500 but it’s very easy to find ones that are in the $200-1000 range.

Keep in mind when you’re looking at website templates that not all templates come pre-made. Some website templates are only video tutorials guiding you through how to make a replica of the template from scratch. This is still better than DIYing from scratch. But it will take you more time than starting from a ready-to-go template.

One of the main benefits of using a template is that you have a better understanding of what’s going on in the back end of your website. Making it less likely that you’ll need to hire a web designer to help you make updates to your website. This will also save you more money in the long run.

What is a Custom Design?

In an ideal world, you would always hire a web designer to build a website for you. But it’s definitely going to be a higher-cost investment in your business. Every web designer has a different process for how you can work with them so you want to make sure you find out what that is before choosing one.

One of the red flags to look out for when hiring a web designer is if they want to take control of your website hosting. Regardless of what platform your website is built on you need to be in full control of your website. All accounts (hosting, domain, etc.) associated with your website should be in your business name, not the agency’s name. I’ve too many horror stories about designers and agencies taking a client’s website hostage if they ever want to work with someone else. Trust me when I say you don’t ever want to face this kind of nightmare.

Website Templates vs Custom Website Design: Which is Better for Your Creative Business?

Like I said there isn’t a right or wrong answer but there are a few key factors to consider before making your decision.

How Big is Your Budget?

Web designers aren’t cheap, or at least they shouldn’t be, because of the amount of value you’re getting in a totally custom design. If you have the money to invest thousands of dollars into a custom website please do. But since you’re reading this blog post I’m going to guess that that isn’t the case. Website templates are way more budget-friendly than a custom website. But it does require more of your time to launch your website compared to having someone do it for you.

How Much Time Do You Have?

If you don’t have a lot of time on your hands hiring a web designer might be the better option. That being said if you’ve purchased a strategic template it shouldn’t take you very long to get your website launched. All of the Showit templates in my shop come with launch checklists to help you get your website live fast.

How Long Have You Been in Business?

If you’ve been in business for less than 2-years, a website template is probably the best option for you. A lot of changes are going to happen in your first few years of business. This means that your website is going to need to be changed and updated a lot over a short span of time. If you invest in a custom design when you first start it might have to be redesigned again a month later because something in your business has changed drastically. This is going to get expensive really quickly if you decide or have to hire someone. If your business has been open longer your budget size and how often your services change will be the key deciding factor in whether a template or custom design is the best option.

Botton Line: You Can’t go Wrong With Either a Website Template or Custom Design

BUT in most cases a website template is what I’m going to recommend.

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