Deciding to launch a website many people face the question, which option is better for their project: a custom design or a ready-made template. On the Internet, there are lots of articles regarding this question. However, depending on whether this is a blog supporting a web studio or a template provider, the balance will inevitably tip in favor of one or another side. So if you are searching for a definite answer, you will probably fail to find it. Both these options have their advantages and drawbacks. You can use either of them and your choice will depend on a number of factors. In this article we tried to present an unbiased opinion, showing what you can get choosing either of these options. At first let’s focus on the key factors that may influence your choice, and then discuss strengths and weaknesses of a custom design and ready-made templates.
Key Factor #1. Your Budget
If your budget is limited, your best option is a ready-made template. It will cost you much less than creating a website from scratch. However, keep in mind that no matter how cool the template is, there would be certain limitations in customization. And at the end of the day adding some extra features, which might be essential for your business, may result in spending more money than you would spend on a custom design.
Key Factor #2. Establishing Your Brand Name
If your main priority is making a name and establishing your own brand, a custom design would fit this purpose better. Despite all the variety of the ready-made templates, they still stay stock products. Establishing the brand equals establishing the emotional connection with your audience. Creating a website from scratch you will be able to focus on the image you want to have.
Key Factor #3. Fit for Purpose
You would definitely agree that your website’s design totally depends on your business goal. A well-thought strategy that will drive your visitors to the required action is essentially important. Building a website from scratch you have an opportunity to optimize the design to get your message across to the audience.
Key Factor #4. Timeframe
If you are tied for time, give your preference to ready-made templates. While any custom design requires a lot of time for planning, creating and fine tuning, a pre-made template is ready to go within a couple of days.
Key Factor #5. Scalability and Flexibility
If you are planning to develop your business, and you certainly do, you may need adding some features to your website in the long run. A website template is a cross-functional solution to fit any possible project. So it comes pre-packed with one-size-fits-all extra features, the great part of which you might never need. This results in a longer code and possible coding conflicts, when you may have to add some functionality you really need.
Creating your website from scratch you are not likely to have such a problem. If you already have an idea which plugins and add-ons you may need in future, the developers can consider this to avoid possible conflicts and other problems.
Now having the basic idea of how the things go, we can move on to discussing pros and cons of a custom design and a ready-made template.
Pros Ready-made Templates
✓ A ready-made template will cost you less than a custom design. However, mind some extra expenses for additional functionality you may need.
✓ Ready-made templates are perfect for a quick launch. If your timeframe is limited, there is no better choice for your website. Even considering customization, fine-tuning and filling it up with the content, you will be able to start in a couple of days.
✓ With ready-made templates you can always see what you get. Unlike custom designs, when you won’t be able to see the result until the project is ready, here you will know how your website will look like at once.
If you buy a template from a well-known template provider, you can be sure in its high quality. The company of global renown, selling thousands of templates worldwide, has for sure a professional team. Moreover, most of the companies provide support services for their products under various terms. For example, TemplateMonster.com provides free lifetime support for their premium products. Other companies offer six months or one year of support.
The variety of ready-made templates is really endless. No matter what project you are going to run, you will find an appropriate template.
Most of the ready-made templates are build on powerful user-friendly CMS, which makes it easy for you to maintain the website later on.
Cons Ready-made Templates
✓ With a ready-made template, you won’t have an exclusive design. Unless you buy a buyout license. Still even paying the exclusive price, you won’t be the only one using this template. There would always be those who have bought the template prior to that.
✓ Although modern templates are extremely flexible, you will still have a certain limitation in customization. Visual builders are great, but without coding skills, you still won’t be able to introduce some major changes.
✓ The abundance of features may cause slower loading time. It won’t affect much low traffic websites but can be crucial if you are having hundreds of visitors every day.
Pros Custom Design
✓ Building a website from scratch you will have a unique design. It is created for your particular business project and considers all your demands.
✓ As a result, it would be optimized for search engines and wouldn’t have any redundant code for the features you don’t need.
✓ With the custom design, you will have inbuilt only the features you need and will be able to add some later without any troubles.
✓ Most of the web studios provide their clients with long-term support sevices.
Cons Custom Design
✓ Custom design can be quite expensive. If you have a limited budget, this option is not your best choice.
✓ Building a website from scratch requires quite a lot of time. In general, a high-quality well-though website can be designed in about 2 months. If you need it faster, use ready-made templates.
✓ If you are planning to run the website yourself, make sure it has a user-friendly dashboard.
✓ If you don’t have enough technical knowledge it might be difficult for you to explain to the designer what you want. This may result in a weaker end product.
If you were expecting to find here a clear answer to your question, we are sorry to disappoint you. Still, we hope that our article was useful and it pushed you closer to the solution. If there are still doubts, you can download a free ready-made template, experiment with it and see if it can fit your project. But keep in mind that free ready-made templates usually have limited functionality comparing to the premium once.