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January 11, 2018

Templates vs. Custom Built Websites

Author: Valerie Baker

Have you decided to move forward with investing in a new website for your business? Once you have made the decision to move on, one question remains… Do I go with a custom built website or a use a template for my website? Which path best suits my business? What are the differences?

Using Templates

The most common way to start a website would be to set up a WordPress site and apply a template bought from ThemeForest, Template Monster, or Elegant Themes. These websites provide a broad range of different types of website templates available for purchase. Not all of the themes/templates out there are 100% responsive.

There are also services like Wix or Squarespace that also provide a theme and allow you to edit within the frame of the website. These can help you get a website up pretty fast and easily. However, there are limitations on the options that are available for more complex features such as forms or e-commerce functions.

One thing to keep in mind is that templates and themes normally come with built-in features so that the user can have more customizability but this ultimately weighs down the website in terms of load speed and SEO performance. It’s very likely that you’ll have to put up with features, designs, and functions that wont necessarily fit your brand or business. You could pay a web development company to fix it, but that’s like asking a certified ford mechanic to take a look at your Toyota since the site most likely wont be written in the same code format. And even if the developer does fix the site to your liking… Once an update comes out for wordpress or that theme itself, your website will run into some display issues because of a former customization made by a developer.

Pros/Cons of Using Templates

  1. Lots of other businesses can could be using the same template which means your site won’t stand out as much.
  2. You are limited on how much you can customize the site. What you see is what you get.
  3. May not 100% work on all devices
  4. Some templates are not built to be search engine friendly. They need to be customized to fit your business.
  5. Any custom or added technologies are not possible to be installed as templates run on a structured system.
  6. Templates are great for low budget. There is a cheaper upfront cost.
  7. Templates have a shorter development time.
  8. Template sites will mostly likely not have as good of a support system as a custom built site.


Custom Built Websites

Custom built websites involve a team behind your business. It starts with a creative process to understand who is your target audience, who do you want to reach, how you want/need the website to function and how do you want to look on the internet.

SEO plays a big role in the success of any website. There are rules to follow when building a site and not all themes are capable of abiding by these rules. This is why custom built websites are so much more superior, the developer is able to optimize the site during creation to allow for google and other search engines to read each page to give the end user a more relevant search result thus, giving custom built sites naturally a better ranking on the system. This goes beyond keyword research.

Custom built websites tend to take longer than themes, this is because everything is being built and catered to a particular business. It will save time in the long run because when its built from the ground up it’s a lot easier to customize the site to ensure your site does exactly what you want it to do. Custom designs allow your site to be responsive across all devices (such as phones, tablets, laptops, etc.)  & browsers.

Pros/Cons of Custom Built Websites

  1. The website will have a completely unique design that will incorporate the company’s branding and will be based around the needs of your business.
  2. A customized website is adaptable to your company’s needs
  3. The site is tested to work across all browsers.
  4. The site will be built to be search engine friendly.
  5. A customized website is more expensive than a template.
  6. The process to create a custom site takes longer than a template site.
  7. The site will grow with your business. If you know how you will need your site to operate in the future, a professional web developer will install technologies that will work with those ideas.
  8. The company that built your site is there for support if you need it.

Would you rather spend your time figuring out how to make your website behave a certain way, or have professionals take care of your business’ online presence while you concentration your attention on running your business.

Valerie Baker

Valerie is the Senior Account Manager & Project Manager here at Atilus.

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