Website Templates
vs.
Custom Built Websites

Here's everything you need to know

Overview

If you’re in the market for a new website, you may have noticed that some web design companies offer “website templates” and others offer “custom built websites”.  You might then think to yourself “what’s the difference between each option?” and “which option is best for me?”.

The truth is, there’s a lot of misinformation online about the differences between website templates and custom built websites, so choosing the right option is probably not as straight forward as it should be.

Some companies have an agenda and will push clients one way or the other.  At Webzone, we do both custom development and website template customisation, so we’re not biased either way.  Our goal here is to inform you about the right choice for your next website.

With that said, it’s important to note that website templates make up the bulk of our work (over 90%).  So although there are pros and cons for both options, the fact remains that website templates are more suited to most small to medium business websites compared to a custom built one, so nowadays the pros are usually in the favour of website templates.

What's the difference between website templates and custom built websites?

In general terms, “website templates” and “custom built websites” include a range of files designed to control the layout and functionality of a website.  The main difference between them both is that a “website template” is a pre-made resource, whereas a “custom built website” is developed from scratch.

They each have their merits as covered below:-

Website Templates

Website templates provide a fantastic base to start a website project from because much of the ground work has already been done.  For this reason, the cost to get a website of this type is typically a lot cheaper than getting a custom built website.

Custom Built Websites

Custom website development is typically reserved for clients that require a bespoke solution (i.e. a website that is functionally different to most other websites out there).  It’s less about the aesthetic of the website and more about how the website functions.

Myths about website templates

1. All website templates look the same

Untrue!  This is one of those things you’ll be told if you talk to a web designer that only builds custom websites.  We do both templates and bespoke builds.  The truth is, templates have come a very long way and are now basically a “one size fits all” solution.  If a web designer can’t make a website look unique using this approach, then it’s not the template’s fault — it’s the web designers.  A great web designer will be skilled enough to make a website template stand out from the competition.

2. You are limited by how much you can customise a website template

Untrue!  With the right website template, you will have a huge amount of flexibility to achieve interesting design and layout ideas.  It’s also important to note that WordPress gives website owners access to a library of literally thousands of plugins, each designed to add more features and functionality to a website.

3. A website template won't work on all devices

Untrue!  Templates have come a long way and if a website was not “responsive” (i.e. if the website didn’t work on all the devices it was being viewed on), then that would be the failing of the web designer — not the template.

Pros & cons of website templates and custom websites

Website Templates

  • Website templates cost significantly less than custom built websites.
  • Website templates are much quicker to build as the ground work has already been done.
  • Templates are now 'the norm', meaning you could approach virtually any web designer and they would know how to help you with your website.
  • Website templates are typically easier to keep updated.
  • Some website templates are commonly used and not customised adequately to set them apart from their competitors.
  • Website templates are not adequate where bespoke functionality is required.

Custom Built Websites

  • A custom website can perform very unique and specific functions that most typical websites cannot.
  • A custom website (if developed using WordPress) can be easy to update and maintain.
  • Custom built websites often require your web developer to apply updates.
  • Custom built websites are typically a lot more expensive than website templates.
  • There is a much longer turn-around time to develop a custom bulit website.
  • You are more likely be tied to the company that did the custom development as they will know their code better than anyone.

Want to know more?

At Webzone, we offer both "website templates" and "custom built websites", so if you're still unsure about what option is best for you, get in touch and we'll discuss your requirements.