Template or Custom Web Design: Which is Best for your Business?

There are a lot of things to consider with a new website. Most businesses come to us with an idea of the number of content pages, main marketing goals, and design/photography work that will be needed, but there’s one question that every team struggles with:

Should I choose a template or custom website design?


This is a big debate for our partners, as startups and growing businesses often have to put basic costs in front of their marketing objectives.

In both cases, you should end up with a site that’s designed to match your business’s personality. But the big differences between custom and template design go much deeper than appearance:

Custom Web Design

[av_table purpose=’tabular’ caption=” responsive_styling=’avia_responsive_table’] [av_row row_style=”][av_cell col_style=”]Pros[/av_cell][av_cell col_style=”]Cons[/av_cell][/av_row] [av_row row_style=”][av_cell col_style=”]Completely unique layout suited to your business[/av_cell][av_cell col_style=”]More expensive upfront cost[/av_cell][/av_row] [av_row row_style=”][av_cell col_style=”]Website will be SEO-friendly[/av_cell][av_cell col_style=”]Longer development time[/av_cell][/av_row] [av_row row_style=”][av_cell col_style=”]More opportunities for expansion[/av_cell][av_cell col_style=”][/av_cell][/av_row] [av_row row_style=”][av_cell col_style=”]Less time for maintenence/repairs[/av_cell][av_cell col_style=”][/av_cell][/av_row] [av_row row_style=”][av_cell col_style=”]No customization limits[/av_cell][av_cell col_style=”][/av_cell][/av_row] [/av_table]

Template Web Design

[av_table purpose=’tabular’ caption=” responsive_styling=’avia_responsive_table’] [av_row row_style=”][av_cell col_style=”]Pros[/av_cell][av_cell col_style=”]Cons[/av_cell][/av_row] [av_row row_style=”][av_cell col_style=”]Cheaper upfront cost[/av_cell][av_cell col_style=”]Website will look similar to several other sites[/av_cell][/av_row] [av_row row_style=”][av_cell col_style=”]Shorter development time[/av_cell][av_cell col_style=”]Customization is very limited[/av_cell][/av_row] [av_row row_style=”][av_cell col_style=”][/av_cell][av_cell col_style=”]Not guaranteed to be SEO-friendly[/av_cell][/av_row] [av_row row_style=”][av_cell col_style=”][/av_cell][av_cell col_style=”]Increased chances of technical issues[/av_cell][/av_row] [/av_table]

As you can see, a custom website offers the most benefits and the best long-term strategy. But not every business has the budget for a custom design right away. If money is a factor, these are our suggestions.

Your budget is less than $5,000:

A template design is probably best for you. It will keep costs low on the website build, while (hopefully) leaving room for design & marketing work.

A website in this price range will suit your basic needs for a year or two, but you will want a customized website as soon as you can afford it. This will let you expand into more complex marketing strategies, which will bring in a better return on- and off-line.

Your budget is between $6,000-$15,000:

Your specific needs will determine if a custom or template design is the best solution. If your website will be larger or have complicated functions, a template design may be necessary.

Overall, this budget opens up a wide variety of options for your business. A website in this range should perform well for 2-4 years with regular technical & marketing maintenance.

Your budget is over $15,000:

Absolutely go for a custom design! Not only will you get a site that supports every one of your strategic needs, but your new website will easily adapt to your business over time.

Any site in this price range should last 5+ years with proper maintenance and allow for a (nearly) unlimited amount of marketing-related additions.

Don’t know what you can afford?

No problem! We are happy to work with you to discuss your business needs and goals, so we can create an effective plan at the lowest possible price. Just give our team a call!

Want to know more about website pricing? Read “How Much Does a Website Cost?” for a full breakdown!

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