Web Design

Custom vs Template: A Debate

Chloe Toogood
13th November 2022
5 minute read

So, it is time for you to invest in a new website, but now you are faced with the tricky question, ‘custom or template?’. It can be hard to choose which one to go for as they both have pros and cons, and one might be better for certain types of websites than the other.

Should you go for affordability over quality? Are you happy with something that is not tailored directly to your brand? What if you want to be more involved with its design? These are all valid questions to have when considering creating a new website. Here is everything you need to know before making a choice on which route to go down.

Pros of template websites

Template websites are great, and they’ve made it far more accessible for people to be able to create websites who have little to no experience in the field. Some of the main benefits of choosing a template website are:


  • Cost: templates are far cheaper than custom built websites, because, as the name suggests, they come pretty much premade, all you really need to do is add content – images, video, and copy – and you’ll have a brand-new website ready to go. There are no developers involved, so you don’t have to worry about paying for their time and expertise. While we wouldn’t recommend scrimping on the budget of your new website, not every company can afford to be spending thousands to upgrade or rebrand it, so template websites are great for smaller businesses, who may not have the funds to go big.
  • Turnaround time: building a template website is a much quicker process than having someone build one from scratch. This is great if you have a deadline that you need to meet, or if you want to get your site as built as quickly as possible so that you can hit the ground running.
  • Coding: one of the best things about creating a template website is that you don’t need to know anything about coding and website design to make one. All the coding has already been done for you, so you can just add your content and have your site go live.

Cons of template websites

  • Mobile responsivity: the statistics show that almost 59% of global web traffic now comes from smartphones, and that growth shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. Unfortunately, not all templates are made with mobiles in mind, and have problems when looking at them on a smartphone. While this isn’t the case for every template out there, be careful when choosing a template design, and make sure that it works just as well on mobile as it does on a desktop.
  • Personalisation: if your brand represents something that is niche, or you just want to add that unique touch, your best bet is to invest in a custom website. With templates, while you can tailor it to your brand somewhat, you won’t get that personalised aspect that you can get with a custom build.
  • Creative license: much like with the personalisation aspect, you get far less creative license with a template website than you do with a custom one. There are limitations for what you can achieve and these sit within the boundaries of the template that you choose, and it may be harder to execute your vision exactly how you want it.

Pros of custom websites

Custom websites are a great option for any business, and while they require a lot more effort, the results can really speak for themselves. Some of the pros of a custom website are as follows:


  • Unique: if you want to make your brand stand out from the crowd, then creating a custom website is the way forward. It is far easier to make a custom website that is tailored directly to your brand than it is to be messing around with a template to try and fit it in with your vision. When starting with a custom site, you begin with a blank slate that allows you full creative freedom to do as you wish.
  • Functionality: websites that need specific functions integrated like ecommerce plugins, or something more interactive probably won’t do well on a template. A custom website is a must for these kind of complex functionality points as templates usually aren’t built to handle them.
  • Professional: there’s something about custom websites that just make them look more professional than template ones. A lot of the time, you can tell if a template has been used as layouts are the same or incredibly similar, but with a custom website, you can tell that time has been spent making it look exactly how it is, and that everything has a place and a reason for it being there.

Cons of custom websites

  • Expensive: it comes as no surprise that custom websites also come with a custom price tag, and for good reason. There will be a team of developers and designers behind the scenes, making your website come to life, as well as copywriters if you haven’t figured out what you want writing on your site. The time and expertise that these people bring to the table is invaluable but also costly, and for some businesses this might mean forking out thousands to have a unique site.
  • Turnaround time: as so much more work is required to make a custom build, the time from conception to completion tends to be a lot longer. For some people, this may not be an issue, especially if you are not bound by time, but for those who have strict deadlines, it is worth investing in a custom site as early as possible, or biting the bullet and using a template instead.
  • Collaboration and communication: many clients want to be equally involved in the process of making their website, and have strict visions of how it should look. While this is a good thing, it can cause some issues when trying to build a custom website and things get lost in translation, or are miscommunicated. There’s more room for things to go wrong, and it can be tricky having that vision translate perfectly.


Template and custom websites both have their pros and cons, but ultimately, it’s up to the client what one better suit their needs. Neither option is necessarily better than the other overall, but it is good to weigh up what you need vs what you want to make an informed decision.

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