Difference Between a Custom Website and a Template

Graphic showing a website being built.

Imagine for a moment that every store on every block of every street looked the same. Every store was the same shape, size and color without deviation. How would you distinguish from one brand to the next? What type of personal connection would you make with each company’s products and services? Would you even bother to shop around? Probably not.  

The same can be said about website templates and pre-formatted designs. If you approach your brand with a ‘template’ mentality online – especially to save a few bucks – you will never distinguish your company from the myriad of competitors, all contending for greater visibility. A template website says nothing about your brand, your culture or the uniqueness of your offering. Your best bet may be to opt for professional web development

What Are the Pros and Cons of Using a Template Website? 

Are there even any pros to using a template website? Surprisingly, the answer is yes. There are some benefits to choosing a template website over a customized website.  

Pros 

Budget-Friendly 

For instance, if you are a startup with a very low budget and can’t afford customization, a template comes in handy. You can purchase a pre-formatted package that gives you some basic features and a handful of pages to get your website off the ground. You may be able to get a decent website complete with a domain name without spending more than a few hundred dollars.  

Fast Setup 

Another benefit of using a template website is that you can quickly set it up. You don’t have to enlist a team of designers and spend hours creating the perfect design. Since the templates are already set up for you, all you need to do is add a few images, write out the content, add the domain and “voila!” you have a website. 

DIY-Ready 

Last, templates put you in the driver’s seat. Rather than handing your website to a digital marketing agency or web designer, you can do a DIY job. You may even have a few writing or design skills that fuel your creativity. With a template, you can do everything in-house. There is no more waiting for the team to get the ball rolling on the project. You can make quick changes within minutes and do it all yourself. 

Cons 

However, there are some serious downsides to using a template website. While templates provide a quick fix in the early stages of your business, they soon fall apart once your company experiences any kind of growth. Some of the disadvantages of templates include: 

  • Other businesses use the same template, which means your site will not stand out. 
  • You are limited on how much you can customize the site – what you see is what you get. 
  • The site may not work on all devices – especially mobile devices. 
  • Some templates are not search engine friendly and will not show up in Google searches. 
  • Added customization/technology may not operate on a structured system. 
  • You may run into problems with technical support or customer service. 

There are two other problems with templates that can seriously affect your business. First, they’re not scalable. You will need to add pages and features to your website as your business grows, and if you start with a template, you will eventually have to tear the site down and start over. This can cause disruptions in your business, branding and your workflow online.  

Second, numerous security problems exist with templates. Pre-formatted websites are not designed to prevent the various cyber threats looming today. All it takes is one breach into your website or network to damage your company’s reputation and shut you down. You can’t afford that kind of risk to your organization and customers. 

Why Customization Is a More Effective Option 

A customized website is for the business owner who is serious about branding, messaging and organizational growth. It is for the visionary who values a strong online business image that sets their brand apart. There are several reasons why website customization is a more effective long-term investment than a template website.  

No Imitations 

If your business is successful over the internet, and your website is nothing more than a template, all your competitor needs to do is buy the same template to duplicate your success. With a custom design, you get a site that others can’t duplicate easily or legally. That can be a huge benefit as you carve out your brand in the industry. 

Higher Marketing ROI 

Which would you prefer: a simple website that’s fast and cheap to set up but doesn’t do a lot to boost your revenue or one that costs a bit more and takes a bit longer but generates more leads and converts them into customers? Although there might be a larger investment involved with a custom web design, the increase in sales – and improved return on investment – makes it worth it. 

A Scalable Site 

A custom website can be expanded to add new pages, blogs, products, features, media, interactive tools and so much more. Because they accurately reflect your brand and place in the market, they give you a strong layout to work from. Plus, if your design and development teams know that you’ll be growing in the future, they can account for the growth in the early design stages. 

Unique Online Positioning 

Since your business is one of a kind, your website needs to reflect your distinct brand. Otherwise, you’re wasting some of your competitive advantages and branding efforts by squeezing your message into a template that looks just like everyone else’s. Today, your website is the face of your business. It requires more effort and creativity than a template can provide. 

Contact Lucid Today for Web Design and Development Services 

At Lucid, we provide a wide range of marketing tools that help you expand your market reach while targeting the customers you want. To find out more about our web design and development services, call us at 850.760.0478 or fill out the quick contact form below, and we will be in touch.

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