Templates vs. Custom for Website Design

Custom Website Design | Charlotte | Ballantyne | Matthews | Indain LandReady to proceed with a new website for your business? Once you have made the decision, one last question remains… Should I have a custom built website or design my own with a template? Which option is best for my business? What are the differences between template and custom website design?


A common means to start a website would be to do it yourself (if you can carve out the time), set up a WordPress site and apply a template bought from ThemeForest, Template Monster, or Elegant Themes. These provide a broad range of website templates available for purchase. Not all of the themes/templates are completely responsive, however.

Additionally, there are services like Wix or Squarespace that provide a theme and enable you to edit within the frame of the website. However, there are limitations on the options that are available for more complex features such as forms or e-commerce functions and not all themes are responsive.

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. Most likely, you’ll be required to put up with features, designs, and functions that won’t necessarily fit your brand or business. You could pay a web development company to fix issues that come up, but the site most likely won’t 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.


  1. A lot of other businesses can/could be using the same template which means your site won’t be as authentic.
  2. You are limited on how much you can customize the site
  3. May not work 100% 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. Template sites will mostly likely not have as good of a support system as a custom built site.


Custom built websites involve a professional team behind your business. It starts with a strategy session to determine and identify 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. It also involves determining your business brand according to your target market and objectives.

SEO plays a big role in the success of any website being found online. There are best practices to follow when building a site and not all themes are capable of abiding by these practices. For this reason, custom built websites are 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 due to everything being built and oriented to a particular business. It will save time in the long run because when it’s 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.


  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 more adaptable to the needs and goals of your business
  3. The site is tested to work across all browsers.
  4. The site will be built to be search engine friendly.
  5. The process to create a custom site might take a bit longer than a template site.
  6. 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.
  7. The company that built your site is there for support if you need it.

As a business owner or representative, your time is valuable. Would you rather spend your time being productive with your business goals or figuring out how to make your website behave a certain way? Turn to  professionals like Sparkhead Studios to take care of your business’ online presence while you are productive running your business.