So it’s time to build a website, but you’re unsure whether to go with a template or custom build. There are pros and cons to each, with each design presenting its own unique set of challenges and advantages.

Deciding which website is right for you requires a deeper understanding of your needs and goals. It’s a generalization to say a mom and pop shop would likely benefit from a simple template website because its needs are basic, while a large company with a more complex set of needs would do well with a custom build.

Each case is different because everyone’s needs are different. Here are some things to think about when deciding which way to go for your next website.

Custom Build

Pros:

  1. Every custom build is tailored to best reflect a company’s branding and fit it needs, enabling the site to have serious customization on both the front end and CMS (content management system). This customization also allows you to maximize search engine opportunities and provide scalability. Different features and functionality can always be added during a “Phase 2” of your website’s evolution. We recently partnered with Kalwall on a custom site that continues to be enhanced to fit the needs of the client.
  2. Customization allows for an easily measurable customer journey which can be used to determine KPIs. This allows you to make data-driven decisions that improve ROI. Thorough tracking for the Community College System of New Hampshire’s “College in the 603” site allows us to adjust menu items, callouts and landing pages quickly and efficiently.
  3. Personalized support is available, generally covering any CMS/plugin update and monitoring should the site go down or become victim to a malware attack.

Cons: 

  1. A custom build involves more planning and thought, which can extend the project’s deadline further out than most template builds. The cost is also usually much higher than a template.
  2. When you go with a custom build, you are usually married to the web shop/agency that built the website due to an ongoing support or service agreement.
  3. Other web shops and agencies would rather develop a new site instead of touching someone else’s build. This could pose an issue for you should you want to move to a new agency.

Template Build

Pros:

  1. Cost! Building a site from a template is usually significantly cheaper than most custom built websites.
  2. Shorter development time. After installing a custom theme, it can sometimes be as easy as swapping the logo and adding brand colors.
  3. Low cost and short turnaround times make it easy to launch a new website every couple of years.

Cons: 

  1. Without being fully customizable, your websites may look similar to other sites.
  2. Depending on how reputable the template developer is, the support can often be touch and go. Questions are usually sorted out via email or online support forms, which can take days for an actual answer.
  3. At any given point the templates developer can stop update support. This can be a major issue especially when using a CMS that is frequently updated.

So, what’s right for you? Call us to talk about your needs.