Custom Web Design vs. Website Template

Custom Web Design vs. Website Template

As a business owner, it’s essential to have a website that accurately reflects your brand identity. However, creating a unique, custom website from scratch might seem like an intimidating and time-consuming endeavour.

Going for a template-designed website, on the other hand, might also be off-putting, as you run the risk of creating a site that’s too similar to others. With over 1.5 billion websites out there, it’s essential you do everything in your power to stand out in a competitive marketplace.

Ultimately, your decision will depend on a number of factors, including your precise needs, your budget, as well as your long-term goals.

First things first, it’s important that you understand the differences between the two. This will then help you to reach a decision that matches your specific website goals.

Below we bring you the pros and cons of both options to help you in making your decision.

What’s the main difference between a template website and a custom website?

The main difference lies in how they are created.

What is a website template?

A template is a pre-made, pre-designed layout that enables you to quickly create a website, blog, online store or portfolio. It features fixed elements and functionality. Also, absolutely no coding experience is needed to make it.

When it comes to designing your website using a template, all you need to do is drag and drop elements onto the template, such as image blocks, logos and photo galleries.

You can stay as close to the original template as you wish, or you can venture further out of the original design by adding your own content, images, colours and fonts.

The design is also connected to a Content Management System (CMS), such as WordPress, to create a complete site.

Bear in mind, however, that not all templates offer fully responsive designs. 73.1% of web designers believe that a non-responsive website is one of the top reasons why visitors leave a website. Ensure yours is completely responsive!  

What is a custom website?

A custom designed website is a website that’s built from scratch. A whole team is behind the entire concept, from the initial creative process right through to the final launch.

It starts off with a unique design – there’s no template in sight! The design of the site is totally unique to your business. It is built by a seasoned developer who spends time with you and your company to understand your exact goals, needs, budget and timeline constraints.

Once the developer fully understands your needs, they will then create a sitemap. This is the skeleton of your site, and gives you a visual outline of how your site will look.

A custom website comes with software integration, and is not built on a platform. Once the design is finalised, it’s combined with the desired features.

It’s also identical across different devices, including desktop, tablet and mobile devices. This is incredibly important, especially given the recent significance of mobile-first indexing

Do I need a custom designed site?

To determine whether or not you need a custom website, ask yourself the following questions:

· Do we have the budget for a custom site?

If you don’t have a budget or time restraints, then building a custom website is the ideal option.

· Are there special nuances we would like to be implemented?

As mentioned above, a custom website is completely aligned with your company’s essence, vision and message. It offers an authentic reflection of your identity, and allows special nuances to be implemented.

· Do we want an elevated design aesthetic that’s not limited to ‘skinning’ existing templates?

If you’re seeking an elevated web design that can’t be compared to a website template, we recommend a custom site.

Pros and cons of website templates


Quick and easy: A template-based website allows you to set up a website quickly and easily.

Affordable: Templates can be designed at a lower cost. They’re a fantastic option if you have a limited budget, and don’t want to spend money on a custom site.

Variety: You can choose from many templates designed for different purposes (e.g., e-commerce, marketplaces, blogs, business platforms, etc.).

Features included: Templates often come with built-in features like contact forms and social media buttons.


Lack of uniqueness: Your site won’t be completely unique – others will be able to use the same template. This can give a bad impression to website visitors, since your template will be similar (if not identical) to other sites.

Limited customisation: You can make only basic changes, like changing colours, fonts or logos. This can be frustrating as eventually, you’ll hit an obstacle that limits you from implementing the functionality you need.

Slow loading times: Templates can be slow to load due to excessive functionality, which negatively affects SEO and user experience.

No SEO: Template websites feature little to no on-page SEO options. We all know how important it is to have good Google rankings! Technical SEO is a major factor in operating a successful website.

Pros and cons of custom web design


Unique design: A custom design helps your site stand out and gives you a competitive edge.

Great first impression: Your custom website design is completely unique to your business. This can make a great first impression to your visitors, as it shows that you offer a unique service.

SEO-friendly: Custom websites are typically much better optimised for search engines.

Flexible and scalable: Custom sites can grow with your business. As your business grows, your website can evolve!

Tailored functionality: You get exactly the features you need, with optimal loading times.

Greater control and ownership: With a custom design, you benefit from having full control and ownership over your website. So when it comes to making changes and updates, you have ultimate flexibility.


Higher cost: Custom web design is more expensive due to the expertise and time required.

Longer development time: It takes longer to create a custom site because of the complex design and development process.

How to make the right choice

Choosing between a template website and a custom web design often comes down to your budget. However, consider what’s most important for your business.

Small businesses and self-employed: Templates are typically sufficient and more budget-friendly, however, bear in mind that constraints associated with them, and the lack of flexibility.

Larger organisations: These often need more customisation and flexibility, making custom web design a better fit.

Evaluate your needs carefully in order to decide which option is best for you.

Still not sure whether to opt for a custom-designed website or a template-based website? Allow EWM to help you in making the right decision.

Our team of consultants will guide you through the entire process, and help you to reach a decision based on your precise criteria.

Contact EWM today to discuss your needs with a member of our team.



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