Custom Websites vs. Template Websites - Which is Better for You?
Path & Compass is a boutique marketing and strategy firm with an intentional & holistic approach. We serve small businesses, specializing in wedding, event & hospitality businesses, wellness professionals, creative entrepreneurs and artists. Services including website design, branding & logo design, content marketing, SEO services, business coaching, sales training, graphic design, budgeting, goal setting and thoughtful growth.
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Custom Websites vs. Template Websites – Which is Better for You?

When it comes to designing a website for your business, you have a few options. The two most popular choices being a custom website or template website. But what are the differences? And how do you know which one is better for your business? Today we’re diving into the differences between custom websites vs. template websites we design using WordPress at Path & Compass. So that you can make a confident and financially sound decision that aligns with your business and business goals.

What is a Custom Website?

A custom website is a design we build from scratch. Elements and pages are all unique to your brand and business needs. Here our team works with you to determine the best way your website can serve your business goals. Then we have mapped a plan, craft the funnel, design a visual layout, create the copy and input elements that best serve these goals. Since there are no limitations, you will have full control of what your website looks like and what it features. Custom websites often include more robust elements like online shops or interactive maps, making them a good fit for businesses with various offerings. They are also a good fit when you want to fully hand off your website creation to a team of pros.

What is a Template Website?

Our template websites use a pre-designed theme with set pages and elements. While you have some flexibility, the layout and general design are already established. Our templates are designed to fit common website goals and create a timeless look that will work with an already established brand. While our team can help write copy, clients can supply their own – further reducing costs. Time to launch is also much shorter for template websites. These sites are a good fit for solo entrepreneurs wanting a professional and polished website. But they don’t want to hassle with back-end set or tech challenges.

What is a DIY Website?

Considering how often here “it’s easy to build a website”, it’s worth touching base about DIY Website. This is a website you build entirely yourself – be it using a WordPress theme, Squarespace, Wix or similar. Here you will be responsible for designing the site funnel, creating or sourcing all the content, constructing the site, and managing all the back-end tech. Builders like Squarespace and Wix can make this easy but buyer beware! You do not own your Squarespace site – they do. The technology used is proprietary and belongs to them. WordPress is open source and does not belong to anyone, making it a better long-term platform to build on – albeit more techie. DIY Websites can be a low-cost and fast way to build a site, especially if you are particularly tech-savvy or have other experience. They can also be frustrating and overwhelming. Know your limits. We’re always happy to talk you through options and considerations between DIY websites vs. custom websites vs. template websites.

Pros & Cons

As with any decision, there are pros and cons to both custom websites and template websites. Here are some of the most important factors to consider before investing in either one:

custom website design

Overall Cost

Cost is often the first consideration a business will make when investing in a website. And when it comes to custom websites vs. template websites, there can be a huge gap in cost. But when you consider what exactly you are getting for each, the price makes sense. When purchasing a template website, the design is set and you are providing much of the content. The work is much less for your website designer. Whereas a custom website requires the skillset of an entire team of professionals, who take care of the project from start to finish. Our template websites (known as Starter Websites) are $2397, taking 4 weeks to launch. Whereas a custom website with Path & Compass will be in the range of $5000-$15,000 and take 2-6 months until launch. P.S. If you need help determining who is a good website designer, check out our previous blog!

Quality

A huge mistake that business owners make when investing in a website is overlooking quality. Your website is your online home – the storefront of your business. Investing in a high-quality custom website designed by professionals will cost more. But it will make a better first impression. Consider how much more will it cost you in the long run, if you have to update your website multiple times or lose out on sales because your SEO wasn’t optimized or your sales funnel is missing. Our custom and template websites offer the same quality and standard basics (mobile-friendly, SEO optimized, etc). Custom websites will give you the opportunity to uplevel as best fits your brand and budget – to ensure your first impression attracts the right clients.

Delivery Time

As noted, how much time it takes for your website to be delivered largely factors into cost. And how quickly you can get a website up and running is one reason that you may opt for a template site. With a quick turnaround, you can get your website up on short notice, say if need a site live for an upcoming event or product launch. Custom websites – with custom elements – take longer to build. They also give you the time to be thoughtful about all the elements, copy and images. Companies that are re-branding and launching an updated site will often benefit from the custom website as our process is mindful of where the company has been and where it’s going. This way any updates or shifts are seamless and thoughtfully timed.

Design Flexibility

The importance of design flexibility with your website is will largely depend on your business and offerings. Custom websites offer much more design flexibility. For example, a business that sells products online will need a shop, which can be difficult to perfect your online listings or funnel with a template website. Whereas another business may only need a website that lists their service packages and a gallery showcasing their work. In which case, a full-blown custom website may not be necessary. Determining a goal for your website – what you want users to do when they visit – is key. Then you can decide whether a custom website vs. a template website will help you achieve it. And our team will be able to guide you the whole way.

Maintenance

A big mistake that people make when investing in a website is considering future maintenance and changes to their business. Maintaining a website is no easy feat, and while it’s easier with a template website, self-maintenance does require some tech capabilities. We build both our custom and template websites so clients are able to manage important aspects. This includes videos you can access with how-to steps. Since custom sites have more complicated elements, it can be best to leave updates or changes to the professionals. Path & Compass offers ongoing and as-needed support for website maintenance – even if we didn’t build the site. Know you have a long-term partner in our team. Additionally, you need to think about where exactly your business will go in the long run. If you’re going to offer more than you currently do, say adding a shop or building out other services, this can be harder to tack on to a template. So investing in a custom website may actually be cheaper, and less maintenance, in the long run.

At Path & Compass, our mission is to help you create a website that aligns with your brand and helps you achieve your business goals. As a team of visionary creatives and professional designers, we’re helping businesses of every kind stand out in over-crowded markets. Take a look at our portfolio today, and contact us to schedule a FREE discovery call – to see if a custom website can amplify your business.