Creating a website is a great step for many companies who want to be up to date with technology and present on the internet. During website development, many choices must be made. One of those choices is using custom web design vs website template created by other designers.
There are many factors that should be considered when making this choice, and below is a brief guide on making the final choice.
As explained above, website templates are used by several companies if they are any good. The design will only be unique if it is unattractive, and that itself is a bad choice. That is why many people get the feeling that they’ve seen websites have very similar, if not the same, website design look, even though they are from a totally different company. To leave a good first impression and please aesthetically the viewers, the design should be unique and custom made for the company. Everyone remembers that website that has amazing design even if he/she is not even remotely interested in what the website offers. It pleases one’s visual senses. Overused website templates cannot have the same effect.
A custom web design costs significantly more than a website template. Website templates are cheap and even free such as WordPress Templates. ThemeForest has a great range of website templates and they cost on average less than $50. Compare that to custom web design that can easily pass 1,000s of dollars in cost. Website templates are meant to be reused by many companies, thus their prices are low. Custom web design on the other hand is only used for one company, i.e. it is made custom for that company, thus the prices are significantly higher.
This is a quality that a great number of website templates have: a structure that follows the best practices of SEO optimization. This is not to say that custom web design does not have this quality, but the designer that curates the design must be told ahead of time that the site should be SEO friendly. Consequently, he/she should have the SEO skills to be able to do that. SEO friendly structure is basically using html structure to show where the main information is, where the title for each grouping is, how the content is grouped, etc. This helps google understand the content the page provides. Custom web design can be as or more advanced in SEO optimization than website templates in that the designer can easily follow all the tips/tricks that ordinary website templates have, and on top of that add unique characteristics that overused templates cannot have to rank the website higher in google. Writers at KissMetrics have done a great job explaining how to enhance a site structure.
To develop a custom design, a web designer is needed. This is an obvious one but remains a deal breaker for companies deciding on their website design. Most companies do not have a designer, let alone a web designer to do the work for them. They might not be interested in hiring a web designer who charges anywhere from $25 to $50 and more per hour for their work as opposed to using a template that is cheap and even free. Some companies hire a freelance web designer to develop the unique design on a fixed price, which is also a reasonable choice.
Preview design before choosing
“I’ll know it when I see it” is an expression that designers hear more often than they want to admit. Often customers do not know how they want their website to look until they see it. This can lead to frustration and numerous revisions which costs designer’s time and company’s money. Designers often make a great choice that viewers will like, but the client will refuse it and want it to be overstuffed or use a bad combination of colors which results in a web design. This is a common issue in web design. On the other hand, if the client views many design templates, they can choose one that they like and find pleasing. There will be no room for surprises. A counter-effect to this might be that having many choices can cause analysis paralysis and the client will take a lot of time, if ever, to make the decision.
Power of choice in the design
If a website template is used, that means most likely the company does not have a designer and/or developer. Thus, any changes that the client will want to make to the template, no matter how small, will take time and effort because there is no one to do it. Freelance web designers will have to be hired and that costs. On the other hand, with a custom design the designer is constantly communicating with the client and can make changes on the spot without much effort. Freelance web designers usually have 2-4 free revision allowances to make changes after the design is done.
A case where templates rarely, if ever, fit in well is if the company follows an agile development for the website. This is often the case for large websites with business functionality. A website template is practically useless because in Agile, so many changes are requested that the final product almost never matches the initial design.
Custom business functionality
Templates are only front-end look. They do not have any functionality. If custom business functionality is needed, back-end must be added to the existing front-end. Often front-end requires changes in back-end and vice versa resulting in circulating changes that drastically change the existing template. A template that fits a niche’s functionality is hard to find. E-commerce is usually the easiest, but all other industries would require a custom web design.
Now that you’ve read this article you should be more prepared to make this decision. The factors listed above should help a company decide on using custom web design vs website template for their online presence.
Our company, Ajroni Enterprises, is a Miami web design company that provides unique and aesthetically pleasing web design for our clients of any niche. If you have any questions or would like to contact us for any reason, use this link here or click the contact us link in the navigation bar. We have also written an article on helping companies choose the right web design company.