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Customized vs. Templates: Comparing Site-Builders


You know the importance of having a website for your business. Without one, it’s like you don’t exist. Customers head to the web to search and research buying options. If you aren’t there, you’re missing out on a large chunk of your market.

The abundance of website-building options may stump you. Do you use a less expensive template service or spring for a web designer to build your site specifically for your unique needs?

​The choice comes down to your resources, needs, and goals for your site. Let’s compare the two options to simplify the decision process. We’ll start with the good and bad about templates.


Pros and Cons of Templates for Site-Building

Time and Price: If time and price tag are critical considerations, nothing beats a service that provides templates. You can get your website up and running in a day or less.

At an average monthly price of $12-$50, template services are the budget-friendly way to get going. Naturally, the more features you add, the higher the price tag. Still, templates typically suit start-ups or companies in their beta phase for their lower expense and quick production.

Edits and Maintenance: Your website pages likely won’t stay static. You’ll probably need updates and changes as you grow. Templates are relatively easy to edit and maintain.

​Templates have two downsides to editing and maintaining:

  • You are at the mercy of your software developer to continue supporting the template version you choose.
  • You can’t be as creative as you can with a customized site. However, remember that websites don’t have to look like works of art or reflect the latest hi-tech features to be effective.

Organization and Design: Templates lay the groundwork for layout, but you must decide how to organize it. While the sky’s the limit with a web developer, more limited options from a template can help you speedily determine your layout and designs.

UX: You want your users to easily navigate your website. Templates can be time-tested and approved to help you provide a good user experience (UX) on your website.


Pros and Cons of a Customized Website

Time and Price: Taking anywhere from three months to a year for completion and costing upwards of $20,000 (around $5,000 for the most simplistic ones), time and cost of a customized website are big drawbacks for many entrepreneurs. So, when it comes to the question of how to monetize your website, custom sites are anything but the fastest path.

Edits and Maintenance: Editing and maintaining a customized website is about par with using a template. Most web development companies will show you how to change your site on the back end once it’s built. Also, most offer ongoing customer care to help you with any complex changes.

Organization and Design: You have unlimited possibilities with a customized website builder. They can offer advice for on-brand design and color schemes and assurance on your web design decisions. Depending on the template-builder you choose, your design may be flexible or extremely controlled and inflexible.

UX: If you’re building your own site from templates, you’ll be relying on their best built-in practices or your own knowledge to ensure customers flow through your site comfortably. However, web designers can make your website as user-friendly as possible. They can help you organize your information into clear and accessible pathways for a good user experience. Additionally, they can optimize your content for inclusivity and accessibility for users with vision impairments.

Integrated Functions: Website needs vary by industry and company, but a few examples of what most businesses need include e-commerce, scheduling, and email sign-ups. While a template service may only work with a few other software required for these functions, they often utilize systems like Zapier to make integrations more capable. However, a web developer has the ability to integrate more of your tech stack into your site more naturally (e.g., payment processors and CRM software).


Resources and Goals

Choosing between site-building templates and web developers for a custom-made site is a bit like buying a car. Do you drive one off the lot and relent on the color or some of the features you wanted? Or do you customize your car online but wait months for the company to produce it?

Both options have their pros and cons. The choice comes down to your resources and goals.

Templates are the way to go if your constraining factors are price or time. Finding a templatized builder that gives you flexibility and creativity is an added plus but also comes at a traditionally higher price. Often, these systems provide less control and fewer unique features.

If flexibility and features are more important than convenience and completion speed, then customization is best for you.

​It could be that what works in a business’s infancy and adolescence stages will change as it grows and reaches maturity. Maybe you need to be able to pivot, rebuild, and adjust quickly, in which case a template system can be best. So, wherever your business is in its growth, choosing the right website system can ensure effective and simple systems based on your needs.


Do Your Research

It pays to research both DIY and comprehensive web design services. Not all are created equal. In the case of a template service, some services supply more options than others. You don’t have to settle for a handful of choices when some offer over 20, including those tailored to specific industries.

​Remember that state-of-the-art website designs don’t guarantee conversions or revenue. User-friendly sites utilizing innovative funnel conversion strategies to increase sales online will improve your overall business success.


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