Web Templates vs Custom Design

Web templates are classified as 'premade' website designs and can range in anything from a design from Template Monster to the simple theme that comes along with WordPress or any blog. In today's world, any professional web designer should have the experience to work with website templates, as well as create their own custom website design masterpieces for their clients.

Before you offer either one to your client, as a web designer you should know the features of both, as well as each of their individual advantages and disadvantages to select the one that would best serve your client. Compare the advantages and disadvantages of using a web template vs a custom designed website:

Website Template


  • Usually somewhat customizable
  • Ready for immediate download
  • Very low budget and cost
  • Shorter development time
  • Wide selection of premade templates
  • Ability to see what you're getting


  • Web design isn't unique
  • May be used on many other sites
  • Customization may be limited
  • May not be SEO friendly
  • Generic look of design

Custom Design


  • Customized and unique web design
  • More adaptable to your clients needs
  • Usually HTML / CSS validated
  • Unique branding suited to client


  • Cost usually a lot higher
  • Longer development time
  • Can't see till design is finished


Non-unique website templates are cheap, but like everything else you will get exactly what you pay for. Custom web designs cost more up front but can become one of the most important business assets you own and deserves careful consideration. For some clients who own business, the cost of a having a custom web site designed and managed by a professional designer is worth the steeper cost.

If you are a client looking for a personal website or something to get your feet in the door - we suggest going with a web template and finding a professional web designer that will customize a pre-made template design for you for about 1/4th the cost. This will save you money and time, but will allow you to get your own site up and running.

But beware of web design scams from designers who sell premade templates as unique custom designs!

Not sure where to find a trustworthy and talented web designer?
Contact us with additional details about your project for a free web design consultation.


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5 Responses »

  1. The way I look at it is that you have to look at the majority of people. Most people don’t have a few grand to spend on a custom website from scratch. With gas prices here in California, people have even LESS to spend on something custom.

    I remember contacting a design house 2advanced and got a quote for 15k, that was way over my budget and there was NO way I could afford that for a business that has not even got off the ground yet.

    I went with a template from dreamlinestudio.com for $135 bucks and spent another $300 hiring a flash developer to spruce it up. BIG SAVINGS as you can see and I have a website I’m most proud of. So in the end, it’s all about your budget. If you already have a Million dollar business, I would say go for the custom job.


  2. You think spending money on a website is expensive, but at the very least a website is a marketing channel. You know how much it costs to have a bill board put up, or have a full page add in one of the top selling magazines? 100k for 1 page ad in Bazaar. You don’t think about that do you? Also today, more and more people are finding business online, they don’t look through the yellow pages any more. They search for them on Google or Yahoo. If you think 15k is too much, then you should not have a business to begin with because you are not serious about investing.

    How about getting yourself a business loan, and incorporating yourself, or is that too much of a risk. Business is risky, learn to deal with it or fail miserably.

  3. Great informational post! Thanks for all your efforts that you have put in this useful blog! I would point out that I think a website template can often be easier to update than a custom design.

  4. Designing a custom website by using a child theme is really easy to use and easy to update.
    Custom Web Design Services

  5. Hey Ricky,

    My agency deals with clients who aren’t sure what kind of site they will need all the time. This is a great post to help them figure it out. We also built a tool that uses questions to point them in the right direction. Let me know what you think:


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Ricky is a skilled programmer who is a very good communicator and responds to calls and emails quickly, expedites his work and usually completes the job before the deadline, and has a very good work ethic in general. He appears “hungry” for additional work and seems eager to remain challenged. I look forward to continue working with him for a long time!
David Phillips
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